Hexbyte Glen Cove Australia fights UN downgrade of Great Barrier Reef health thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Australia fights UN downgrade of Great Barrier Reef health

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This aerial photos shows the Great Barrier Reef in Australia on Dec. 2, 2017. Australia said Tuesday, June 22, 2021, it will fight a recommendation for the Great Barrier Reef to be listed as in danger of losing its World Heritage values due to climate change, while environmentalists have applauded the U.N. World Heritage Committee’s proposal.Credit: Kyodo News via AP

Australia said Tuesday it will fight against plans to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status due to climate change, while environmentalists have applauded the U.N. World Heritage Committee’s proposal.

The committee said in a draft report on Monday that “there is no possible doubt” that the network of colorful corals off Australia’s northeast coast was “facing ascertained danger.”

The report recommends that the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem be added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger, which includes 53 sites, when the World Heritage Committee considers the question in China in July.

The listing could shake Australians’ confidence in their government’s ability to care for the natural wonder and create a role for UNESCO headquarters in devising so-called “corrective measures,” which would likely include tougher action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Any downgrade of the reef’s World Heritage status could reduce tourism revenue that the natural wonder generates for Australia because fewer tourists would be attracted to a degraded environment and dead coral.

Reef cruise operators said the report was wrong and that tourists continued to be awed by dazzling coral and multicolored fish. But some tourists said the reef had seemed more colorful during visits decades ago.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said she and Foreign Minister Marise Payne had called UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay to express the government’s “strong disappointment” and “bewilderment” at the proposal.

Australia, which is one of 21 countries on the committee, will oppose the listing, Ley said.

“This decision was flawed. Clearly there were politics behind it,” Ley told reporters. “Clearly those politics have subverted a proper process and for the World Heritage Committee to not even foreshadow this listing is, I think, appalling.”

The network of 2,500 reefs covering 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 square miles) has been World Heritage-listed since 1981.

But its health is under increasing threat from and rising ocean temperatures.

The report found the site had suffered significantly from coral bleaching events caused by unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and last year.

Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley, left, speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Australia said on Tuesday it will fight a draft recommendation to list the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage site in danger after a United Nations body called for more government action on climate change. Credit: Lukas Coch/AAP via AP

Australian Marine Conservation Society environmental consultant Imogen Zethoven welcomed the committee’s recognition that “Australia hasn’t done enough on climate change to protect the future of the reef.”

The reef would become the first site to be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger primarily for climate change reasons, Zethoven said.

“It would be a very significant step for the World Heritage Committee to make this decision and one that we really hope that it does make because it will open up a lot of potential change,” she said.

Richard Leck, a spokesman for the environmental group WWF, said listing the reef as in-danger would be “a real shock” to many Australians.

In 2014, Australia was warned that an “in danger” listing was being considered rather than being proposed for immediate action.

Australia had time to respond by developing a long-term plan to improve the reef’s health called the Reef 2050 Plan.

The committee said this week that plan “requires stronger and clearer commitments, in particular towards urgently countering the effects of climate change.”

Ley said climate change policy debate should be restricted to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“I know … that climate change is the biggest threat to the and in no way am I stepping away from that recognition and countries including European countries have got strong views about what policies different countries should have on climate change and I understand that as well, but this is not the convention in which to have those conversations,” Ley said, referring to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Observers say the swearing in on Tuesday of new Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who opposes action on climate change that increases prices, signals Australia is likely to set less ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council’s Center for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, said Australia’s refusal to commit to a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 made the country a “complete outlier.”

“This draft decision from UNESCO is pointing the finger at Australia and saying: ‘If you’re serious about saving the Great Barrier Reef, you need to do something about your policies,'” Hughes told Australian Broadcasting Corp.



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Australia fights UN downgrade of Great Barrier Reef health (2021, June 22)
retrieved 22 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-australia-downgrade-great-barrier-reef.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Australia plans to spend $417 M on hydrogen, carbon capture thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Australia plans to spend $417 M on hydrogen, carbon capture

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In this July 2, 2014, file photo, gasses billow from chimneys at a steel factory in Port Kembla, south of Sydney. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, proposed spending an additional 539 million Australian dollars ($417 million) on hydrogen and carbon sequestration projects in an announcement that bolsters his government’s green credentials ahead of a climate summit to be hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

Australia’s prime minister has proposed spending an extra 539 million Australian dollars ($417 million) on hydrogen and carbon sequestration projects, seeking to burnish his government’s green credentials ahead of a climate summit to be hosted by President Joe Biden.

The money to be spent on building new hydrogen-producing hubs and carbon capture technologies would create more than 2,500 jobs while reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.

“It is essential we position Australia to succeed by investing now in the technologies that will support our industries into the future, with lower emissions energy that can support Australian jobs,” Morrison said.

“We cannot pretend the world is not changing. If we do, we run the risk of stranding jobs in this country, especially in regional areas,” he added.

The funding will be detailed in the government’s economic blueprint for the next fiscal year which will be made public on May 11. The spending requires Parliament’s approval.

A little over half the money would be spent on increasing the number of hydrogen-producing hubs in regional Australia from one to five. A hub is a region where hydrogen producers, users and exporters are located together.

Australia is already one of the world’s largest exporters of liquified natural gas and coal, both polluting fossil fuels. The government wants Australia to become a major global hydrogen supplier by 2030, aiming to reduce production costs to less than AU$2 ($1.54) a kilogram (2.2 pounds).

While hydrogen can be produced by burning fossil fuels, Morrison said Australia can export the clean gas without creating greenhouse emissions.

Australia is home to the world’s largest carbon capture and storage facility at Chevron’s Gorgon natural gas project on Barrow Island off its northwest coast. The project has stored more than 4 million metric tons (4.4 million U.S. tons) of carbon emissions since it started operating in 2019. New money would be spent on accelerating development of a new carbon capture hub and technologies.

Australia’s oil and gas industry said the investment in new hydrogen and carbon capture projects would be a massive boost for the sector.

But The Australia Institute think tank described the proposed funding as disappointing.

“The announcements are a poor showing ahead of the Biden Summit when so many countries are making substantial increases in their climate action and targets in the next 10 years,” the institute’s climate and energy program director Richie Merzian said.

Biden will pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by 2030 as he convenes a virtual climate summit on Thursday with 40 world leaders, including Morrison, according to three people with knowledge of the White House plans.

The 50% target would nearly double the nation’s previous commitment and help the Biden administration prod other countries for ambitious emissions cuts as well. Earlier this week, Morrison pledged to protect industry on Australia’s road to net zero carbon emissions, which he wants to reach “preferably by 2050.”

Morrison is under pressure from lawmakers within his conservative government not to commit to a 2050 target.

Senator Matt Canavan, a former resources minister, likened Australia pursuing a net-zero emissions target to a “10-year-old boy who thinks he is superman and jumps off his parent’s roof.”

“He doesn’t have the technology, and he is going to fall flat on his face,” Canavan tweeted.

Morrison said Australia was on track to beat its target of a reduction of emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Morrison was a member of the coalition government that in 2014 repealed a carbon tax that the former center-left Labor Party administration had levied on Australia’s worst industrial polluters. His government’s commitment to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions has been widely questioned since.

Australia is forecast to experience some of the worst weather extremes caused by global warming. Australia’s hottest and driest year on record, 2019, ended with unprecedented wildfires that killed at least 33 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes.

Towns in Australia’s southeast last month recorded 50- or 100-year record rains falls, causing widespread flooding in some of the areas still rebuilding from the fires.



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Citation:
Australia plans to spend $417M on hydrogen, carbon capture (2021, April 21)
retrieved 22 April 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-australia-hydrogen-carbon-capture.h

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Wildfire in west Australia burns more homes in dry wind thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Wildfire in west Australia burns more homes in dry wind

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In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a firefighter attends a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)

More than 70 homes have been lost in a wildfire outside Australia’s western city of Perth that is expected to continue burning for days.

The had razed more than 9,000 hectares (22,200 acres) of farm and woodland in hills east of Perth by early Wednesday, authorities said.

Western Australia state’s Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said the number of houses destroyed had jumped to 71 overnight, and conditions would remain difficult for firefighters with no rain forecast until Sunday. The jump was from 59 houses late Tuesday.

“We’re into day three of this fire today and it’s going to continue to be a challenging fire for us for at least the next three or four or five days,” Klemm said.

Mayor Kevin Bailey of Swan, one of the threatened by the blaze, said many residents remained on high alert.

“We’ve got strong easterly breezes predicted. That’s of great concern for us, because there’s still a lot of active fire, even in those areas that have burned over the last couple of days. So it’s a great risk,” Bailey told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Perth and its surrounds had been in lockdown since Sunday as a pandemic precaution, but those threatened by the fire were exempted from the pandemic stay-at-home order so they could evacuate.

  • In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a firefighter attends to a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)
  • In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a firefighter attends to a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)
  • In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a helicopter drops fire retardant on a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)
  • In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a firefighter attends to a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)
  • In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a firefighter shelters under a truck and trailer as he works at a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)
  • In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a firefighter works at a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)
  • In this photo provided by Department of Fire and Emergency Services, firefighters attend to a fire near Wooroloo, northeast of Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. An out-of-control wildfire burning northeast of the Australian west coast city of Perth has destroyed dozens of homes and was threatening more. (Evan Collis/DFES via AP)

“A lot of people were at home—they weren’t at school or work—so they were very fortunate to able to react quickly,” Bailey said.

Many people who had fled to evacuation centers were unsure whether their homes had survived, he said.

“We can’t get yet because the fire ground is unsafe for crews to assess what’s happened there,” Bailey said.



© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Citation:
Wildfire in west Australia burns more homes in dry wind (2021, February 3)
retrieved 3 February 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-wildfire-west-australia-homes.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.