Source Direct celebrates 10 years Carbon Neutral!

Source Direct provides bespoke water bottles and uniquely different premium products to their customers.  Source Direct pride themselves on an unmatched dedication to customer service and delivering a product that is desirable and exceeds their client’s expectations.  Source Direct understands that the Industry in which they work generates greenhouse gas emissions in producing and distributing products. They also recognise “the urgent need to protect our natural environment and find more sustainable ways for our businesses to move forward together”.

Founder Ross Files explained; “I was aware of the importance of sustainability and that businesses needed to do more; so when we established Source Direct we decided to do it right from the outset; measuring, reducing and offsetting our carbon footprint and to encourage recycling of our products.”

Ross added, “We engaged the Carbon Reduction Institute in 2009 to fully measure the carbon footprint of our business; including our products.  We then entered into a carbon offsetting program to achieve carbon neutrality across all of our products and operations.”

To encourage recycling of their products, Source Direct are registered suppliers for SA, NSW, QLD and the ACT EPA Container Deposit Schemes and can facilitate local purchase compliance into those States.  They are also strongly committed to social causes. Source Direct makes regular donations to the Clown Doctors, a company which eases the stress of sick, hospitalised children.

To achieve NoCO2 carbon neutral certification, Source Direct undertook a carbon audit of their business and achieved net zero emissions through emissions reductions and carbon offsetting.  Source Direct offsets their emissions by investing in Biomass Projects in India.  

Biomass projects are implemented in small or large industrial plants. Their aim is to utilise agricultural waste or other non-renewable biomass residues as fuel to generate power and to lower the plants’ dependence on the local grid for electricity.  Before these projects were implemented, the agricultural residues were not used. They were either burned without harnessing the resulting thermal energy, or simply left to decay, thereby generating methane emissions.

Since November 2009 Source Direct have offset over 4,200 tonnes of CO2e (greenhouse gas) emissions which is the equivalent of taking 1,167 Toyota Corollas off the road for an entire year!

If you’re looking for custom label water bottles or uniquely different products for your business, event or promotion, be sure to check out Source Directs’ product range and experience their first-class customer service.  

Most importantly; when purchasing Source Directs’ products, you’ll know you’re making a difference!

Transdirect: Saving more than your bottom line with Carbon Neutral Delivery Service

The problem with the transport sector
In the year to March 2019, transport accounted for 18.8 per cent of Australia’s national carbon account inventory. Emissions from transport over the year to March 2019 increased by 1.3 per cent when compared with the previous year; at a time when emissions need to be reducing to achieve IPCC global temperature increase targets. Transdirect is aware of the environmental impact of the freight and logistics industry and have been concerned about their contribution to the problem for several years.

Transdirect Directors take personal responsibility
Transdirect directors, Trent Alexander and Nigel Beale decided to take personal responsibility for the environmental impact of Transdirect on behalf of Transdirect and its’ customers. Trent advised, “becoming Carbon Neutral certified is a huge step in the right direction for ensuring the protection of our environment.”

The choice to go carbon neutral was a natural step for Transdirect. Trent explained;

“As parents, Nigel and I feel personally responsible for creating change in an industry that has a huge impact on the environment. Making our delivery service 100% carbon neutral is one significant step towards creating leading work practices and an environmentally positive business model. We want all children for generations to live in and enjoy a healthy environment.”

An option for climate conscious consumers and businesses
Transdirect wanted to provide a service that would allow a proactive choice by consumers and businesses to support a carbon neutral service and the transition to a low carbon economy. Trent explained it this way:

“People are keenly aware of what’s happening in the environment right now. Often, they don’t know what to do or how to help. So, we are stepping in to provide a pro-active choice in a critical service industry, to say, work with a business who actively cares about the environment”.

Transdirect puts its’ money where its’ mouth is
Trent explained that offering a carbon neutral delivery service has a financial cost but that it is worth it to protect our environment and the future of our children. He said in relation to the carbon neutral delivery service;

“It’s a cost we are funding, but it’s worth it to ensure the future of this earth. Every action counts; and this is a monumental decision for our business. Every service our customers book will now be fully audited and carbon offset. We are ensuring that the carbon generated by our partners and suppliers is offset too; so every time you book with us you are supporting a carbon neutral shipping service.”

Transdirect Environmental Action
From September 1st, 2019 all Transdirect delivery services are certified carbon neutral by the Carbon Reduction Institute under the NoCO2 Program. Transdirect undertook the following process:

1. Commissioned an emissions assessment of their courier services from CRI to quantify the carbon footprint of their courier services. CRI’s assessment relied upon delivery-specific data from Transdirect, as well as published sources of relevant data and emissions factors.
2. Committed to offset the emissions associated with their carbon neutral courier services through the purchase of units in approved renewable energy projects under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and
3. Committed to ongoing auditing of their courier service emissions by reporting carbon neutral courier services to CRI on a quarterly basis.

Transdirect carbon offsets its’ emissions through the China Wind Project which provides a renewable, clean energy source for power generation. Wind projects partially displace electricity currently generated from grid-connected conventional fossil fuel-based thermal power plants, thereby reducing overall emissions. Furthermore, by reducing harmful pollutants in the atmosphere, the China Wind Project also provides public health and local environmental benefits.

To sign up with Transdirect, please go to the following link:
www.transdirect.com.au

To contact the author, please use the following email address:
info@noco2.com.au

Jasper Coffee celebrates 10 years as a certified carbon neutral business!

Founded in 1989, Jasper Coffee is an Australian family owned speciality coffee roaster. They hold in stock Australia’s largest selection of Single Origin beans, Blends, Fairtrade, Organic & Specialty Coffees. Jasper Coffee roast and blend to perfection the highest quality Single Origin AA Grade Arabicas.

Jasper Coffee is dedicated to re-humanising the coffee supply chain and eliminating their environmental impact. They are strongly committed to coffee growers and the environment. This has manifested in their Certifications for Organic, Fairtrade and Carbon Neutral; along with their search for Shade Grown coffees, and extend to the cleaning products they use, the cars they drive, the compostable packaging they use; and the economic and social benefits Jasper Coffee direct to producers.

To achieve NoCO2 carbon neutral certification Jasper Coffee underwent a NoCO2 audit with Carbon Reduction Institute which gave them a complete, stepwise ’emissions inventory’ of their business. By reviewing and assessing their NoCO2 Report; Jasper Coffee was able to understand areas where their impact could be reduced, and the level of unavoidable emissions generated via their operations and products.

Jasper Coffee reduces its’ avoidable emissions, wherever possible, and offsets the unavoidable emissions of their operations and products by supporting cookstove projects in Peru. Under the NoCO2 Program, Jasper Coffee is a certified carbon neutral business and their products are also certified carbon neutral. Jasper coffee, and their products, have been certified under the NoCO2 Program since April 2009.

To enjoy a great tasting, satisfying cup of coffee, visit a Jasper Coffee café concept store. They are a great place to disembark and relax to tell stories over light meals and sweet treats… not to mention the great coffee. You can also order online. To start the journey of Exploration, Adventure and Obsession of Jasper’s World of Coffee, please go to the link below:

https://www.jaspercoffee.com/

Author: Garth Mulholland, Environmental Programs Adviser, Carbon Reduction Institute, garthm@noco2.com.au.

Clean Up Australia is now carbon neutral according to announcement from the Carbon Reduction Institute

Clean Up Australia is excited to announce that it is now carbon neutral, after working closely with the Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI) to audit their operations and offset unavoidable emissions.

According to Ian Kiernan AO, founder and Chairman of Clean Up Australia, the environmental organisation is extremely proud to take this step to further their commitment in the fight against climate change.

“Achieving Carbon Neutral Certification to ensure that our office footprint is carbon neutral was an obvious step for us,” said Ian Kiernan.
“In our business activities, we all need to do more than just recycle paper, and going through the audit process with CRI to achieve our new certification shows that we are prepared to do more than just talk the talk.”

“It is our way of setting a good example for other businesses to follow and become more environmentally savvy; to become carbon neutral.”

As part of the process Clean Up Australia worked with the Carbon Reduction Institute to measure and audit its outputs and help reduce their carbon emissions. This valuable information allowed them to identify business operations which generated the most carbon emissions and investigate ways to reduce these emissions and subsequently reduce the overall environmental impact of the business.

Customers use the audit report to gain an understanding of where they have the greatest impact on the environment and what opportunities they have to reduce that impact, said Rob Cawthorne, Managing Director and founder of the Carbon Reduction Institute.

“We are pleased to announce that Clean Up Australia has achieved carbon neutral status after working with us to audit their business,” said Rob Cawthorne.

“The successful NoCO2 certification attests that greenhouse gas emissions produced from the operations and services of Clean Up Australia have been calculated by the Carbon Reduction Institute, and carbon offsets accredited under the Verified Carbon Standard have been purchased to offset 100% of these emissions.”

“This achievement is a wonderful example to the business community.”

For further information and interviews with Ian Kiernan AO, founder and chairman of Clean Up Australia, or Terrie-Ann Johnson, Managing Director and environmental activist, please contact Tracey Wigg on 0419 141 266.

 

Renewables 2017: 5 energy trends shaping a sustainable future

In a year in which President Trump seemingly did his best to roll back all the emission-reducing inroads of the Obama administration, the worldwide demand for low-cost, low-carbon energy continued to climb at unprecedented rates.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and still a major player in coal, is now on target to lead international investment in the sector, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Closer to home, a surge in solar PV installations – Australia set a new record in 2017 for the fastest time to reach a commissioned 1GW of solar in a calendar year – and widespread investment in wind farms has restored sector confidence.

Australia’s Clean Energy Council reveals that 43 renewable energy projects were under construction or due for completion by the end of 2017. The CEC believes these projects will deliver $8.8 billion in investment, more than 4,469 MW of new renewable energy capacity, and create more than 4,930 direct jobs.

In a watershed year for renewable energy around the globe, below are five other highlights to get excited about.

1. Australia now has the largest lithium-ion battery

When Elon Musk makes a promise, he delivers. In response to ongoing power shortages in South Australia, Musk tweeted Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes in March saying he could create a 100MWh battery storage farm within 100 days as a solution. If not, he’d foot the bill for his troubles.

The batteries were sent and installed well before the Australian heat waves hit – and well ahead of Musk’s self-imposed deadline.

Tesla’s Powerpacks are connected to a wind farm in Hornsdale, owned by French renewable energy company Neoen.

Thanks to Musk’s pledge, South Australia’s premier Jay Weatherill says it’s the first time the state has been able to reliably dispatch wind energy to the grid 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

2. China opens the world’s biggest floating solar farm

A Chinese city once famous for coal became the home to the world’s largest floating solar farm in 2017.

In a symbolic nod to where its energy commitments now lie, Chinese authorities also built it atop a former Huainan coal mine, which had become a lake after being flooded with groundwater.

The 40-megawatt power plant consists of 120,000 solar panels covering an area of more than 160 American football fields. The US$45-million facility could help power 15,000 homes.

Its tenure as a record-breaker, however, is to be short-lived. China, now the global leader in renewable energy investment, started building a 150-megawatt project in the same province in July. The entire facility is expected to be come online by May 2018.

3. SA green-lights the largest single-tower solar thermal power plant

The state once beset by energy woes, is fast becoming the renewable energy leader in Australia. Hot on the heels of the Tesla-built battery farm launching in South Australia, came news of the final stage of government approval for the building of the world’s largest solar thermal plant.

solar is an exciting new energy trend
Pic credit: Solar Reserve Facebook

It works by using multiple heliostats – which are in essence turning mirrors – to focus solar energy onto a single central tower.

This tower uses molten salt technology to store the heat, which it can later use to create steam to turn a turbine and generate electricity. The Government contract with United States operator Solar Reserve plant will displace the equivalent of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The news is accompanied by new figures showing South Australia has successfully shut off its energy reliance on Victoria. Every week since July, South Australia has sold more power to Victoria than it’s brought in.

4. Offshore wind farms

Unencumbered by the usual noise and space limitations of their land-based equivalents, giant turbines rose up from the sea in record numbers in 2017. In May, Dutch officials opened what was billed as one of the world’s largest wind farms – a 150-turbine behemoth in the North Sea. Over the next 15 years, the windpark, which lies some 85 kilometres off the northern coast of The Netherlands, is tipped to meet the energy needs of about 1.5 million people.

With the benefits of more consistent and higher wind speeds at sea it has a peak generating capacity of 600 megawatts, and will help supply 785,000 Dutch households with renewable energy.

TenneT, the Dutch equivalent of the UK’s National Grid, also proposes to construct a man-made island on Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea to act as a distribution hub for wind farm electricity (see video above).

Now Australia is looking to jump on the bandwagon with an even bigger project. Melbourne-based Offshore Energy announced in December that it is partnering with Copenhagen Infrastructure Projects to build the country’s first offshore windfarm off the coast of Victoria.

When completed the $8 billion, 2GW, 250 turbine wind farm – dubbed Star of the South – would have the capacity to power 1.2 million homes, or 18 per cent of the state’s current electricity usage.

5. Harnessing Blockchain technology for cheaper power

A WA start-up capitalised on the surge in solar panel and battery installation in Australia with a new peer-to-peer way to buy and sell renewable energy. Power Ledger is a blockchain-based trading platform – bitcoin uses the same technology – that allows trading of renewable electricity without the need for a midd

blockchain has joined the energy industry
Power Ledger chair and co-founder Dr Jemma Green.

leman.

In October, the energy tech start-up made Australian history with the nation’s first initial coin offering through the Ethereum cryptocurrency network after raising $18.9 million in capital in the lead up to its launch, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Since the ICO, the value of Power Ledger’s 351 million POWRs – cryptocurrency tokens – in circulation increased to $US225 million, according to coinmarketcap.com.

The Perth-based company also recently shared a $2.25 million federal grant with CSIRO, Landcorp and Curtin and Murdoch universities to demonstrate a sustainable energy and water housing project in Fremantle, and is using its cash to employ more software developers and build its staff to about 25. Other trial partners include India’s Tech Mahindra, Origin Energy and New Zealand utility Vector.

Business Clean Up Day 2018: ‘Let today be the start of your clean up journey’

Event founder Ian Kiernan has called on all Australians to keep the momentum going after another successful Clean Up Day campaign.

During a week of action, which kicked off with a Carbon Reduction Institute-sponsored Business Clean Up Day on February 27, an impressive 587,962 volunteers joined together across 7,253 locations to remove rubbish and litter.

Speaking from the 2018 Clean Up Day official site in Brisbane, Mr Kiernan said he was proud to see so many environmentally-conscious Australians rally to the cause: this year’s turnout represented a 14% increase in site and a 4% spike in volunteer numbers over 2017.

But he was also adamant that there is no room for complacency when it comes to keeping our parks, waterways, beaches, bushland and roadways clear of mountains of debris.

“We need to do much more than just pick up rubbish one day a year,” said Mr Kiernan, now in his 28th year of campaigning for a rubbish-free Australia.

“Every day is Clean Up Australia Day – so let today simply be the start of your Clean Up journey. “Making a real difference starts with looking more closely at our persIan Kiernan joins CRI on Clean Up Dayonal purchasing behaviour, becoming conscious of the single-use products, packaging and plastics that we buy and then discard.

“We need to continue to challenge our governments to implement effective waste management and recycling programs to reduce the amount of wasted resource that ends up in our precious environment. Our Clean Up activities provide vital community-led data and feedback that influences decision makers.”

Mr Kiernan and CUA’s Business Officer Wendy Chapman, pictured above right, also found time in the busy campaign week to join the CRI team during their Clean Up Day at Taylors Bay Beach near Taronga Zoo in the Sydney Harbour.

The five staff members, which included CRI’s program managers Garth Mulholland and Heidi Fog, picked up between 30-40 kg of rubbish and close to 1,000 items of litter; everything from plastic zip lock bags to straws and bottle caps.

Their contribution will now be added to the estimated 800 tonnes of rubbish collected across Australia, the removal and destruction of which is being off-set by carbon credits bought by CRI.

“If you missed Clean Up Australia, Business Clean Up Day this year; start planning now to get your business involved next year,” added Mr Mulholland.

“It is a great team-building activity, an opportunity to get outdoors during the week and most importantly a chance to help clean up the environment.”

Since the event started in 1998, Australians have donated more than 33 million volunteer hours, removing the equivalent of 350 thousand ute loads of rubbish from over 178 thousand sites across the country.

“The dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers have made Clean Up Australia Day possible for all these years, and every one of you can be proud of what you have achieved,” said Mr Kiernan.

Results in progress predict volunteers will have removed the equivalent of nearly 16,000 thousand ute loads of rubbish over the last week – just the beginning of what is shaping up to be an outstanding effort in 2018.

Working with limited resources, Clean Up Australia is a not-for-profit NGO which relies on corporate sponsors and donors to supply funding and resources and will continue to provide free bags, gloves and other equipment for as long as it has the funds to do so.

Donations can be made online by clicking here.

Could the next big volcanic eruption in Indonesia help save the planet?

Australian airlines and Bali-bound tourists aren’t the only foreigners keeping a keen eye on the increased volcanic activity around Indonesia of late.

Since Mount Agung began erupting (see video below) at the end of November – and more recently Mount Sinabung on nearby Sumatra – The New York Times reports that NASA researchers and other scientists are on standby to study how ‘the big one’ could theoretically help curb global warming.

Powerful volcanic eruptions are one of the biggest natural influences on climate – when the Philippines’ Mount Pinatubo blew in 1991, it spewed 20 million tons of sulphur dioxide gas into the atmosphere.

The gas spread around the world and combined with water vapour to make aerosols, tiny droplets that reflected sunlight away from the Earth, lowering average global temperatures by one-degree Fahrenheit for several years.

As the world now scrambles for global warming solutions, scientists are wondering if volcanoes can help them unlock the secrets of solar geoengineering, that is, cooling the planet by making it reflect back more of the sun’s rays.

One approach would be to use high-flying jets to spray similar chemicals in the stratosphere. So, by studying the next big volcanic eruption, scientists would also gain insights into how such a scheme, known as solar radiation management, or S.R.M., might work, adds The New York Times.

“This is important if we’re ever going to do geoengineering,” said Alan Robock, a Rutgers University researcher who models the effects of eruptions and who has been involved in discussions about the rapid-response project.

“But even if there were no such thing as geoengineering, it’s still important to understand how volcanoes affect climate.”

The rapid-response effort would involve high-altitude balloon flights and other methods to gather data about an eruption as soon as possible after it begins and for several years afterward.

It would also be important to monitor the aerosols over time, to see how big they get and how they eventually break down. Bigger aerosols would fall out of the atmosphere sooner, lessening the cooling impact, say scientists.

More research needed

In a recent essay for The Wall Street Journal, Dr Gernot Wagner, co-director of Harvard University’s solar geoengineering research program, and Dr Martin Weitzman, a professor of economics at Harvard, said the effects could be substantial over time.

“Solar geoengineering is so potentially powerful, in fact, that it turns the usual economics of climate change on its head,” they write under the heading A Big-Sky plan to Cool the Planet.

But one of the biggest stumbling blocks for spraying the atmosphere with aerosols from high-flying planes is that we don’t yet know which materials would be safest and most effective, caution the doctors.

“Sulphate aerosols are featured in most plans, largely because they best match the known effects of volcanic eruptions. But they also contribute to depleting stratospheric ozone.

“Some preliminary research points to the possible use of calcium carbonate as an alternative. It has potentially better reflective properties for lowering temperatures, and it could help to restore ozone. Much more research needs to be done and may well identify other possibilities.”

They are also quick to qualify their statements in support of solar geoengineering by concluding that making the planet more reflective cannot be a replacement for cutting carbon pollution.

“At best, it is a supplement to other efforts to combat climate change, and it’s an imperfect one at that—a drug that merely moderates dangerous symptoms. The permanent solution is a regimen of diet and exercise.”

Snowy Hydro 2.0: Government makes $6 billion buy-out commitment to power project

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has underlined his commitment to the Snowy 2.0 Hydro scheme by striking a deal to buy the iconic power plant outright.

Conditional on sign-off in the May 8 federal budget, the government will pay NSW around $4 billion for its 58 per cent share and Victoria $2 billion for its 29 per cent stake, giving the Commonwealth (a 13 per cent shareholder) total ownership and control.

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg said the sale was “fair value” and promised to never sell the asset, which was valued at $7.8 billion in the deal, to a private buyer.

“The Commonwealth is absolutely committed to keeping it in public hands. There’s no talk about anything different to that,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC Radio.

Mr Turnbull insists the proposed expansion of the Snowy Hydro system will help make the electricity grid more reliable by increasing the amount of energy to be stored from intermittent generators like wind and solar farms.

Studies give the go-ahead

A new independent economic study recently rubber-stamped the government’s decision to press ahead with the ambitious scheme, despite the project’s budget blow-out.

The report, conducted by Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA), considered the state of the market “with or without” Snowy 2.0, which could cost up to $4.5 billion – a $2.5 billion increase on the original estimate.

Key findings of the MJA findings confirmed that Snowy 2.0 would:

  • Lead to better price outcomes for retailers, customers and large energy users.
  • Help future proof the National Electricity Market at the least possible cost against the intermittency of wind and solar generation as they continue to grow their market share.
  • Build on the Snowy Scheme and see greater utilisation of existing dams and increase operating capability.

The Snowy Mountains hydro scheme, built between 1949 and 1974, is made up of 16 dams, seven power stations and 225km of tunnels.

The expansion proposal – dubbed Snowy Hydro 2.0 – involves boring 27km of tunnels linking the Talbingo dam, at an elevation of 552 metres, to the Tantangara reservoir, at 1,233 metres, so energy can be generated by pumping water uphill to the higher reservoir when energy is cheap (say, in the middle of the night) and releasing it back downhill when energy is in high demand and prices are higher.

The upgrades would add 2,000 MW to the hydro scheme’s 4,100 MW capacity, enough to power 500,000 homes. Engineers also say you’d need to build more than 35 million domestic batteries to match its 350,000MWh storage capacity.

One of the technical features of this project is the reversible turbines which can draw water back through the system so it can be reused, lessening the impact on downstream releases and on the supply during drought.

“Snowy Hydro 2.0 is a nation-building project,” a spokesman for the prime minister said before the release of a $29 million feasibility study at the end of 2017.

“It will not only deliver a more affordable and reliable energy system but will also generate jobs and grow our economy.

“The feasibility study clearly demonstrates that Snowy 2.0 is a viable pumped hydro project that will futureproof the National Electricity Market (NEM), helping stabilise the system and deliver lower prices.”

Future-proofing power supply

If construction gets underway shortly, the Snowy 2.0 scheme could begin operating from 2024.

Mr Frydenberg believes that building Snowy 2.0 is vital for the future of Australia’s energy supply.

In a recent opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review, he warned that without Snowy 2.0 the east coast would have “a weaker and more expensive system and we would have failed to future-proof the grid for the inevitable arrival of more intermittent renewables”.

“Instead of falling electricity prices we will see upward pressure on price as volatility continues, there is less competition and other more costly gas peakers and batteries are pursued to stabilise the system,” he wrote.

Mr Frydenberg said the lack of storage and dispatchable power was “playing out painfully today in Victoria and South Australia”.

He cited the use of “expensive, polluting diesel generators using up to 80,000 litres of fuel an hour [which] have been called in just to keep the lights on this summer”.

As for budget blowout, Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said taxpayers needn’t worry about the revised estimated cost of $3.8 billion – $4.5 billion.

“Snowy 2.0 can be funded off our balance sheet, while delivering a healthy internal rate of return of 8 per cent,” he wrote recently in The Australian.

“While, historically, we have not often used our pumping capability, we’re progressively pumping more and will be at capacity when Snowy 2.0 comes on line.

“In fact, our analysis shows that future storage demand will surpass Snowy 2.0’s capacity from 2031, when we can again deliver by expanding the scheme, using the same reservoirs as Snowy 2.0, to benefit future generations.”

He also told ABC TV that the Snowy 2.0 board is committed to doing another $60 million worth of work in the next few months to refine the expansion costs.

“We expect [the cost] is at the lower end of the spectrum,” he said.

“It’s expensive, but it stacks up economically.”

Australia’s tourist hotspots at risk from climate change, finds new report

Many of Australia’s most iconic tourist attractions could be wiped off the map due to a barrage of catastrophic climate change issues, warns a grim new report from the Climate Council.

Citing multiple credible sources, the council’s 68-page study Icons at Risk: Climate Change Threatening Australian Tourism says Australia’s world-famous beaches, wilderness areas, national parks and the Great Barrier Reef are the most vulnerable hotspots, while our unique native wildlife is also at risk.

“Tourists travel across the globe to see Australia’s remarkable natural wonders. But these icons are in the climate firing line as extreme weather events worsen and sea levels continue to rise,” says Climate Councillor and ecologist Professor Lesley Hughes.

“Some of our country’s most popular natural destinations, including our beaches could become ‘no-go zones’ during peak holiday periods and seasons, with the potential for extreme temperatures to reach up to 50 degrees in Sydney and Melbourne.”

Paris agreement will help

The Gold Coast is also under threat from a whole host of climate change pressures, adds Prof Hughes.

Coastal erosion was already a huge issue on the ‘Glitter Strip’ with millions spent on replenishing sand — but it could become a losing battle.

“Places like Surfers Paradise can’t move inland because of development so there’s a risk of inundation and storm surges,” Prof Hughes says.

And then there’s the deadly jellyfish tempted south because of the slowly warming waters.

“Jellyfish, like the deadly Irukandji, are already in Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, not in large numbers but it shows what could happen.”

Prof Hughes says she isn’t trying to discredit the future of the tourism industry, just point out the dangers climate change will pose if changes aren’t made.

“Tourism employs half a million people, which is many times more than coal mining, so we need to be realistic about the risk the industry faces.”

Ultimately only bringing down global emissions to under 2C, the target set by the Paris Climate Agreement, would lessen the pressure on Australia’s natural attractions, says Prof Hughes

But she criticised the government for sidestepping the issue in its latest tourism strategy.

“What disappoints me most in Government planning is that the Tourism 2020 Plan focuses purely on growth and so paints a very optimistic picture rather than a realistic one.”

Other key report findings include:

  • Australia’s top five natural tourist attractions (beaches, wildlife, the Great Barrier Reef, wilderness and national parks) are all at risk of climate change.
  • Beaches are Australia’s #1 tourist destination and are threatened by rising sea levels.
  • Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle and Adelaide are projected to have a least a 100-fold increase in the frequency of coastal flooding events (with a 0.5m sea level rise).
  • The Red Centre could experience more than 100 days above 35ºC annually, by 2030. By 2090, there could be more than 160 days per year over 35ºC.
  • The Top End could see an increase in hot days (temperatures above 35ºC) from 11 (1981-2010 average) to 43 by 2030, and up to 265 by 2090.
  • Ski tourism: Declines of maximum snow depth and decreasing season length at Australian ski resorts have been reported for over 25 years, increasing the need for artificial snow-making.

The report, however, isn’t all doom and gloom for Australian tourism.

It also highlights moves by individual operators including hotels, resorts, airlines and even zoos which are taking action to tackle rising pollution.

“States and territories, local governments and individual tourism operators should be congratulated for rolling up their sleeves and doing their bit to slash pollution by embracing renewable energy and storage technology,” adds Climate Council Acting CEO and Head of Research, Dr Martin Rice.

“Now, for the sake of our iconic attractions, we just need the Federal Government to do the same.”

NOAA State of the Climate Report – January 2018

Another scorching start to the year across the globe

Climate change supporters can add another marker to the mounting evidence in their corner – January 2018 was officially the fifth warmest start to the year since records began, reveals the monthly State of the Climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Boosted in no small part by heatwave-like conditions in parts of Australia, the temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.71°C above the 20th century average of 12.0°C

The last four years (2015-2018) now rank among the five hottest Januarys on record, and the new data also extends an unbroken 397 consecutive months (since January 1985) in which temperatures were at least nominally above the 20th century average.

Also worth noting, says NOAA, is that the global land and ocean temperature during January has increased at an average rate of +0.07°C per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is twice as great since 1975.

state of the climate report

Sydney hit by heatwave

Warmer-than-average conditions engulfed much of Australia with Sydney bearing the brunt of the sweltering heat. The 47.3°C recorded in Penrith Lakes was the hottest day in the city in 80 years.

Regionally, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia had a top eight warm start to the year, with Queensland and Tasmania having the second warmest January on record.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand also felt the blast with a national mean of 20.3°C, which is 3.1°C above the 1981-2010 average. That was the warmest January since national records began in 1909.

Other notable temperature spikes were recorded across the western half of mainland U.S., central and eastern Europe, and northern Russia, where temperature departures from average were +2.0°C, or greater. Record warmth across the land was limited to small areas across the southwestern North America, central Europe, and parts of Oceania.

Oceans also hotter than normal

Meanwhile, warmer-than-average conditions dominated across much of the world’s oceans in January, with record warmth observed across parts of the north Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of Portugal), and the central and southwestern Pacific Ocean.

Averaged as a whole, the global ocean surface temperature was 0.56°C above the 20th century average of 15.8°C. This value tied with 1998 as the fifth highest global ocean temperature for January in the 139-year record.

Antarctic sea ice extent during the month was 880,595 square kilometres (17.4 percent) below the 1981-2010 average, the second smallest January extent on record. Only the Antarctic sea ice extent in January 2017 was smaller. Below-average ice coverage was observed in the Ross and West Amundsen Seas.

In the Arctic, sea ice was the smallest spread in the 39-year record at 1.35 million square kilometres (9.4 percent) below the 1981-2010 average, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA. Sea ice coverage was particularly sparse in the Barents, Kara and Bering Seas.

NOAA data also reveals that rain anomalies during January 2018 varied significantly around the world, as is typical at this time of the year.

Precipitation was above average across parts of eastern half of mainland U.S, Canada, northern Argentina, Paraguay, northern, central, and eastern Europe, northern, central, and southeastern Asia, and western Australia.

It was notably dry across the south-central contiguous U.S., northeastern Brazil, southern half of Argentina, southern Europe, southern Asia, southern Africa, and eastern Australia.

January 2018 was Austria’s wettest January since 1982 at 170% of normal rain levels. However, several locations across the nation set new precipitation records. Of interest, Nauders in Tyrol (western Austria) had a monthly total of 163mm, resulting in the highest rainfall since records began in 1896.

France was also hard-hit with several regions experiencing two to three times the normal monthly deluge. Overall, the national total was 80% above average and the wettest January since 1959.