Australia military ‘unprepared’ for climate impacts – experts

CRIB NOTES JUNE 22-26: Canberra drops defence brief, UK debates fracking, SDGs dominate in NY, FormulaE hits London

With every shift in temperature, there has been a correlating shift in violence, recent studies have found (Pic: MOD)

With every shift in temperature, there has been a correlating shift in violence, recent studies have found (Pic: MOD)

By Ed King

Morning all. Here’s what to look forward to this week. If it’s missing something please email me – [email protected]. 

VULNERABLE: Australia’s defence force has “one eye shut” to the impending threat of global warming, say experts in a report released today by the Melbourne-based Centre for Policy Development. It quotes Admiral Chris Barrie, head of the ADF from 1998-2002 saying the top brass is “not prepared” for potential future extreme weather events – unlike their counterparts in the UK and US.

The study says a ‘perfect storm’ of scarce resources,  booming populations and intensifying competition for energy across the Pacific will leave Australia on the frontline of climate change, and recommends the issue is tackled in a new defence white paper in late 2015 or early 2016. Optimistic? Barrie thinks so. “At the moment it’s hard to envisage conditions short of a  serious crisis in which the  whole government approach to climate security will change,” he says.

FRACKING HELL: So say 850 lawmakers in New York State, who have written to counterparts at Lancashire County Council urging them not to approve two test drilling sites for shale gas fracking this week. “High-volume  hydraulic fracturing is an inherently risky process…” they say in the letter, sent on Saturday, citing air pollution, water contamination and earthquakes. In turn, the UK company keen to drill – Cuadrilla – has told them to butt out.  Planning approval for one of the wells was granted last week. Four days of council debate starts Tuesday.

CHINA’S INDC: We’re still waiting.

SDGS: Negotiations kick off again in New York on the UN’s sustainable development goals, due to be signed off on September. Here’s the running order for this week. Full preview from Alex Pashley on RTCC later today.

AIRPORT HELL: You might think a major decision by the UK Airport Commission on whether London needs a new runway (and if so where) is imminent. You’d be right. And it’s still hard to read where this could go. Heathrow is the global hub with business behind it, but a scrum of influential Tory MPs against. Gatwick says it’s the green choice and will cut air pollution levels across London. An alternative being proposed by climate campaigners is a tax on frequent flyers. They say a new runway isn’t needed as business travel is falling.

FORMULA E: Coming to London this week, for the final race of the season. RTCC will be there on Sunday to watch the sexiest electric car race on the planet get its battery implants.

RTCC IN BRUSSELS: Alex is there this week for us digging ahead of the EU-China summit. Got a story? Email him on [email protected].

SCOT RAGE: Cuts to subsidies for onshore wind across the UK may ensure Scotland misses its goal to slash carbon emissions 42% on 1990 levels by 2020, the Edinburgh government’s energy minister Fergus Ewing said on Sunday. Hitting this target would now be “challenging” because there would be less renewable energy in the pipeline to rely on. Critics say the country has already blown its climate target four years in a row, while the subsidy was still strong.

YOGA: Did you miss World Yoga Day? It was on Sunday… the idea of India’s prime minister and yoga fanatic Narendra Modi. He says it’s good for the soul, wellbeing and physical fitness. And also for climate change.

UN CLIMATE TALKS: If you’re missing your UNFCCC kick while the biblical text is being slashed have a read of the latest Harvard Kennedy School discussion paper on possible “routes” to a 2015 deal. What’s interesting about this paper is its focus on carbon pricing and the specific global price for a tonne on carbon that could really unlock financing for developing countries. $25 a tonne would generate $1,250 billion a year

POPERY: Had enough of the Pope banging on about climate change? In the US apparently not. A new study by the Yale project on climate change communication finds Catholics – 24% of all American adults – are more convinced that global warming is happening, are more worried, and are more supportive of policy action than other Christians. See more here.

POPERY #2: Two must read articles on the Pope’s missive. How the “doubters” lost their fight to stop the encyclical, in the Washington Post and why every world leader should read it, by human foghorn and former deputy UK PM Lord Prescott.

Have I missed something? Email me: [email protected]

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