Australia Sets New Record High for Emissions Pollution
Australia's love affair with fossil fuels has it setting new records for carbon emissions, year after year, and seeing a decline in renewable energy sources, according to new research from Ndevr Environmental, an emissions-tracking organization, as the Guardian reported.
Once again, Australia set a new record for its greenhouse gas emissions, which was fueled by electricity generation. The increasingly hot summers in Australia has created an insatiable appetite for power that requires electricity to run. According to Ndevr's research, there was an 8.2 percent increase in emissions from the electricity sector between the December and March quarters — largely due to air condition and cooling systems.
The research paper shows that emissions have increased for four consecutive years. Emissions for the year to March 2019 increased to 561 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, up from 554.5 million tons the previous year and 551.2 million tons in 2017, as the Guardian reported.
Fugitive emissions, the escaped gasses and vapors during manufacturing and mining, particularly from the liquid natural gas sector was another large contributor to the rise in emissions.
There is "a lot of work to be done around offsetting and reducing emissions from the liquid natural gas sector," said Matt Drum, Ndevr's managing director, as the Guardian reported. "That's offsetting particularly through land-use projects, but also energy efficiency. And whether the carbon capture and storage nut can be cracked for that sector is going to be really important."
The Ndevr report on Australia's current emissions follows a bleak analysis by Climate Analytics that found Australia is currently responsible for 5 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, but that number could rise to 17 percent by 2030, which is an extremely outsized share considering that Australia is home to only 0.3 percent of the world's population, as the New Daily reported.
"Australia is one of the highest per capita CO2 emitters in the world. On a per capita basis, Australia's carbon footprint, including exports, surpasses China by a factor of 9, the US by a factor of 4, and India by a factor of 37," Climate Analytics wrote in its research report, as Interesting Engineering reported.
Australia's current government is friendly to the fossil fuel industry, so it is reasonable to expect approval for most proposed coal developments and liquid natural gas projects in Western Australia. If those go through while other countries around the world implement policies to meet their requirements under the Paris climate agreement, then Australia will be responsible for nearly one-fifth of the world's carbon emissions.
"Australia is now the number one exporter of both coal and gas and we are scheduled to push that off the charts in the next 10 years. We are looking to become an emissions super-power," said Gavan McFadzean of the Australian Conservation Foundation, which funded the Climate Analytics study, as the Guardian reported. "We are fortunate to have many of our emissions counted elsewhere but that doesn't mean we're not responsible for them."
The trend of increasing emissions and opening up new coal mines and natural gas fields has conservationists alarmed. David Attenborough, the celebrated naturalist and host of the BBC Documentary Climate Change—The Facts, denounced the climate crisis deniers in power in Australia. "[It] is extraordinary because Australia is already facing having to deal with some of the most extreme manifestations of climate change," he said, as the Guardian reported.
Attenborough noted the bleached white sections of the Great Barrier Reef that died off due to rising sea temperatures and increased ocean acidity. He did not mention the sustained drought afflicting Australian farmers, nor the country's outbreak of wildfires, nor the record-breaking heat bearing down on Australia every summer.
"At the end of the day, participation in the emissions reduction fund is decreasing. Fewer projects, fewer contracts, less abatement," said Drum of the Australian Conservation Fund, who lamented his countries inaction to the Guardian. "Unless something happens, something significant, this government will just be presiding over quarter after quarter, year after year, of increasing emissions. It's as simple as that."
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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