Jacinda Ardern: Australia Must ‘Answer to the Pacific’ on Climate Crisis
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had strong words for Australia as both nations attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu this week. The climate crisis is shaping up to be a major issue at the 18-nation forum, as some members want Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to sign a declaration agreeing to a global phase-out of coal, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
However, Australia has been working to water down the forum's declaration, Climate Home News reported Tuesday, fighting language around the term climate "crisis," the 1.5 degree Celsius goal, carbon neutrality, a ban on coal plants and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Australia's conservative governing Liberal-National coalition, which retained power after elections in May, has historically refused to meaningfully reduce emissions or coal use.
The final arrivals into #PIF2019 with beautiful Tuvaluan welcome for the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Austral… https://t.co/SBpBSFiVi4— Pacific Islands Forum (@Pacific Islands Forum)1565773993.0
"Australia has to answer to the Pacific," Ardern said Wednesday, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported. "That is a matter for them."
Ardern, who arrived at the forum Wednesday, reiterated New Zealand's commitment to climate action. Her Labour government has pledged to phase out fossil fuels by 2035 and reduce emissions to 30 percent of 2005 levels.
"Like our Pacific Island neighbours, we will continue that international call, we will continue to say that New Zealand will do our bit and we have an expectation that everyone else will as well; we have to," Ardern said, as The Guardian reported.
Ardern refused to explicitly call on Australia to abandon coal, or to comment on its reported attempts to soften the final declaration. But her remarks still sparked a vicious attack from radio presenter Alan Jones, The Guardian reported Thursday.
"Here she is preaching on global warming and saying that we've got to do something about climate change," Jones said on radio station 2GB Thursday, as The Guardian reported. "I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat."
Jones' comments were roundly decried by other Pacific island leaders.
"Easy to tell someone to shove a sock down a throat when you're sitting in the comfort of a studio," Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama tweeted. "The people of the Pacific, forced to abandon their homes due to climate change, don't have that luxury."
Easy to tell someone to shove a sock down a throat when you’re sitting in the comfort of a studio. The people of th… https://t.co/jHqrwQh7Ch— Frank Bainimarama (@Frank Bainimarama)1565851056.0
Tuvalu, the island nation hosting the forum, is also threatened by sea level rise. Its Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga joined calls for Australia not to open new coal mines and to phase out existing coal-fired plants in order to meet the goals of the Paris agreement, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"That's what I prefer to have in the communique," he told ABC Radio, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
However, the most recent Guardian report on the declaration said that Australia had softened language around climate change in the draft. The final would likely replace the phrase "climate change crisis" with "climate change reality" and the draft to be debated by leaders Thursday will likely call on leaders to "reflect on" a ban on new coal infrastructure and an end to fossil fuel subsidies rather than endorse the measures. The final text is expected Thursday after Pacific leaders meet.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that 18 nations wanted Australia to sign a declaration agreeing to a phase-out of coal. In fact, there were 18 nations total represented at the forum, including Australia, and some of them wanted Australia to sign the declaration. The article has been corrected.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
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