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Global clean energy scorecard puts Australia 15th in the world

Global clean energy scorecard puts Australia 15th in the world | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Australia ranks equal 15th overall in a new World Bank scorecard on sustainable energy. We are tied with five other countries in the tail-end group of wealthy OECD countries – behind Canada and the United States and just one place ahead of China.

Called the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE), the initiative provides benchmarks to evaluate clean energy progress, and insights and policy guidance for Australia and other countries.
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Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is about acting now with an awareness of the future.
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The 20th century saw a 23-fold increase in natural resources used for building

The 20th century saw a 23-fold increase in natural resources used for building | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The volume of natural resources used in buildings and transport infrastructure increased 23-fold between 1900 and 2010, according to our research. Globally, there are now 800 billion tonnes of natural resource “stock” tied up in these constructions, two-thirds of it in industrialised nations alone.

This trend is set to continue. While industrialised countries have lost some momentum, emerging economies are growing rapidly, China especially. If all countries were to catch up to the per capita level of the industrialised nations, this would quadruple the amount of natural resources tied up in the built environment.

In Australia, 70% of the buildings and infrastructure that will be used in 2050 have not yet been built. Constructing all of this will require a huge amount of natural resources and will severely impact the environment.

To avoid this, we need work to build more efficiently and waste less of our resources. Our buildings need to last longer and become the inputs of future construction projects at the end of their lifetime.
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Climate change doubled the likelihood of the New South Wales heatwave

Climate change doubled the likelihood of the New South Wales heatwave | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The heatwave that engulfed southeastern Australia at the end of last week has seen heat records continue to tumble like Jenga blocks.

On Saturday February 11, as New South Wales suffered through the heatwave’s peak, temperatures soared to 47℃ in Richmond, 50km northwest of Sydney, while 87 fires raged across the state amid catastrophic fire conditions.

On that day, most of NSW experienced temperatures at least 12℃ above normal for this time of year. In White Cliffs, the overnight minimum was 34.2℃, a new record for the state’s highest observed minimum temperature.

On Friday, the average maximum temperature right across NSW hit 42.4℃, beating the previous February record of 42.0℃. The new record stood for all of 24 hours before it was smashed again on Saturday, as the whole state averaged 44.0℃ at its peak. At this time, NSW was the hottest place on Earth.
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Global clean energy scorecard puts Australia 15th in the world

Global clean energy scorecard puts Australia 15th in the world | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Australia ranks equal 15th overall in a new World Bank scorecard on sustainable energy. We are tied with five other countries in the tail-end group of wealthy OECD countries – behind Canada and the United States and just one place ahead of China.

Called the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE), the initiative provides benchmarks to evaluate clean energy progress, and insights and policy guidance for Australia and other countries.
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New Energy Efficient Buildings are not enough against Sustainability Challenge.

New Energy Efficient Buildings are not enough against Sustainability Challenge. | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

More industrialized approach becomes mandatory, an approach that will reduce cost and simplify the decision making process for buyers. But as we all would agree, each city skyline is unique in itself, every building comes in with its own kind of combination of uses, systems and opportunities to be energy efficient.

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Once-cautious climate economist reverses course, issues warning against the cost of inaction

Leading climate economist William Nordhaus — who had been an advocate of a “go slow” approach on climate policy — now says carbon pollution is much more damaging to the economy than he previously…
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Morgan Stanley: Battery storage to grow four times quicker than market thinks

Morgan Stanley: Battery storage to grow four times quicker than market thinks | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Leading investment bank Morgan Stanley believes the Australian energy market is seriously underestimating the grow of solar and battery storage, and says the technology will be installed at rates four times quicker than the incumbent energy industry expects.

In a new detailed report, Asia Insight: Solar and batteries, Morgan Stanley expects the market for battery storage to grow from about 2,000 Australian homes now to one million by 2020. But its “high case” suggests the take-up could be double that – up to 2 million homes by 2020.
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Exxon Told To Hand Over Decades Of Climate Documents In Major Legal Blow

Exxon Told To Hand Over Decades Of Climate Documents In Major Legal Blow | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
“This is a huge victory for democracy," a corporate watchdog group said of the court ruling.
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Life in a post-flying Australia, and why it might actually be ok

Life in a post-flying Australia, and why it might actually be ok | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
With little hope of finding alternatives to jet fuel, we need to seriously consider a world without flying.
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Air pollution alert for Sydney as temperatures to hit 47 across NSW this week

Air pollution alert for Sydney as temperatures to hit 47 across NSW this week | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
NSW Health has issued an air pollution alert as Sydney prepares to swelter through another summer day, warning residents that an increased level of ozone in th
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These smart cities are building infrastructures for the 23rd century

These smart cities are building infrastructures for the 23rd century | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Currently more than 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. The United Nations projects this number will increase to 66 percent by 2050. As our cities become more populated, an increasingly uneven strain is placed on the overall infrastructure.

To combat this exponential burden, many cities are incorporating the most cutting-edge smart technologies and never-before-tested city planning initiatives. Here are four pioneering efforts currently underway.

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As machines replace jobs new White House report prioritises education

As machines replace jobs new White House report prioritises education | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

A new 55 page White House report that investigates the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation on American jobs and the economy warns that tens of millions of jobs will be automated out of existence in coming years but cautions against recommending Universal Basic Income (UBI) as the sole solution.

The report, which was published this week by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), joins a cacophony of opinions, reports and other surveys that are also forecasting massive jobs losses around the world as a result of increasing automation and dramatic improvements in the capabilities of new AI systems.

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United states of denial: forces behind Trump have run Australia's climate policy for years | Graham Readfearn

United states of denial: forces behind Trump have run Australia's climate policy for years | Graham Readfearn | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

For well over a decade now, Australia’s climate policy has been battered, torn and held back by climate science denial and a broader antipathy towards environmentalism. The same interests and ideologies that have worked for decades to reach the current crescendo in the US have been doing the same thing here.

Neatly connecting Australia and the US is the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who earlier this week met with a who’s who of the climate science denial industry in Washington DC, including Ebell.

Think we’re immune to the Trump denialism? You haven’t been paying attention.

When Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal party leadership to Tony Abbott in 2009, it was Turnbull’s then refusal to back away from pricing greenhouse gas emissions that turned the party room against him. From that point onward, pricing carbon became a no-go zone for the Liberal party.

Kim Flintoff's insight:

For well over a decade now, Australia’s climate policy has been battered, torn and held back by climate science denial and a broader antipathy towards environmentalism. The same interests and ideologies that have worked for decades to reach the current crescendo in the US have been doing the same thing here.

Neatly connecting Australia and the US is the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who earlier this week met with a who’s who of the climate science denial industry in Washington DC, including Ebell.

Think we’re immune to the Trump denialism? You haven’t been paying attention.

When Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal party leadership to Tony Abbott in 2009, it was Turnbull’s then refusal to back away from pricing greenhouse gas emissions that turned the party room against him. From that point onward, pricing carbon became a no-go zone for the Liberal party.

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Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be 'game over', scientists warn

Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be 'game over', scientists warn | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
It is a vision of a future so apocalyptic that it is hard to even imagine.

But, if leading scientists writing in one of the most respected academic journals are right, planet Earth could be on course for global warming of more than seven degrees Celsius within a lifetime.

And that, according to one of the world’s most renowned climatologists, could be “game over” – particularly given the imminent presence of climate change denier Donald Trump in the White House.
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'We are facing a climate emergency that requires the strongest action' | The New Daily

'We are facing a climate emergency that requires the strongest action' | The New Daily | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Climate science authorities may be about to confirm that global warming is already trending beyond the dangerous milestone of 2 degrees celsius.

The latest data has yet to be submitted and subjected to peer review, but Climate Council chairman Professor Tim Flannery told The New Daily that if the predictions proved true, governments world wide might have to review all policy options with a greater urgency than ever before.

Professor Flannery said the current budget for mitigation action world wide would be insufficient to constrain global temperature increases to below 2C.
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Australia's electricity market is not agile and innovative enough to keep up

Australia's electricity market is not agile and innovative enough to keep up | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
On the early evening of Wednesday, February 8, electricity supply to some 90,000 households and businesses in South Australia was cut off for up to an hour. Two days later, all electricity consumers in New South Wales were warned the same could happen to them. It didn’t, but apparently only because supply was cut to the Tomago aluminium smelter instead. In Queensland, it was suggested consumers might also be at risk over the two following days, even though it was a weekend, and again on Monday, February 13. What is going on?

The first point to note is that these were all very hot days. This meant that electricity demand for air conditioning and refrigeration was very high. On February 8, Adelaide recorded its highest February maximum temperature since 2014. On February 10, western Sydney recorded its highest ever February maximum, and then broke this record the very next day. Brisbane posted its highest ever February maximum on February 13.
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Germany has unveiled a zero-emissions train that only emits water

Germany has unveiled a zero-emissions train that only emits water | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Germany is set to introduce the world’s first zero-emission passenger train to be powered by hydrogen. The Coradia iLint only emits excess steam into the atmosphere, and provides an alternative to the country’s 4,000 diesel trains. Lower Saxony has already ordered 14 of them from French company Alstom, and more are likely to be seen around the country if they are judged a success, reports Die Welt.
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We’re probably underestimating how quickly electric vehicles will disrupt the oil market

We’re probably underestimating how quickly electric vehicles will disrupt the oil market | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Unpredictably rapid growth happens pretty predictably.
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​Fact Check: Turnbull’s Speech on Australia’s Energy Future

We breakdown Turnbull's statements on energy, pointing out the right and the wrong.
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Tell Kids to Get Good at Stuff Smart Machines Can't Do (Yet)

Tell Kids to Get Good at Stuff Smart Machines Can't Do (Yet) | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

“AI won’t obliterate jobs, but it will transform jobs,” said Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Pink said he’s told his own kids to “think about what you can do to augment what AI does—work that only humans can do that smart machines cannot.” That includes:

creativity;
dealing with ambiguity, nuance and poorly defined problems;
understanding other’s emotions and point of view;
Developing expertise and sense making; and
Identifying reliable sources.

He sees the skill requirements “going up and up” in all jobs, but particularly sales, where targeting is becoming more sophisticated and relationships are more important than ever.

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Hospitals feel the heat too from extreme weather and its health impacts

Hospitals feel the heat too from extreme weather and its health impacts | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
As southeastern Australia swelters through another heatwave, how well equipped are our hospitals to cope with severe weather events?

Hospitals lie at the heart of our ability to manage the significant potential health impacts of extreme weather events. Many people would be surprised to hear that the vast majority of our hospitals have not been designed with these risks in mind. And they have not been adapted to ensure they can maintain healthcare services during such events.

The recent thunderstorm asthma outbreak in Melbourne, which was linked to eight deaths and put 8,500 people in hospital, is a vivid example of the health impacts of extreme weather. Such events can be life-threatening, especially for the aged, obese and critically ill.

Individually, health services workers do a remarkable job in coping with such events. However, the buildings they work in and the infrastructure that supports them often constrain their ability to respond.

Stories of power outages and of sick people waiting hours for beds and patients dying because hospitals were overstretched do not inspire confidence in the health system as Australia faces the prospect of more frequent extreme weather events such as heatwaves, floods and storms.
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WA academics visit Antarctica as part of Homeward Bound | Community News Group

WA academics visit Antarctica as part of Homeward Bound | Community News Group | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
CURTIN University researchers Amanda Davies and Samantha Hall were among the first women to participate in the inaugural Homeward Bound Antarctic expedition.

The pair witnessed the effects of climate change up close as part of the women-in-science leadership expedition, joining astronomers, engineers, physicists, Antarctic and Arctic specialists, doctors and social scientists in the biggest-ever female expedition to Antarctica.

The three-week long expedition of 76 women helped to develop their leadership capacity and discuss effective ways to fight for the future of the planet.

Dr Davies, a geographer and social demographer and Dr Hall from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute departed for Antarctica from Ushuaia in Argentina on December 2.
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The unprecedented drop in global sea ice, in one terrifying gif

The unprecedented drop in global sea ice, in one terrifying gif | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Arctic sea ice area and volume have collapsed in recent decades. And the North Pole has been freakishly warm this winter, as carbon pollution has made what would have been once-in-1,000-years heatwaves increasingly commonplace.
But what’s so remarkable about this year is that the ongoing drop in Arctic sea ice has been matched by an unexpectedly sharp drop in Antarctic sea ice.


A new animation from Kevin Pluck shows just how unprecedented this is.

Climate models have always predicted that human-caused warming would be at least twice as fast for the Arctic as for the planet as a whole thanks to Arctic amplification — a vicious cycle that includes higher temperatures melting highly reflective white ice and snow, which is replaced by the dark blue sea or dark land, both of which absorb more solar energy and lead to more melting.

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Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says

Growing mega-cities will displace vast tracts of farmland by 2030, study says | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Our future crops will face threats not only from climate change, but also from the massive expansion of cities, a new study warns. By 2030, it’s estimated that urban areas will triple in size, expanding into cropland and undermining the productivity of agricultural systems that are already stressed by rising populations and climate change.

Roughly 60% of the world’s cropland lies on the outskirts of cities—and that’s particularly worrying, the report authors say, because this peripheral habitat is, on average, also twice as productive as land elsewhere on the globe.

“We would expect peri-urban land to be more fertile than average land, as mankind tends to settle where crops can be produced,” says Felix Creutzig from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin, and principal author on the paper. “However, we were ignorant about the magnitude of this effect.” The agricultural losses they calculated in the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, translates to a 3 to 4% dip in global agricultural production.
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Culture Design Labs — Evolving the Future – Age of Awareness – Medium

Culture Design Labs — Evolving the Future – Age of Awareness – Medium | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
This is where Culture Design Labs come into the picture.
The emerging field of culture design brings together the many scientific disciplines relevant to establishing an integrative science of social change. Imagine when every community that seeks to guide its own development is able to set up field sites for cultural evolution research. Bringing together researchers with change practitioners — orchestrated and funded by philanthropic institutions and government agencies that provide financial support for applied research and social programs — these field sites will gather data on the cultural patterns driving the evolutionary change process. This knowledge will be essential for practitioners as they guide the change process in their communities.
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Register now for the Convergence!

Register now for the Convergence! | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

For young people today, climate change is a fight for survival. We dream of a future with rich and fulfilling lives, but this requires a safe climate – and this is being stolen from us now by the fossil fuel industry and our government. Worst of all, our universities are complicit in this.
 
We are a network of student led groups across the country fighting for a fossil free university and a fossil free future, and we’ve had key successes along the way. But we won’t win the broader struggle for climate justice unless we organise and mobilise a whole generation of students to join us in taking action.
 
We have to turn this network into a movement. And this movement must be powerful enough to break the ties between our universities and the industry that’s taking away our future.
 
Whether it was Civil Rights or the Vietnam War, throughout the 20th century students have lead the way in creating deep and lasting change. We are millennials, and climate change is the defining challenge of our generation.
 
It’s time for us to take charge. Let’s lead the way.

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