Climate change is causing oceans to rise quicker than scientists’ most pessimistic forecasts, resulting in earlier flood risks to coastal economies already struggling to adapt.
The revised estimates published Ocean Science impact the two-fifths of the Earth’s population who live near coastlines. Insured property worth trillions of dollars could face even greater danger from floods, superstorms, and tidal surges. The research suggests that countries will have to rein in their greenhouse gas emissions even more than expected to keep sea levels in check.
“It means our carbon budget is even more depleted,” said Aslak Grinsted, a geophysicist at the University of Copenhagen who co-authored the research. Economies need to slash an additional 200 billion metric tons of carbon equivalent in the next five years of global emissions to remain within the thresholds set by previous forecasts, he said.
The researchers built on the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s models, many of which only consider the last 150 years, by incorporating data going back several centuries. The new observations show about a half-meter of sea rise by the end of the century can now be expected with just a 0.5 degree Celsius rise in temperatures. Oceans could rise more than 1 meter at 2 degrees Celsius, a trajectory that will be easily passed under current climate policies.
“The models we are basing our predictions of sea-level rise on presently are not sensitive enough,” Grinsted said. “To put it plainly, they don’t hit the mark when we compare them to the rate of sea-level rise we see when comparing future scenarios with observations going back in time.”
The conclusions follow last month’s warning that rising temperatures have melted 28 trillion metric tons of ice — equivalent to a 100 meter thick sheet of ice covering the entire U.K. — making the worst-case climate scenarios more likely. The new methodology for tracking sea level change could help insurance companies, real estate developers and city planners erecting tidal-defence systems.
“The scenarios we see before us now regarding sea-level rise are too conservative – the sea looks, using our method, to rise more than what is believed using the present method,” Grinsted said, adding that his team at the Niels Bohr Institute is in touch with the IPCC about incorporating its results in next year’s sixth Assessment Report.
Arrowsmith advances to execution in early 2021
Green Hydrogen specialist Infinite Blue Energy Group (IBE) have completed the installation of a Fulcrum3D SODAR (Sonic Detection and Ranging) weather monitoring system at IBE’s landmark green hydrogen project, Arrowsmith. The data collected from the SODAR will support the Final Investment Decision (FID) and allow fine tuning of the final design of power infrastructure.
The SODAR system analyses local winds and sunlight, enabling the final design of wind turbines and solar panels to be optimised for the planned production rate of 25 tonnes per day of zero carbon green hydrogen. Initial data Indicates that the Arrowsmith site (just South of Dongara) is exceptionally high in solar and wind resources, paving the way for the production of green hydrogen with zero carbon debt.
Fulcrum3D’s flagship Sodar wind monitoring system is one of only five remote sensing instruments globally considered to provide bankable wind data by leading independent consultants such as DNV-GL. Fulcrum3D regularly works with lenders engineers and developers in the wind and solar sectors to generate bankable analysis and understands the required tractability and confidentially.
The Stage 1 Arrowsmith Plant will produce 25 tonnes per day of green hydrogen, with the ability to be expanded to a global scale plant supporting the export of liquid hydrogen to Asia Pacific in the future.
IBE plans to have the Arrowsmith Plant operating by late 2022. The project is expected to drive significant growth in regional jobs, energy security and a considerable reduction in Western Australia’s carbon emissions.
IBE Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gauld said this was another crucial step towards the success of the Arrowsmith Hydrogen Project.
The WA and federal government have been pushing renewable hydrogen as a future clean energy source to replace traditional fossil fuels. Various incentives have been set up by the WA and federal government in an effort to position Australia as a world leader in hydrogen production, with the latest being a $22 million funding boost for WAs renewable hydrogen industry.
BHP slashes value of Australian coal assets
BHP (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP), the world’s largest miner, has slashed the value of its Mt Arthur thermal coal mine in Australia by about $1.25 billion as it seeks to sell the asset and focus on other commodities.
The Melbourne, Australia-based company decided last year to either sell or spin off the open pit mine, located in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, as well as its stake in the massive Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia.
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In an operational update on Wednesday, the company said it would take a write-down of between $1.15 billion and $1.25 billion on its New South Wales Energy Coal (NSWEC) assets, reducing its value to between $250 million and $350 million.
BHP said the impairment reflected current market conditions for Australian thermal coal, used as fuel for power plants. It also named weakness in the Australian dollar, changes to the mine plan and an updated assessment of the likelihood of recovering tax losses as secondary reasons for the charge.
The company has been taking several steps away from thermal coal in recent years. It began by making a key statement in 2018, when it left the World Coal Association (WCA) citing “differences” on climate change views. Before that, it had hinted it intended to remove the fossil fuel from its portfolio “potentially sooner than expected.”
The mining giant has restated since that it would rather focus on commodities that enable the electrification of transport and the decarbonization of stationary power, such as copper and nickel.
Thermal coal currently makes up a very small part of BHP’s portfolio, contributing about 3% of turnover. Prices for the commodity have steadily fallen and the company had to sell coal for $44.35 a tonne in the second half of last year, down 24% on the same period in 2019. The figure is well below the cost of mining thermal coal, which BHP estimates at between $55 and $59 a tonne.