A Zero Waste Economy Benefits the Environment and the Economy

Closing-the-loopA report released on March 28 calls for a move to a zero waste economy in British Columbia, estimating that more aggressive reduction and recycling of consumer goods could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 5 million tonnes by 2020 and 6.2 million tonnes by 2040. A “closed loop system”, in which products like appliances would be repaired and reused for as long as possible, and finally recycled or reused in new products, would also benefit local economies by creating decent green jobs in repair, servicing and maintenance, waste management in sophisticated collection and sorting systems, as well as re-manufacturing and recycling activities. Based on research carried out in the US, UK and Europe, the authors estimate that “100% recycling of B.C.’s waste, with all sourcing and processing done locally, would support 12,300 direct jobs. With an existing provincial diversion rate of 43%, this would mean about 7,000 new direct jobs. In addition to these, there are also potential jobs gains in the more labour-intensive repair and refurbishment of products.”

“Because there may be job losses from reduced resource extraction and landfilling and incineration practices, “just transition” programs will be needed that facilitate new skills development. On balance, it is anticipated that job creation impacts would be larger than losses, but policy should actively seek to create those jobs by developing the sectors cited above. Promoting and supporting unionized workforces would push green jobs to ensure decent wages and working conditions.”

LINK
Closing the Loop: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Creating Green Jobs through Zero Waste in B.C. by Marc Lee, Sue Maxwell, Ruth Legg, and William Rees is available at the Climate Justice Project of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (B.C. Office) at: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2013/03/CCPA-BC-Zero-Waste.pdf 

Investment in Fossil Fuel Companies is on Shaky Ground – and that Includes Pension Funds

In a report released on March 26, authors Marc Lee and Brock Ellis warn of a possible “carbon bubble”, akin to the high tech or housing bubbles that have rocked financial markets in the past. The study finds that at least 78% of Canada’s proven oil, bitumen, gas, and coal reserves must remain in the ground in order to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees C. This stranded, unburnable fossil fuel is part of the carbon liability of oil and gas companies, and has not been adequately recognized and accounted for by financial analysts. Because the Toronto Stock Exchange is highly weighted towards the fossil fuel sector (with 405 oil and gas companies and a total market capitalization of over $379 billion on the TSX in 2011), the authors argue that this failure to account for these climate risks means that large amounts of invested capital are vulnerable – including the pension assets of working Canadians. They also point out the intergenerational inequity implied in ignoring the interests of younger workers in pension fund management. They propose a series of measures to deflate the carbon bubble and green Canada’s investment markets as part of an orderly transition to a clean energy economy.  

Unburnable Carbon, a report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, discusses the implications of these stranded carbon assets for world and U.K. financial markets. A 2013 update will be available in late April.

Meanwhile, the U.S. campaign for divestment of fossil fuel investments, spearheaded by Bill McKibben and 350.org, is gathering momentum in Canada. See the website ofhttp://gofossilfree.ca/ to follow the campaign to lobby universities to divest themselves of any investments related to fossil fuel companies.

LINKS

Canada’s Carbon Liabilities: The Implications of Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets for Financial Markets and Pension Funds is available at:  http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2013/03/Canadas%20Carbon%20Liabilities.pdf

Unburnable Carbon
 (2012, and forthcoming 2013 update) is available at the Carbon Tracker website at :http://www.carbontracker.org/carbonbubble

“Global warming’s terrifying new math” by Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone, July 2012 at: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

 

Resist, Reclaim, Restructure: The Trade Union Struggle for Energy Democracy

“The Trade Unions for Energy Democracy is a global, multi-sector initiative to advance democratic direction and control of energy in a way that promotes solutions to the climate crisis, energy poverty, the degradation of both land and people, and the repression of workers’ rights and protections.” Now available on their website: Resist, Reclaim, Restructure: The Trade Union Struggle for Energy Democracy, a framing discussion document written for the 3-day global trade union roundtable which launched the initiative in October 2012, convened by the Cornell Global Labor Institute and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation of New York City. Representatives from several Canadian public sector unions and the Canadian Labour Congress participated. “The Trade Unions for Energy Democracy initiative focuses on three main concerns; the recognition that there is a global energy emergency; the needed transition to renewable energy is not happening, and the need for energy democracy led by public sector unions. 

LINKS

Resist, Reclaim, Restructure: The Trade Union Struggle for Energy Democracy.

(October 2012) Roundtable discussion document, by Sean Sweeney, is available at: http://energyemergencyenergytransition.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Resist-Reclaim-Restructure.pdf

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy website, with news and further documents at: http://energydemocracyinitiative.org/about-initiative/

Statements from many international union federations are at:  http://energydemocracyinitiative.org/category/resources/trade-union-statements/ 

New Gender Analysis of Green Jobs in the U.S. Shows Women Under-Represented

On April 2, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) in Washington D.C. published the first analysis of gender distribution of green jobs in America. The report concludes that women are underrepresented in the green economy (holding only 29.5% of green jobs, vs. a 48% participation rate in the general labour force). There are large variations across the country: ranging from a 4% gap in Washington, D.C. to a 24% gap in Maine. The pattern in the overall economy is expected to continue since the fastest-growing green jobs are those traditionally held my men, such as HVAC technicians and electricians. The good news is that the gender wage gap is lower in the green economy than in the overall economy, (18% versus 22% in 2010). The lead author of this study is Ariane Hegewisch ; the President of the IWPR is Heidi Hartmann. The report used data from the U.S. Department of Labor Green Goods and Services Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2008-2010, as well as the Clean Economy database maintained at the Brookings Institute. The report is the first in a series that will be funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Sustainable Employment in a Green US Economy (SEGUE) Program. Future reports will address good practices in workforce development for women in the green economy.

LINKS 

Quality Employment for Women in the Green Economy: Industry, Occupation, and State-by-State Job Estimates, is available from a link at:http://www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/quality-employment-for-women-in-the-green-economy-industry-occupation-and-state-by-state-job-estimates

Release of 2011 U.S. Green Jobs Statistics Shows Growth; Future Surveys Cancelled

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published the results of the latest Green Goods and Services Survey on March 19, 2013, estimating that there were 3.4 million Green Goods and Services (GGS) jobs in the U.S. in 2011, with a growth rate of 2.6% from 2010 to 2011. The leading source of private sector green job growth from 2010 to 2011 came in the construction sector, with more than 100,000 jobs. California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio ranked highest in the number of GGS jobs.

See the 2011 survey results, supplemental tables, and the revised 2010 data archived at:http://www.bls.gov/ggs/news.htm. At the same time, the Bureau announced that one of the means by which it will meet its budget cut of more than $30 million, is to eliminate all the products associated with its “Measuring Green Jobs” program, including the surveys and the career information publications.

See the Sequestration announcement at:http://www.bls.gov/bls/sequester_info.htm.

Clean Tech Job Growth in California Four Times Greater Than the Overall Job Growth Rate

The 2013 California Green Innovation Index, the 5th edition of this index, was released on March 28 by the non-profit group, Next10. It reports that California’s per capita emissions have dropped 17% since 1990, and 2% between 2009 and 2010 alone. Between 2010 and 2011, clean tech patent registrations in California increased by 26% (more than double the rate of the U.S. as a whole, and more than 5 times the global rate). In the special feature section on Jobs in the Core Clean Economy, the report shows that job creation was four times greater in the clean economy than in the economy as a whole from 2001 to 2011. Regional data are provided.  

LINK 

2013 California Green Innovation Index is available at: http://greeninnovationindex.org/content/index-page

 

Worldwide Case Studies of Decent Green Jobs Show the Need for Strong Policy Support

A special issue of the International Journal of Labor Research, dated 2012 but just released in 2013, provides case studies of green jobs in Korea, South Africa, the EU, and a chapter on “Working Conditions in ‘Green Jobs’: Women in the Renewable Energy Sector”, by researchers from the European WiRES project. From the Journal’s Forward:”While these results remain very partial, this should be seen as an important reminder that “green” employment is not decent by definition and that in any other sector, green jobs require careful stewardship from public authorities to ensure that workers are able to exercise their rights. …Indeed, government subsidies and procurement to encourage the shift to a greener environment should be attached to strict clauses protecting the rights to freedom of association and to bargain collectively and ensuring decent minimum conditions for workers.”  

LINK 

Are Green Jobs Decent? In the International Journal of Labor Research (2012) v. 4 #2, published by the International Labor Organization at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_dialogue/—actrav/documents/publication/wcms_207887.pdf

How can Renewable Energy Meet Future Needs in Canada?

A survey released in March by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Trottier Energy Futures Project states that Canada’s supplies of solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass energy are much larger than the current or forecast demand for fuel and electricity. It concludes that Canada can achieve an 80 % reduction in energy-related GHG emissions by 2050 by creating an integrated energy system which includes: a smart electricity grid which uses information technologies “to balance a wider range of supply sources, energy storage, interprovincial transfers of electricity and a wide variety of energy management and efficiency tools.” Still, the report sees “up to half of Canada’s energy demand would still be met by liquid fuels”. An Inventory of Low-Carbon Energy for Canada, released on March 27 at: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2013/03/renewable-energy-sources-can-drive-canadas-low-carbon-future-trottier-energy-fut/ is the second research report released by the Trottier Energy Futures Project.

IN THE U.S. 

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that current renewable energy technologies-wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower-could supply 80% of U.S. electricity in 2050, reliably and across the entire country. Such a conversion would require new power transmission lines, new technologies to store renewable energy and to create a “smart” grid, and economic policies to encourage energy efficiency and lower market barriers to renewable technologies. Read Ramping up Renewables: Energy you can Count on at:

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_energy/Ramping-Up-Renewables-Energy-You-Can-Count-On.pdf 

IN NEW YORK STATE

A new study by Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi, published in the journal Energy Policy, proposes that New York State’s power needs could be met by solar, wind power, hydro and geothermal sources as early as 2030. See “Examining the Feasibility of Converting New York State’s All-Purpose Energy Infrastructure to One Using Wind, Water, and Sunlight” in Energy Policy 2013 v. 57, at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf

 

IN EUROPE 

A newly released report from the World Future Council documents an October 2012 workshop in Denmark where representatives from around the world, including Canada, discussed strategies for implementing renewable energy, and shared successful examples from around Europe. From Vision to Action: A Workshop Report on 100% Renewable Energies in Europe is available at: http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Climate_and_Energy/From_Vision_to_Action_Policy_Recommendations_for_100__RE_in_European_Regions.pdf

The IMF Decries the Distortions of Fossil Fuel Subsidies; Working at a Cross-Purpose with Climate Compatible Investment

A new report from the International Monetary Fund enumerates the economic problems caused by fossil fuel subsidies, including aggravating fiscal imbalances; crowding out priority public spending and private investment; encouraging excessive energy consumption; artificially promoting capital-intensive industries(thus discouraging employment creation); reducing incentives for investment in renewable energy; and accelerating the depletion of natural resources. The report continues, “As most subsidy benefits are captured by higher-income households, energy subsidies have important distributive consequences that are often not fully understood.”  

Importantly, the paper includes what it calls “the most comprehensive estimates of energy subsidies available covering petroleum products, electricity, natural gas, and coal.” The report estimates the post-tax subsidies for energy around the world at $1.9 trillion in 2011, with the top three subsidizers, in absolute terms: the United States ($502 billion), China ($279 billion), and Russia ($116 billion).

Read Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implicationsat:http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2013/012813.pdf.

A related paper by the Overseas Development Institute throws light on the current dilemma of international carbon development goals and fossil fuel subsidies. For examples, it points out that five countries (China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Mexico), appear in both the list of top 12 recipients of climate finance and the list of top 12 providers of fossil-fuel subsidies to domestic consumers. See At Cross-Purposes: Subsidies and Climate Compatible Investment at: http://www.odi.org.uk/publications/7343-subsidies-climate-compatible-investment-fossil-fuel-private-finance 

 

Fraser Institute Analysis Pans Ontario’s Green Energy Act

A Report released on April 11 by Canada’s Fraser Institute analyses Ontario’s Green Energy Act and finds no redeeming features. The report concludes that “Overall, GEA-related energy cost increases will yield a net loss of investment and employment in Ontario, in pursuit of environmental benefits that could have been obtained at a fraction of the cost.” The report was released by the Fraser Institute, whose defining goal is “a free and prosperous world through choice, markets and responsibility”. Read Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act at: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/environmental-and-economic-consequences-ontarios-green-energy-act.pdf

Changes in Oil and Gas Regulations for Canada and Alberta

While Canada waits for the new oil and gas regulations promised for Spring 2013 by Environment Minister Kent, the Pembina Institute has released its own recommendations for what it calls this “make-or-break moment for Canada’s climate credibility”. Author Claire Demerse recommends: the oil and gas industry reduce emissions intensity by 42 % ; the technology fund levy for those who don’t meet the emissions reduction target should increase to at least $100 per tonne by 2020; the current unlimited access to offset credits for companies should end.

Read Getting on Track to 2020: Recommendations for Greenhouse Gas Regulations in Canada’s Oil and Gas Sector from links at:http://www.pembina.org/pub/2427 .

In Alberta, discussion is underway for reform of the provincial carbon pricing system, with the media reporting proposals of a 40% target to improve emissions intensity, and a compensating payment of $40 per tonne if that is not achieved.

Read “Carbon levy talks in early stages, Alberta environment minister confirms” in the Edmonton Journal, April 4, 2013 at:http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Alberta+reviewing+climate+change+policy+McQueen+confirms/8195862/story.html, and See What you need to know about Alberta’s 40/40 carbon pricing proposal, by Simon Dyer (April 5, 2013) at the Pembina website: http://www.pembina.org/blog/707.  

B.C. Provincial Election May 14

Environmental issues will be a high priority for B.C. voters in the election, called for May 14. Follow the issues at The Tyee at: http://thetyee.ca/; BetterFutures B.C. at: http://betterfuturebc.ca/nextstep; the Pembina Institute at: http://www.pembina.org/media-releases; Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B.C. Office at: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/offices/bc/news-updates.   

B.C. Auditor General is Highly Critical of the Pacific Carbon Trust

Public release of a report from the Office of the B.C. Auditor General has been indefinitely delayed by the provincial government, but Ben Parfitt of the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives provides a summary of the report, and explanation. According to Parfitt, the Auditor General examined two major purchases of carbon offsets sold in 2010, (which together accounted for 70% of the 2010 offsets): the purchase of the Darkwoods private forestlands by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and a project that reduced flaring of natural gas at wells operated by Encana. The Auditor General’s report found evidence that both the Nature Conservancy and Encana overstated the climatic benefits of their carbon offset projects by presenting “flawed” baseline information; that the Pacific Carbon Trust (PCT) overpaid for the offsets, and finally, that the PCT proceeded with the purchases against the advice of independent contractors. Read “The campaign to discredit BC Auditor General’s report on carbon neutrality” by Ben Parfitt, (March 27, 2013) at the CCPA Climate Justice website at:http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/campaign-discredit-auditor-generals-report-carbon-neutrality, and a related post from July, 2011 which provides more details at:http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/darkwoods-murky-world-carbon-credits-and-%E2%80%9Ccarbon-neutral%E2%80%9D-bc-government

Forecasts of B.C. LNG Revenues are Disputed as “Cloudy”

A week after Premier Clark released optimistic projections for the province’s liquefied natural gas strategy in February, the Energy ministry released two independent consultant’s reports on the issue. In an article in The Tyee, Geoff Dembicki unravels the calculations behind the government’s projected revenues, the consultants’ numbers, and the current industry opinion. He concludes that the projections are built on unrealistic assumptions, and “industry opinion also suggests B.C. is unlikely to realize tax revenues of $260 billion, or even the lower Liberal estimate of $130 billion.” Read “Clark’s Gas Export Optimism Floats on Cloudy Numbers” by Geoff Dembicki in The Tyee (April 10, 2013) at: http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/04/10/LNG-Revenues-Cloudy/.  

The two consultant’s reports are athttp://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/pubdocs/bcdocs2013/528495/grant%20thornton%20-%20lng%20revenue.pdf andhttp://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/OG/Documents/Ernst%20and%20Young%20-%20LNG%20Revenue.pdf.

Another article by Dembicki, on April 4, provides more background and criticism of the LNG strategy. By changing the rules to allow natural gas to power the energy-intensive processing stages of LNG, the government has undercut its own “clean energy” boast and reduced the potential job benefits for First Nations clean energy enterprises. Read “Changes to LNG Plan Pull Plug on Jobs Say First Nations” in The Tyee (April 4, 2013) at: http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/04/04/Changes-to-LNG-Plan/, and a supporting 2012 blog by Matt Horne of the Pembina Institute at: http://www.pembina.org/blog/611.

Canadian Pipelines: Funding New Eastern Markets for Western Bitumen Sparks Widespread Opposition

The Energy East pipeline project proposal by TransCanada Pipeline is being promoted by Premier Redford of Alberta and New Brunswick’s David Alward. The proposal involves the inversion of 3,000 kilometres of existing pipeline from natural gas to crude oil, as well as the construction of 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline from Quebec to the Irving refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. The project could carry as much as 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day. New Brunswick’s recent budget highlighted it as part of the province’s “Brighter Future”.

Echoing the recent vocabulary of Alberta Premier Redford, N.B. Premier David Alward has said “This project is potentially as important to Canada’s economic future as the railway was to its past. If we proceed, this project will strengthen our national and provincial economies and create jobs and economic growth today and for generations to come.”

Read Premier encouraged by important step in West-East pipeline (April 2) at CBC New Brunswick website at:http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/news/news_release.2013.04.0274.html; New Brunswick budget document, Managing Smarter for a Brighter Future (March 26, 2013) at: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/627691-budget-2013-14-final-e.html#document/p2 , and “TransCanada’s West-East oil pipeline gains momentum” in the Globe and Mail, (April 2, 2013) at:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/transcanadas-west-east-oil-pipeline-gains-momentum/article10663042/.

A related protest is scheduled for Montreal on April 21: Marche pour la Terre/ Walk for the Earth is the result of a collaboration between AQLPA, the David Suzuki Foundation, Earth Day Quebec, ENvironnement JEUnesse, Equiterre, Greenpeace and Nature Quebec, along with the Idle No More movement. They will be protesting any expansion of the tar sands and the presence of pipelines in Quebec, along with many other demands for improved environmental policies and protections. See the website: in French at: http://marchepourlaterre.org/ and in English at: http://marchepourlaterre.org/en/.

Another East-West pipeline, Enbridge Line 9, has drawn criticism from environmentalists since November 2012, when Enbridge applied to the National Energy Board to reverse the flow of oil and boost the line’s capacity from 240,000 barrels per day to 300,000. Line 9 is a pipeline built in the 1970’s which currently runs between Montreal and Westover, Ontario, through highly populated areas and across water sources, including the three rivers of the Greater Toronto area. Because of the danger of a disastrous oil spill, especially given Enbridge’s historic spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010 and the toxicity of diluted bitumen that it could carry, the “Stop Line 9” movement has drawn large protests in communities across the proposed route.

On March 21, the following groups from Quebec and Ontario were allowed to submit their “List of Issues” to the NEB : Équiterre, Environmental Defence, Climate Justice Montreal, Sierra Club of Canada, Greenpeace Canada, and Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution Atmosphérique. The U.S. Environmental Resources Defense Council is also involved because of the potential for oil to travel from Montreal across New England, via the existing connection with the Portland-Montreal pipeline.

Read the Primer on the West-East Pipeline (April 8, 2013) by Maryam Adrangi at the Council of Canadians website at:http://canadians.org/blog/?p=20308Enbridge’s Oil Sands Pipeline Plan: All pain and no gain for Ontario at the Environmental Defence website at: http://environmentaldefence.ca/enbridgestarsandspipelineplan; Natural Resources Defense Council press release (March 26, 2013) at: http://equiterre.org/sites/fichiers/nrdcrelease_-_us_group_submittal_to_neb_line_9_reversal_project_review-nrdc-march_26-final-english.pdf, and visit the Stop Line 9 Toronto website at: http://www.stopline9-toronto.ca/ for links to major resources and other organized groups at: http://www.stopline9-toronto.ca/line9resources.php.

Employment Estimates for Fracking Shale Gas in Quebec

A new study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute in Calgary provides an overview of shale gas locations and geology across Canada, describes the fracking process, and focuses on the current state of the Utica Shale Gas field in Quebec, using economic analysis to estimate GDP, employment, tax and royalty revenue. The report estimates Canadian employment gains in direct, indirect and induced job to range from 293,000 in the base case and 880,000 person-years in the maximum production case. Approximately 69% of jobs are estimated to occur in Québec, 23% in Alberta, and the remaining 8% across Canada. The Quebec government has put a moratorium on shale gas development to allow for public consultation about oil and gas regulations; the government is currently awaiting the completion of a Strategic Environmental Assessment, expected in late 2013.

LINK   Potential Economic Impacts of Developing Quebec’s Shale Gas, (March 2013) is available at the Canadian Energy Research Institute website at:http://www.ceri.ca/images/stories/2013-03-08_CERI_Study_132_-_Quebec_Shale.pdf  

 

U.S. Industry and Environmental Groups Join to Create the Center for Sustainable Shale Development

In late March, 2013, the following groups announced their cooperation to create the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD): Chevron; Clean Air Task Force; CONSOL Energy; Environmental Defense Fund; EQT Corporation; Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP); Heinz Endowments; Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future; Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Shell; and the William Penn Foundation.

The CCSD website at: http://037186e.netsolhost.com/site/ describes the group as: “an unprecedented collaboration built on constructive engagement among environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and energy companies from across the Appalachian Basin…The result of this unique collaboration: the development of rigorous performance standards for sustainable shale development and a commitment to continuous improvement to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of our abundant shale resources.” 

Emissions Standards Could Drive Job Creation in European New Vehicle Technology

A new report by consulting firm Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA forecasts that 350,000-450,000 new jobs will be created if stricter carbon dioxide emissions standards for new cars and vans are implemented across Europe. Details of new regulations and targets are being debated, with German manufacturers at odds with those in France and Italy; Germans believe they would be at a disadvantage because of the bigger cars they produce. See An Economic Assessment of Low-carbon Vehicles at: http://www.ricardo-aea.com/cms/assets/MediaRelease/Economic-Assessment-Vehicles-FINAL2.pdf.

 

Extreme Climate Events Threaten Australian Agriculture, Cities

A report by Australia’s Climate Commission, released in March 2013, states that “There is little doubt that over the next few decades changes in extreme events will increase the risks of adverse consequences to human health, agriculture, infrastructure and the environment”, with key food-growing regions across the southeast and the southwest, and cities in the southeast especially at risk. The report calls for deep, immediate cuts to carbon emissions as the only way to reverse the trend.   The Climate Commission is an independent advisory group established by the Australian government in 2011 to provide Australians with an independent and reliable source of information about climate change. Read The Critical Decade: Extreme Weather Report at: http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/extreme-weather/.