Natural disasters

Acacia Pepler

Acacia Pepler is a PhD student at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Climate Change Research Centre, where she studies extreme rainfall and East Coast Lows (ECLs), wild storms and their relation to climate change impacts.

Acacia Pepler initially began her career with an interest in Astronomy but her love of Science and Meteorology took over and after completing a Bachelor of Science BSc, she went on to become a PhD student, as she had always been interested also in the weather. So her current research work centres on the East Coast Lows perhaps as they are difficult to predict and can develop quickly.

As we all at times complain about weather forecast (but expect them to be accurate for a week ahead), our desire for an accurate prediction is of personal and probably superficial  nature or even can be a case of saving lives such as  with the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.  

Climate change can affect East Coast Lows in many ways, for example warmer days can make a cyclone more intense, more rising sea levels which are predicted to be about 1 - 1.5 metres (but NASA has predicted as high as 3 metres by 2050), influences by the Great Dividing Range which can intensify lows up and down the Eastern seaboard can also have an effect.  Answers to these questions are being modelled not only by the Bureau of Meteorology but the Universities of Macquarie and Newcastle, whose special study relates to history and dam levels in NSW the latter of which can be related to the important topic of water security.

Whatever the development of ocean warming intense rainfall is expected to  increase with each degree of global warming particularly when interacting with  cold air in the upper atmosphere. 

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre 26/8/16)

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben is an author, environmentalist, and activist.  In 1988, he wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a common audience about global warming.  He is the co-founder and Chairman of the Board at, an international climate campaign that works in 188 countries around the world.

Beyond Zero Radio's Vivien Langford talked to Bill on his recent 'Do the Maths' Australian tour in June 2013. Bill McKibben's also has a new movie of the same name, 'Do the Math'. In November 2012, following publication of his Rolling Stone article, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, Bill McKibben and hit the road to build a movement strong enough to change the terrifying math of the climate crisis by getting people, colleges and governments to take their cash out of coal investments.

Join the Fossil Free Australia community today to bring on the clean energy revolution!

Do the Maths: Bill McKibben argues for divestment

Community Responses to Climate Change - Occupy Sandy

OCCUPY SANDY from JFOX on Vimeo.

Beyond Zero's Nick Carson looks at Community Responses to Climate Change exacerbated natural disasters, particularly the Occupy Sandy relief effort.

In Australia, Record Weather Fuels Climate Policy Process

In January, Australia had it all: drought, fires, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, floods, and record-breaking heat. "It's been the most challenging month in the 27 years I've been a climatologist," says Neil Plummer, assistant director of the Climate Information Service at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne.

Now, politicians will see how the astounding weather is affecting the political climate. Science, business, and other groups are weighing in on an Australian Senate effort to assess the country's readiness for extreme weather. "We want to see a more structured and strategic response to national disasters," says a spokesperson for Senator Christine Milne, the Australian Greens Party leader who pushed for the study, known as an inquiry.

There's little question the inquiry is getting more attention after last month's disasters. Several cities reached historic highs for heat, and January's average mean temperature (29.68°C) surpassed records set more than 80 years ago, in January 1932. Meanwhile, Queensland farmers estimate they've lost crops and livestock worth AUS$100 million to floods. And Queensland Premier Campbell Newman estimates economic losses from cyclone Oswald and associated tornadoes at AUS$2.4 billion. "Sadly, I think that figure will rise," he told reporters last week.

Fire, heatwaves and the climate emergency


Associate Professor Peter Christoff at Melbourne University and Dr Elizabeth Hanna, National Convenor - Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Human Health at  ANU and President -  Climate and Health Alliance, were among fourteen prominent Australians, scientists and academics who recently published a statement calling on Australia to cease the expansion of coal ports.

'Let's talk about coal' dares to name the greatest contribution Australia is making to climate change and the impacts we are suffering right now through the recent fires, heatwaves, floods and droughts.

Renewable energy could 'run Australia'

All that stands between Australia and a future fuelled entirely by renewable energy, researchers say, is the political will to make the change – a notable finding for a country ravaged by an extraordinary heat wave.

By Paul Brown

LONDON – Australia could be self-sufficient in renewable energy in 10 years by converting to solar and wind energy if the country had the right social and political leadership, according to the Energy Research Institute of the University of Melbourne.

In a paper published before the current catastrophic heat wave, the researchers conclude that existing proven technologies could be deployed on a large scale to show an example to the world and to wean Australia off its addiction to fossil fuels.

Australia, the world's largest coal exporter, has one of the highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases and has, until recently, resisted tackling climate change.

The report, the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, says that if there were the political will Australia's enormous renewable potential could be harnessed and within a decade both make the country carbon-neutral and create thousands of new jobs.

About 40 percent of Australian renewables would come from wind farms, but key to the success of the project is the empty landscape and the almost constant solar power of the interior.

Defy Greenwash with Guy Pearse's new book

Guy Pearse is a Research Fellow at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and the author of High & Dry (2007), Quarterly Essay 33, Quarry Vision (2009) and he is well known for uncovering the dirty tactics of the “Greenhouse Mafia” or big polluters on the Howard government's climate polcies. His latest book, Greenwash: Big brands and carbon scams (Black Inc–2012), entertaining and practical guide for consumers to pick the truly green businesses from the greenwashers and to demand a higher environmental standard from all. Greenwash looks at the whole spectrum - from the Toyota Prius to Earth Hour, from celebrities to your pet dog! Catch the examples of 'This is our story' advertisements, created by the mining industry, and dedicated to taking our attention away from the harmful environmental and health impacts of mining. 

Continuing the theme of environmental impacts; John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, talks about the newly released report Coming Ready or Not: Managing Climate Risks to Australia's Infrastructure which delves into the consequences of climate change on major infrastructure. The report focuses on the physical impacts and flow-on consequences on electricity networks, rail and road, property and water supply. It analyses preparations for climate change impacts in Australia among owners and operators of major infrastructure assets and highlights contrasting approaches.   

Transition towns in a post carbon world

As the USA faces a “Frankenstorm” following a record breaking drought, we look at the ideas and people  preparing a transition from the age of Carbon to the age of Zero Emissions. BZE radio, unlike the mainstream media, not only connects the dots but offers climate solutions.

Richard Heinberg, author of "The End of Growth" and “Powerdown” speaks with Vivien Langford from Beyond Zero Radio at his hotel in Sydney. Richard was visiting Australia on a speaking tour and spoke at the Festival of Dangerous ideas. Thanks to Peter Dowson for filming this interview (click YouTube video above).

Transition Towns is a global movement building resilient, sustainable, vibrant and happy communities. It is a community based response to the future challenges of climate change and peak oil. For more information on Transition Towns, go to

Lancer Lieber and Peter Dowson of Transitions Bondi talk  to Vivien about getting our food from local sources including urban gardens. They are helping groups of Bondi people install solar panels at a manageable price. We talk about understanding how to get the most help from  local councillors who are committed to lowering our carbon footprint. They are inspired by the Transition Towns Movement which is preparing people to be resilient and live sustainably as climate change affects all our lives.

Time to stop ignoring our coal exports, says climate NGO

Radio interview - listen here

The Federal Government’s Climate Commission continued its national roadshow today, this time publicising the potential impacts of climate change on Victoria. However, another report released today by Beyond Zero Emissions contends that moving to renewable energy isn't good enough. They say we also need to look at the impact of our fossil fuel exports on the climate.

Featured in story:

Gerry Hueston - Climate Commissioner and ex-President of BP Australasia
Fergus Green - co-author of Beyond Zero Emissions report, and Chairman of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership

Source: The Wire - current affairs program on community radio around Australia. Produced by Tim Roxburgh. Monday, 23 July 2012

Neil Astley - Ann Henderson-Sellers - David Rovics - Dr Karl Braganza: Wild Weather

There’s nothing like experience, and poet Neil Astley takes us into the heart of Cyclone Tracey, how it thrashed his house in Darwin and even ten years later made him a “quieter” man.

Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers talks to us about tropical cyclones . She is a leading climate scientist who started out at the London Bureau of Metorology and founded the Climatic Impacts
Centre at Macquarie University.

David Rovics, sings to us about how Hurricane Katrina is a metaphor for the world thrown upside down by climate change.His song is called “New Orleans”

The recent State of the Climate put out by Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO isn’t on everyone’s mind, so we ask BoM’s Dr Karl Braganza why the TV weather man isn’t followed every night by
the Climate Person?

Why do people confuse weather with climate? What is La Nina and would geo engineering be a good idea? He takes us to our AIR ARCHIVE stashed away like wine in a vault and explains why it is a national treasure.

Tune in to 3CR on MONDAY 18th June or listen to us later via the Podcast on the Beyond Zero Emissions website

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