Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mayor Greg?

While a lot of focus is on the upcoming federal election, here in Brisbane there will also be a Council election early next year. In preparation for this, one of the candidates for Lord Mayor, Greg Rowell, has been sending out leaflets of what he is about.

Fortunately, he has also included a feedback form for us voters to tell him what is important to us. Obviously i filled it in, indicating i thought climate change was the number one issue, followed by public transport.

I'd encourage you to do the same if you get one in your mailbox. Alternatively, you can respond online at

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Car Share

Have you ever thought of getting rid of your car? Saving thousands in insurance, rego, petrol and servicing - to say nothing of greenhouse gases. The trick is that there's the occassional trip where a car would be really handy. This is where carshare can be really handy.

Carshare company Gwhiz started up earlier this year. They are just starting out, but there are already 3 cars available for use. You can register an interest via the website, and when there's enough people in a suburb, Gwhiz puts a car there.

There is a small membership fee, and then an hourly charge for usage. But if you only need a car now and then, it works out cheaper than maintaining your own car. You can check it out at

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Who On Earth Cares?

Actually, lots of people do. On Monday, the ACF and actor Cate Blanchett launched the latest initiative in the campaign against climate change - Who On Earth Cares.

Speaking from the appropriate location of Brisbane's drought-affected Lake Samsonvale, she stated that "I think that the majority of Australians are beginning to realise that we can't hope to address the very real issues of water shortages and drought unless we significantly reduce Australia's spiralling greenhouse emissions"

"Climate change is an issue that affects each and every one of us, and therefore it's up to each and every one of us to act responsibly and do something about it."

On the Who On Earth Cares website, visitors can make pledges to reduce their own greenhouse emissions, and can also contact their political representative to take action.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Clean Energy Bill

This past weekend, the government has passed a 'clean energy bill' which means that by 2020, 15% of US energy would come from renewable resources.

Whilst this is not a huge amount, it is an improvement on the current portion of about 6%, and (it must be said) is also better than Australia's current percentage.

Interestingly, officials say that this emphasis on renewable energy, will save consumers billions of dollars (contrary to what you may hear the current Australian government say). [more info]

Monday, August 06, 2007

Rock Power

Last week, GeoDynamics commissioned a new drilling rig and is about to start work on a new geothermal well. Geodynamics chairman Martin Albrecht said "Habanero 3 may turn out to be one of the most important on-shore wells ever drilled in this country"

HFR geothermal energy will work in theory by drilling wells 4-5km into hot granites, circulating water through them and turning the heat energy which returns to the surface to electricity.

This would provide the proof of concept needed to develop a 40 megawatt power plant delivering power into the national electricity grid by the end of 2010. [more info]

Friday, August 03, 2007

Candidates Debate

In view of the coming federal election, today i wrote a letter to all the candidates (that i know of) for my local seat of Ryan.

I asked each of the candidates to outline their commitment and strategies for tackling climate change. I shall publish the responses as i receive them.

If you wish to view the letter i sent (and maybe even send a similar letter to the candidates for your seat) click on the "comments" link below.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Reading The Stars

Whilst in a mathematical mood, i noticed the energy rating sticker on my fridge. According to the the sticker, my fridge uses 550 kWh per year. At the current electricity price, this is about $85 per year.

Now my fridge is fairly old, so i had a look at what is currently available. The fridge below is a shade larger than mine and half a "star" more efficient - and uses just 349 kWh per year ($54)

So what have i learnt? Energy rating is a big deal - half a star can be 30 bucks a year. When getting a fridge, checking out the stars can save money and greenhouse pollution.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dad Sees The Light

Recently i was talking with my dad about energy matters. He admitted he wasn't really excited about energy efficiency lights.

My dad's an intelligent person, he'd just never actually sat down and done the calculations. So we did a cost comparison of an old-fashioned bulb, and an energy efficient one.

Dad tells me the lights (in the room we were in) are on for about 6 hours per night. He was shocked to realise that a 35-cent bulb actually costs him $18.24 a year to run (compared to $3.34 to run an energy efficient one). While he still may not be excited about reducing greenhouse emissions, i think he quite likes the idea of saving 15 bucks.

By the way, this calculation was based on the 2006/07 electricity price. If we were to use the 2010/11 price (here in Queensland) the figures would now be $28.06 (old) and $5.14 (efficient) - a saving of $22.92 each year!
(and that's for just one bulb!)