Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fiddling While Rome Burns

With all the talk in recent days, you may have missed the following pieces of climate change-related news:

Tidal waves and kind tides displace 75,000 in PNG
NASA calculate 2 trillion (2,000,000,000) tonnes of ice has been lost in 5 years
Record temperatures hit Moscow (video)

One Positive Reaction?

Many have engaged in public protests over the smallness of the emission reduction planned by the federal government. Whilst some of these were quite entertaining, not everyone is the street-protesting type.

The people at GetUp, have put together this amusing add that they are hoping to run during the cricket on Boxing Day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Greenhouse Mafia

Earlier, I mentioned Guy Pearse's phrase The Greenhouse Mafia for the group of companies that appear to have undue influence over government policy.

Originally, the term was self-description, but became publicly used when the ABC's Four Corners programme interviewed Guy Pearse about the internal workings of the Liberal government in relation to climate change.

After today's announcement, some might be of the opinion that this group is still alive and well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Obama Gets It

Barack Obama recently gave a press conference about "Repowering America" to address both the climate change and economic crises.

While some in Australia are still in the old "business v environment" mentality (which may still be true for companies whose main product is pollution) it's refreshing to see a leader who can see past that, and into a 21st century economy.

In the conference he said things like...

The time for delay is over. The time for denial is over. We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now. It has to be dealt with in a serious way - that is what I intend my administration to do.

What's exciting is that it is not only a problem, but an opportunity.

We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country - to repower America, to make our economy stronger, to make us competitive for decades to come.

We are not going to miss this opportunity. I want to bring together the kind of aggressive bold approach that will make the future better.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where's the 20% ?

Ever wondered what ever happened to the 20% Renewable Energy Target the government promised during the election campaign?

Well so have the 7.30 Report - as they ask why nothing has happened yet (after a year in government) and point out that some high-polluting companies have had their future secured, while renewable energy companies struggle.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is Reality

So you may have heard of 'clean coal'. Like me, you might rank it in the same league as 'healthy cigarettes'.

Well a group of people called This is Reality have put together a video of a "Clean Coal Facility". I found it quite entertaining.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Climate Code Red

I've been reading the book Climate: Code Red by Australians David Spratt and Philip Sutton. In it i found some interesting stats on renewable energy overseas..

Denmark expects 75% of power from wind by 2025.
Today, 160 million Chinese use solar hot water heaters.
By 2010, Germany expects to be installing 1 million solar-electric systems each year.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Home Service

Following on from Friday's theme of good deals... I have recently signed up for the Queensland Government Climate Smart Home Service. They send an expert round to my house, and he does an 'energy audit' to find places where i can save energy (and money).

As part of the deal, i get a free water-efficient showerhead (saving water and energy) and up to 15 energy-efficient light bulbs. But the coolest part is the free wireless energy monitor which tells me how much power i'm using.
ps. i probably should mention that the service costs $50 - but it's great value - the lightbulbs alone would normally cost more than that.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Good Time for Solar

Recently i advised home-owner friends about the current good deal with solar power...

In short, three factors are in play at the same time:
(i) the government $8000 rebate hasn't been cancelled yet
(ii) Origin has a deal of a 1kW system for $3975 (after rebates)
(iii) there is a solar bonus scheme which pays owners a higher price for excess solar electricity.

. This would mean a system would pay for itself in 5-10 years (which is quite good).

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bye Bye Possum?

Professor Stephen Williams of James Cook University is concerned that the white lemuroid possum has become extinct due to climate change - as none have been sighted for over three years.

photo courtesy ABC
If this is the case, it would be the first Australian mammal to fall victim to climate change, though already some insects and frogs have gone that way.
[news report]

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cane Power

Last night, the 7.30 Report had a nice piece on the renewable energy we can get from sugar cane (or at least the waste by-product).

Those of us who grew up in a sugarcane region remember the harvest-time ritual of farmers setting fire to their fields (to remove the 'trash' material) and nearby residents hurriedly bringing in the washing before it got covered in ash.

Well it seems those days are over, as that material is now burnt in power stations to produce electricity. Even though it is burnt (and carbon dioxide is produced) it is classed as renewable because the same amount of carbon dioxide is absorbed by next season's crop - and the cycle continues.

Aside from the benefits to the environment (and clothes!) it also provides financial assistance to farmers, as they sell their waste to the power station.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vatican Sees The Light

Having talked the talk, the Vatican is now walking the walk when it comes to energy.

The Pope has previously criticised "the unbalanced use of energy" in the world, and has commented that environmental damage is making "the lives of poor people on earth especially unbearable".

Now the vatican is covering the roof of its Nervi Hall with 2,400 photovoltaic panels. Producing 300 MWh of clean energy each year, the panels are virtually invisible from ground level, preserving the historic skyline.

Meanwhile, the Vatican is thinking of a system for the 300 hectares around its Vatican Radio transmission centre. Such a project is forecast to provide six times the power needed for transmission - providing clean energy to the surrounding communities.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cost of Coal

I read in the news today that Greenpeace has commissioned the report The True Cost of Coal (subtitled How the people and the planet are paying the price for the world's dirtiest fuel)

The market price of coal reflects only the cost of getting the stuff out of the ground - not the environmental and human costs to society. The report suggests that if the 'external costs' such as respiratory disease, mining accidents, acid rain, smog pollution, reduced agricultural yields and climate change were taken into account that the viability of coal would be vastly different.

While the report empasises the difficulty of estimating all the costs, some of the figures that it could calculate make recent economic bailouts look small.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not Really a Backbone

Recently I was reading Guy Pearse's book High and Dry. It goes on (and on) about the Howard years and how government climate change policy was dictated by Australia's biggest polluters - the Greenhouse Mafia.

One piece of myth-busting late in the book, was that of coal allegedly being the "backbone" of our economy. Pearse's research shows that coal exports form just 2% of Australia's GDP - and the bulk of that goes to majority foreign-owned companies. In terms of jobs, coal employs just 1.3% of workers. (For comparison, tourism is 5%)

Now that I know this, it's quite strange to see industry people talk about 'massive damage' to the economy of a marginal reduction in emissions.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Uniting on Emissions Trading

Saw a report today that the Uniting Church has written a submission on the government's CPRS green paper. Not surprisingly, the church promotes the concern for future generations rather than the already-large profits of industry.

The church's submission also pointed out the need to take care of our Pacific island neighbours, and low-income households (who generally produce less greenhouse gas). Further information (including a download) is available at the Uniting Justice website.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Drinking Green

Our good friends at Cascade have launched Cascade Green - a carbon neutral beer. By calculating the carbon emissions involved in making and shipping the beer, and offsetting those emissions, the net effect is zero.

Now you can hurt your liver without doing the same to the planet :)
Oh, and (for the second time this week) i should mention this is not for kiddies - there are other ways you can save the planet. And for adults, remember that responsible drinking means more than just selecting carbon neutral beer.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Leaving the Islands

Yesterday, i mentioned the situation with potential climate change refugees from Tuvalu. Today i read the news that families are being evacuated from the Solomon Islands.

Current residents of the Malaita province are being relocated to Papua New Guinea. Their islands, already uninhabitable, are expected to be submerged by 2015.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Back-up Plan

You may have heard of Tuvalu. It's highest point is about 1m above high tide. It is expected to be among the first nations to be uninhabitable due to climate change.

Previously, the Australian government has refused point-blank to accept any of the Tuvaluan people, come the time their country disappears.

Now it seems that at the insistence of Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, the government has at least acknowledged that Ausralia would "play a part".

"We cannot deny Australia's complicity in this environmental crisis" said Senator Hanson-Young. "As the wealthiest country in the Pacific, Australia can lead the global community on this humanitarian issue."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Electric Car Video

Previously, i metioned the electric car network that is coming to Australia. Well, thanks to Gav's blog, i've discovered this video of it.

The interesting part is that the intend to have 'battery-swap' stations for longer trips, as well as the charge-up point for daily commutes.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Chaser's War On Coal

Wondering what the guys from The Chaser have been up to recently? Well Andrew Hansen has been putting his comedy talent to work writing this catchy song for Greenpeace.

It's a rather blunt assessment of the proposed idea of giving free greenhouse pollution permits to coal-fired power stations. Oh, and i should probably put an adisory warning on the video clip. Ironically, it's probably not really suitable for kids.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Million Green Jobs

According to a report entitled "Green Gold Rush", Australia could create a million green jobs by 2030, and multi-billion dollar export opportunities.

“Australia is well placed to lead an economic renewal based around clean industries and green jobs,” says Don Henry of ACF. The report suggests Australia focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water industries, biomaterials, green buildings and waste recycling.

“This is no time for a go slow approach. The report shows Australia must act swiftly to make the most of its natural advantages or our economy will be left behind. We can’t win the race by starting last” says ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

“It’s up to government to lead the way with a strong 2020 target to cut greenhouse emissions and ambitious environmental policies that drive investment in green industries” says Mr Henry.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Australia to Catch Up on Electrics

Recently i've mentioned the electric car networks in France and Germany. Well Australia is going to catch up (4 years from now).

photo courtesy of Live News
In partnership with AGL (who will provide the renewable energy for the project) "Better Place" will be installing 200,000 - 250,000 charge points in each of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne by 2012.

photo courtesy of EV World
“We are investing in Australia’s economy and adding jobs while helping the country take a generational leap forward toward oil independence.” declared Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place. “With our commitment to build infrastructure and the Federal Government’s $500 million Green Car Innovation Fund, there is a compelling case for automobile manufacturers to jump in and build clean, safe, affordable electric cars for Australasia and Southeast Asia.”

More info: AFP, EV World, Live News, Australian

Friday, October 17, 2008

Berlin Plug-In

Recently Germany announced the biggest community electric car infrastructure in the world, with 500 plug-in points to be available around Berlin.

Obviously, this enables the potential for cars to be powered by renewable energy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Over a Barrel

As if global warming wasn't enough reason to ween ourselves of oil, Alan Durning presents the following graph showing oil price rises and recessions.

He notes that the increased oil prices (since 2003) took hundreds of billions out of the US economy. Possibly the sudden rise in price also made some families unable to keep up with their sub-prime home loans. He concludes that less oil addiction would make us less vulnerable to price shocks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Climate Change Poverty

If you're making a list of negative effects of climate change, here's another you can add - poverty.

I was visiting the Make Poverty History website, and read that due to climate change:
- crop yields in Africa are projected to fall 20%
- already 5 million illnesses and 150,000 deaths occur each year
- by 2050 there will be 200 million environmental refugees

It does seem incredibly unfair that the rich of the world caused the bulk of the problem, while others suffer the consequences (even moreso than us).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Economic News

There are some companies claiming the financial crisis as an excuse to wimp out on reducing greenhouse pollution. I think the latest was Woodside (surprise surprise - an oil company). Fortunately, the government appears to be ignoring such self-interest in favour of the common good.

A New Green Deal Can Save the World's Economy
Climate Change Investment to Tackle Financial Crisis
France to build electric car infrastructure by 2011
Green Energy should create 20 Million Jobs by 2030
US Green Jobs to Double, mayors claim
Credit Crisis is Time to Act on Climate Change

Monday, October 13, 2008


Sometimes it's easy to forget that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (and hence the rate of climate change) is increasing every year. Thanks to CO2 Now, i've included a monthly tracker in the sidebar.

The latest measure of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere
It records the current concentration, and links to the previous measures. It's a bit of a reminder that the longer we leave it, the worse it gets.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Chat With Government

1800 057 590 is the number to call if you want to give the federal government your feedback on climate change issues.

I gave it a go today, and listed off about 10 things that i think the government could be doing - or not doing, in the case of tax breaks which encourage pollution. I think i got on my soapbox a bit, because the lady who took my call (and typed up my suggestions) said that she filled the comments area on her screen. :)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Crisis Of Our Times

Cartoonists can be uncanny in their ability to sum up a situation in just one sketch.

... and yet which do our politicians seem more concerned about?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

MP Quits

As you may have read, my local state MP (Ronan Lee) has resigned from the ALP. Premier Anna Bligh thinks his voters will feel disappointed. My disappointment lies with the government's slackness on climate change.

So I've contacted Anna Bligh's office, just to give her a reality check on voters are actually thinking. Her number is 3224 4500 (Premier) 3255 3615 (electorate office). She also has a contact form

"Any party that goes to the next state election not offering a world-leading platform on tackling climate change deserves to lose." Mr Lee claimed other MPs were considering quitting or defecting because of widespread discontent.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Star Performers

As you would already know, fridges and other whitegoods have star-ratings to tell you the energy consumption. For electronic goods, there is a thing called the energy star.

For different devices, there are different criteria - mainly to do with how much power they waste when you're not using them. So it's worth looking for the logo next time you're getting something electronic.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New $100 Note

Well probably not - but it looks good.

This pic is part of the GetUp campaign for Australia to "Renew Our Economy" by investing in the future - Renewable Energy.

It certainly sounds a lot smarter than dodgy loans that never get paid back.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Project Democracy

As you may have noticed, a lot of Convenient Solutions are things that can be done by government simply by bringing in a new rule - or in some cases getting rid of an old one. But how do we make sure governments are representing us (the people)?

One way is through Project Democracy. You can pick a Senator (or more) from the federal parliament, and Project Democracy will send you a weekly update on your Senator's actions. If you like, you can send the Senator your feedback.

For the past few weeks i've been tracking Senator Russell Trood (one of 12 Senators representing Queensland). To be honest, he's not generating much news. I think i'll add another senator - someone who's a bit more active.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spain 12 Australia 1

No it's not a lop-sided soccer match. I came across this graph in a post by Gav. It compares the portion of energy each country gets from windpower.

To save you counting, Australia is 15th. Of course, if we ever came as low as 15th in the Olympics, there'd be outrage. But renewable energy doesn't seem to rank as high as gold medals.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Can I Stop Climate Change

Recently i found this little gem at my local library. Though it's a book, it reads more like a magazine, with a multitude of short articles, snippets and stories.

It is from England, so there's a bunch of British-based info, but the vast majority of information is relevant to everyone.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sydney City Beats Brisbane

Obviously I'm not talking rugby league, but Sydney has beaten Brisbane in becoming the first government to become carbon neutral.

Granted, the 'City of Sydney' is a smaller council than Brisbane, but nevertheless they have improved their energy efficiency, purchased 100% renewable energy, and offset any unavoidable carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, to the best of my knowledge, Brisbane City Council gets just 5% of it's electricity from renewable energy - despite the efforts of Helen Abraham.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Action Overseas

If you listen long enough to some Australian political figures, you might end up believing that Australia (after taking 10 years to ratify the Kyoto protocol) is leading the fight against climate change - and that other countries need to catch up. Well, perhaps we should listen less and read more.

Today I read that (while we think about 5 or 10% reductions) other countries are taking real action. For example:
- Germany is looking at 40% reduction by 2020
- Costa Rica aims to be carbon neutral by 2030
- Sweden has said it will wean itself off oil by 2020
- Norway is cutting emissions by 30% by 2020 and aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050

I think if we remember this the next time we hear a politician talk about the costs of Australia "going it alone" we might have a little chuckle to ourselves.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cash for Brisbanites

As of August 31, Brisbane City Council is offering a $400 rebate on a solar hot water system. The rebate is available for the first 1,500 housholds and can be claimed in addition to the federal rebate of $1000.

Mayor Campbell Newman stated "we want to give everybody the opportunity to convert from the very energy intensive electric hot water systems to go with something a lot greener". He also added that if the offer was popular it may be extended.

It makes a lot of sense to use solar energy for water heating, especially here in Queensland. And with so much financial assistance from the government, it's a deal that's hard to ignore.
Update: The Brisbane City Council is no longer offering this rebate.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jobs in the Wind

I read on ABC News that the construction of two new windfarms in Victoria will create almost 200 jobs.

Renewable energy, as well as using far less natural resources, requires as much (or more) labour - especially during construction and installation. That's good news for the planet and for Australia's workforce.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

1% is Plenty

You may have heard the news that the Australian government is providing $50 million dollars in grants to establish geothermal power in Australia.

Looking into the story, it appears that Geoscience Australia has done a study revealsing that just 1% of Australia's geothermal supply would produce far more energy than Australia uses in a year.

No wonder the Minister for Energy says it has "huge potential" - both for tackling climate change and ensuring national energy security.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Green City in the Black Forest

I recently read about the German city of Freiburg. With a population of 200,000, it has almost as many solar panels as the UK, including the building below which has one whole side of the building covered with them.

There are over 400km of bicycle lanes; with public transport, bikes and private vehicles each getting one-third of road space. Recently the UK's Guardian newspaper ran the article "Is this the greenest city in the world?".

The Freiburg website has a detailed environment section - listing the various actions they've taken to achieve their Eco-City reputation. It seems that many cities could follow their lead. Maybe even Brisbane.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Al Gore Challenge

A liitle while ago, i wrote about Al Gore's challenge for America to run on 100% zero-carbon electricity within 10 years. Now, the video has turned up on the internet.

In it he suggests that it can help solve the 3 main crises - economic, environmental and national security.

We're borrowing money from China, to buy oil from the Persian Gulf, to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that has to change.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Farmers Get Wind

According to the Courier Mail a proposed 252-turbine windfarm in Queensland's South Burnett region will be the biggest in the southern hemisphere, and reduce greenhouse gases by up to 2.2 million tonnes per year.

Producing enough power for 320,000 homes, the turbines will be located on grazing properties, with the farmers receiving $10,000 per year per turbine for the use of the land.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Billion Dollar Solar

Yesterday engineering firm Worley Parsons announced its plan to build a $1 billion solar thermal power plant within three years, and up to 34 by 2020.

" want maximum solar with the least cloud cover or interference and our dry desert locations are ideal" said Peter Meurs of Worley Parsons. While Australia's great solar resource is not exactly new information, it is great to see someone stepping up with a hefty investment.

Worley Parsons shares went up 3.7%

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CH2 reduces CO2

A while ago, i wrote about ABC's Catalyst programme doing a feature story on Melbourne's CH2 building.

Well recently i came across the website of this fantastic building, which goes into more detail about the innovative ways that the building saves energy, and also generates some of its own. It's very clever.

Monday, August 11, 2008

4 Day Working Week

This has to be one of the most convenient solutions I have seen. The State of Utah, in the US, has instigated a 4-day working week in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency. The move is also expected to improve customer service and provide workers more flexibility.

Meanwhile, a good friend of mine has arranged a similar deal, where he gets every friday off, in exchange for working slightly longer on the other 4 days. While carbon emissions may not have been his main reason, there does seem to be a link between being low-carbon, and having an improved lifestyle.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

50°C by 2050

That's the prediction for the hottest summer days in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide - according to the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre.

While most reports have looked at the increase in average temperatures, this report investigated the effects of climate change on those extra-hot summer days, which is apparently even greater.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gold Medal Polluters

With the Olympics just days away, i thought it might be interesting to compare the greenhouse emissions of the top Olympic nations.

In terms of tonnes per person, Australia is clearly the best polluter of the top Olympic nations. Even America can't out-pollute us.

(emissions data courtesy of wikipedia)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

$185 Solar Power

A few months ago, the government launched a scheme where it would bulk-buy 1000 rooftop solar power systems, and that these systems would be sold to interested Queenslanders, at the bulk price. Within days, 5000 people had registered their interest, so the list was closed.

Now the deals have been done, and it turns out that the bulk-buy was so effective that the final cost, for those clever Queenslanders who got in quick, is just 185 dollars (for those still eligible for the federal solar rebate).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gore 10 Year Challenge

In a speech delivered in Washington, Al Gore has urged America to totally shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy within 10 years. Whilst admitting it was a tough target, he also said it was achievable and affordable; and would renew the economy by removing the dependence on foreign fuel.

Mr Gore says government promises are too long-term and action must be taken now on climate change. "A political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because as everyone knows it's totally meaningless". Mr Gore nominates the most important policy change could be to tax what we burn, not what we earn.

[Bloomberg report][ABC report]

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Warmer Years

Occasionally you might hear people say that last year was warmer than this one - so what is all the concern about global warming? Well here's the information (courtesy of wikipedia)

Comparing one year to the next is like saying that summer won't ever come because today was colder than yesterday.

Whilst there might be some variation each year, it seeems painfully obvious where the red line is going.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dragging the Chain

Now the Australian Government has launched its draft paper for a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, I have already heard several reporters ask if Australia is getting "too far ahead".

Ministers manage not to laugh out loud at such a suggestion - but merely point out that many countries already have such systems - and that Australia is actually far behind (this is where they roundly criticise the previous government).

Meanwhile, New Scientist did an analysis of how co-operative all the nations have been. Which countries were team players in the climate challenge. Australia wasn't dead last - but we weren't far off it.

(Countries in blue/white are rated better than Australia)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Final Warning

Occasionally people send me links to interesting climate change articles. Recently i was sent a link to a New Scientist article Oil-The Final Warning.

It started off talking about recent protests by truckies over the fuel price, but went on to explore the issue more deeply. The final conclusion (regarding oil) was that "However hard it may be, the sooner we make the break, the better."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yellow Goes Green

The other day - for the first time - i saw a hybrid taxi here in Brisbane. I have previous linked to their introduction in New York, but this was the first one i'd seen in Brissy.

The company's website gives the impression that it's part of a delberate initiative. I'm not sure why it takes companies so long to realise a good idea, but credit should go to them for doing so.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Clean Energy by 2040??

According to an ABC article, experts such as Professor Ian Lowe say the Government's renewable energy targets are too weak to have much impact.

"We should be getting 30 per cent of our electricity from renewables by 2020, 50 per cent by 2030, virtually all of it by 2040 [..] it's economically feasible," said Prof Lowe. "In fact it's probably the best possible investment in our future. All it requires is the political will."

Friday, July 11, 2008

8 Dollar Petrol

A little while ago i wrote about Caltex predicting $3 petrol. Well now the CSIRO says that by 2018, it could be 8 dollars a litre - purely on supply and demand.

That gives a bit of perspective to the thought of 5 cent tax-cuts. Even a 10 or 20 cent increase under an emissions trading system looks like small change.

Clearly, we have to move to alternatives as quickly as possible. We cannot continue like this - either environmentally or economically.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

American Solutions

Sometimes it can be entertaining reading things written for the American public. I came across the following list of "ways to save on fuel", some of which are very much stating the obvious.

1. Hop on the bus.
2. Take it easy. (driving at moderate speed)
3. Trip-chaining. (multiple errands in one trip)
4. Shop online.
5. Drive a sipper, not a guzzler.
6. Take a hike or ride a bike.
7. Work in your sweats. (telecommuting)
8. Drive as if gas is being rationed. (having a weekly limit)
9. Share school rides.
10. Keep the trunk light.

Each tip came with a sentence or two of explanation, which i summarised in brackets where necessary. It all seems like really obvious stuff - but i suppose there's a difference between common sense and common action.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sunrise Solar Petition

The government is planning to reduce the availability of the solar panel rebate. Fortunately, the TV show Sunrise has initiated a petition about this.

Like me, the Sunrise people believe that the rebate is "a valid incentive for ALL Australians to do something about global warming."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Petrol 334.9

Not quite yet, but that's what Caltex are predicting - within a decade (Justin Lloyd).

This futuristic image ran on the front cover of the company's magazine, with the headline story "Petrol at what price?". Speaking about long-term high prices, Des King (managing director) writes "it is a prospect we all have to face".

Friday, June 27, 2008

Green Jobs

Occassionally you might hear concerns about the effect on jobs, resulting from lowering carbon emissions. Well, fear not. The CSIRO has compiled a report on the green economy, and it seems to be very good news.

According to the report, Australia can make significant cuts to greenhouse gases, and at the same time create about 3 million jobs. Mr Don Henry (ACF) said, “CSIRO has shown we can simultaneously grow jobs and our economy while reducing our environmental footprint. The challenge is big, but so are the opportunities.”

More info: CSIRO report; ACF analysis.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Queensland's Future

Yesterday the Queensland Government released the report Climate Change in Queensland: What the Science is Telling Us. The report detailed the local impact of climate change.

"No part of the Queensland community will be untouched by the impact of global warming" said Andrew McNamara, minister for Climate Change, "Queensland is getting hotter, rainfall is decreasing and the incidence of extreme weather events is increasing.”

Details include
-By 2070, Queensland is projected to be up to 5°C hotter
-A greater proportion of total rainfall now falls in extreme events
-Longer periods between rainfall events
-Increased intensity of tropical cyclones

Most concerning was the analysis that "the worst case climate change scenarios (predicted back in 2000) now present the most accurate picture of what is happening."

For more info, see the media release, or download the report.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Good Reason

As if climate change wasn't a good enough reason to reduce petrol consumption, Alan Kohler (ABC News) gives us this information.

The red line is how much oil is discovered each year. The blue line is how much is consumed - including future predictions. It doesn't take Alan Kohler to realise where the price is going to go (and keep going).

Monday, June 23, 2008


Over at Greenpeace UK, they've put together a cool interactive animation called Efficien-city, that shows just how a city can run efficently using renewable power, and shows how some of the lesser-known renewables work (like wave power for instance).

I dropped in for a visit, and found it to be quite fun.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fantastic Ad

The guys at GetUp have put together a great spoof ad. The target is the government's proposed Fuelwatch scheme that has been in the news in recent weeks.

Apart from being incredibly funny (in my opinion) the ad also points out that there are far better solutions (better vehicles, alternative fuels, public transport).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Saving Money on Fuel

Amongst all the recent huff about the cost of petrol, i received this picture as an attachment. I liked it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let's Encourage Solar Power

You may have heard recently that the federal government plans to introduce restrictions on who can claim the solar power rebate. The result is that is slows down the solar industry.

In fact, the environment minister even said in parliament that the uptake of solar power was "overheating" (a poor choice of words, given the global warming connection). But i still don't get why a fast uptake of solar power is a bad thing. I would have thought that the environment minister would be encouraging solar power.

So if, like me, you think that the government should encourage the use of solar power, ACF has a webpage where you can send an e-card to the environment minister. Alternatively, you can send an email to Kevin Rudd, or the climate change minister (Penny Wong) via the Federal Government links i've listed in the right hand column.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lots of Greenpower

We all know the suscribing to greenpower means an increase in the amount of renewable energy that is produced. When a lot of people subscribe to greenpower, then it really adds up.

According to the most recent figures, there are now around 700,000 households subscribing to Greenpower. And in the last quarter of last year, 349 gigawatt hours of renewable energy was created trough Greenpower.

In electricity bill units - that's 349,000,000 kWh!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

58% Flick Their Switch

Remember Earth Hour? About a month ago we turned our lights off for one hour on a Saturday night. According to polling published on the Earth Hour website, 58% of Aussie adults took part in the event.

pic courtesy of Earth Hour
"The overwhelming support for Earth Hour from Australians across the country has amazed us and shows the willingness of both business and individuals to start cutting emissions," said WWF-Australia Earth Hour Director, Andy Ridley.

"The polling only targeted people over 18 years of age and, given the popularity of Earth Hour among kids, the actual number of participants is likely to be much higher."

Monday, May 05, 2008

We Pay BHP $117million

A couple of weeks ago i mentioned the tax-breaks for huge mining companies. Well today i read that BHP Billiton is going to reap $117 million in tax credits during the 4 year expansion of one of its mines.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, it is estimated that the company's annual rebate from the Australian taxpayer is $138 million. Personally, i could think of much better ways to spend $138 million.

Monday, April 28, 2008

In A Jam Over Food Miles

Ok, so most people probably know about food miles. The shorter the distance the food has to travel, the smaller the transport emissions. And i had a good laugh at the Brits when i heard they export 10,000 tonne of butter to Denmark - and then import 10,000 tonne of Danish butter back to the UK. "How proposterous!" I thought.

Then i bought my favourite jam (bargain price and a funky-shaped jar) and was happy with my purchase until i read the fine print.

I had falsely presumed that something made by Coles Australia, was made in Australia. Not so. Not even close.