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."