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.