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.