Friday, July 31, 2009

Smarter Than A 5th Grader

This photo was a message from the LIVE group to Australia's leaders. It was done back in May - but the message is still true.

The wording came from 11-year old Sophie. She may be too young to vote, but current decisions (or lack thereof) still affect her future.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

China's Renewable Energy

Some people point the finger at China when it comes to greenhouse gases. But an article in the Australian points out what China is doing with renewable energy:
By 2020 China aims to have installed 300,000MW of hydro power (equal to 80 Snowy Mountains schemes), 30,000MW of plants fuelled by agricultural waste, 1800MW of solar power and more than 50,000MW of wind farms (about four times what will be needed here to meet the Rudd renewable energy target)
Also, there's 600,000 people employed installing solar hotwater heaters. It seems China is very far ahead of us - and remember, their per capita greenhouse emissions are only 1/6th of Australia's.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Australia Falling Behind

I found this graph at Energy Matters showing just how far Australia fell behind in developing solar energy - mainly from 1997 to 2007.

While the USA, Japan and Germany have gone aheads in leaps and bounds, Australia's contribution to worldwide solar power has dropped from 7% to 1%. [see a slightly larger graph]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tuvalu Target

I read today that Tuvalu has set itself a target to be completely powered by renewable energy by 2020. Not only is this a fantastic effort by this small country; but at the same time it pokes a pretty big hole in the old "wreck the economy" theory - when an economy with GDP of 15 million (compared to Australia's 800 billion) is capable of such a transformational change.

Part of the effort is the solar system on the grandstand at the football ground, which produces 5% of the energy for the town, and in just over a year has saved 17,000 litres of generator fuel.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Background on Renewable Energy

I've been listening to a podcast from ABC radio on The Other Climate Debate. It's not so much a debate, more a question of how best to go about encouraging renewable energy here in Australia, where renewable resources are so abundant.

The report also reminded me that Europe, South America, and China have 20% Renewable Energy targets - so far Australia has not. It also mentioned that (per capita) Australia is the biggest carbon polluter on the planet. Also, that with Solar Thermal technology, solar energy can be stored as heat to produce round-the-clock electricity.

As far as economics is concerned, Carbon Market Economics says that a Renewable Energy target not only helps tackle climate change, but helps the economy as well. Similarly, Barack Obama proclaimed

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean renewable energy will lead the 21st century.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Global Warming

Published by Essential Science, "Global Warming" is basically a mini-textbook (65 pages) at maybe a mid high-school level. Written by Fred Pearce, it contains three basic sections - a description of global warming, the possible effects, and solutions to the problem.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Recycling Near You

Friend of mine has recently moved. He was unsure what could be recycled in the area he lives in now (there are slight differences between councils).

So I gave him the tip to check out Recycling Near You which has collated all the recycling info from across Australia. As long as he knows his postcode, he can find out exactly what can be recycled.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A New Generation

Today is another small milestone day - with the official release of the 3rd generation Toyota Prius. So why is a car release a good day?

The answer is 3.9 (L/100km) and 89 (grams of CO2/km). Both of these are the lowest of any car available in Australia - according to Green Vehicle Guide - and over 10% better than the previous model.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

6 Degrees At National Geographic

When experts talk about 2 degrees of global warming, sometimes it doesn't sound too bad. And the IPCC reports have so many words and graphs. What does it all mean?

Well the National Geographic Channel have put together a documentary-style simulation of what 6 degrees might cause. On the interactive section, you can select the number of degrees of warming and see the effects it would have around the globe.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Climate Poverty

Oxfam has just released a report Suffering the Science that describes regions where seasons are already changing and harvest are failing. Spokeswoman Julianne Richards says "thousands of communities are facing hunger and destitution already" and that without urgent action "climate change could reverse 50 years of work to end poverty".

Oxfam Australia executive director Andrew Hewett states "The evidence is clear - the human cost of climate change is as real as any redundancy or repossession notice" and called for Australia to show leadership at the UN negotations.

[Read more: ABC news report - The Oxfam report]

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sweden's Efforts

With the news that the new president of the European Union is Swedish, there is some expectation that Europe will have even more enthusiasm for tackling climate change.

Sweden has reduced its emissions even further than its Kyoto commitment, and currently sources 43% of its energy from renewables. The country also plans to be oil-free by 2020.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Busting The Prius Myths

A friend of mine recently repeated one of those Prius-myths, so i did some checking around. Turns out there are a few of these myths (and enough people believing them) for Toyota to designate a section of their website to setting the record straight.

So if you've been put off a Prius by something a bloke in a pub told you - that he reckons he heard somewhere - i'd recommend Toyota's Myth Buster. As an added bonus, it has neat animation and sounds effects :)

PS. If you want to know where the false rumours start, see my previous rant on this issue. Although it's probably helped along by human tendency to be scared of new things.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Pick The Best Car

Some handy tools for knowing which car is best... To rate the car you're looking at (or compare cars) there's the Green Vehicle Guide for cars 2004 or newer. For cars up to 2003 there's the Fuel Consumption Guide (1986-2003).

To convert those consumptions into a dollar amount, there is Fuel Cost Calculator which can do the sums for you.

ps. i've had a dig at holden before, so i thought i'd test them out. I used to drive a 94 Barina - 5.8L/100km (highway) 8.5L/100km (city). 15 years later, the 09 Barina consumes 5.9 (highway) and 10.5 (city). Any wonder holden are struggling?

Thursday, July 02, 2009


So there's a fair amount of "hot air" coming out of the big polluters - including several claims about the economy.

In myth-busting style, the Australian Conservation Foundation have checked out these claims and put the results in a full-page ad in the metropolitan newspapers.