Monday, November 29, 2010

Carbon V Dollar

There's a lot of talk recently about a carbon price. Obviously, it helps the economy in the long run. But some are scared that in the short term a carbon price might damage the economy. So, a recent economic report compared it to a 20% increase in the Australian dollar (like we've just had).

It found the exchange rate to have the same effect as an $85/tonne carbon price. A suggested carbon price is $23/tonne, and the CPRS would have started at $10/tonne.

If the economy can withstand the equivalent of an $85 price, I'm sure it can manage a $10-23 price, for the sake of the long term good.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Colbert Bump

On fridays i try to find something a little humorous to share with you - to help avoid depression. This clip is an such example. The wit and humour of Stephen Colbert, helps ease the pain of knowing who it is that might control energy (and therefore climate change) policy in the US.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Portugal To Beat Target?

Portugal's Renewable Energy Target is 60% by 2020. A report suggests that they may even beat this and achieve 82%.

Meanwhile, Australia's target is just 20% in the same time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Matrix

Watching the movie "The Matrix" recently, i was struck by this monologue by the non-human character, Agent Smith. [view clip]
I'd like to share a revelation that i've had during my time here. It came to me when i tried to classify your species. I realised that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area and multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. You know what it is? A virus.

Hard to argue, really.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Hottest Year Yet?

It seems too early for a final call, but Jan-Oct 2010 is the warmest January-October ever recorded, according to NASA. I think the following graphic shows it best (as well as demonstrating global warming over the past 90 years).

The three sections represent 1921-1950, 1951-1980 and 1981-2010. Over the decades the colder (blue) months disappear, and the hot (red) months become more frequent. In the last couple of decades the red has become even more intense - and looking at 2010 so far, it looks like being the hottest of them all.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Help Facebook Unfriend Coal

On facebook, there is a campaign to get founder Mark Zuckerberg to switch the computer servers that operate the social network to be powered by renewable energy. This is the cute video they put together to sum it all up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Climate Change in Queensland

Recently the Queensland Government received the report it commissioned, titled "Climate Change in Queensland". You may remember the very similar-sounding 2008 report. Not surprisingly, here in 2010, it's still bad news.

These maps show the change in Queensland temperatures from 1950-2007. The 3 maps represent the daily average, minimum and maximum temps. Red areas represent warming (the darker the red, the greater the warming).

Put simply, the report says it's hotter than it's ever been, and getting hotter. Droughts will increase, and be broken by more destructive cyclones.

If only governments would take action as much as they take reports.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Too Big To Fail

I'm not encouraging people to get arrested, but i do appreciate both the commitment and cleverness of the Greenpeace people. The most brilliant, yet succinct, summation of the urgency for action - expressed in government's own language.

For more pics of the event, check out the image gallery.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The two main reasons i don't allocate much time at all for pointless debate with those who want to argue the existence of climate change are that (i) there's plenty of scientific research that demonstrates climate change, and (ii) it distracts me from getting on with the job of doing something about it.

Now i see that some clever computer enthusiasts have combined both factors with an automated chatbot. This little computer program detects which well-worn faulty argument has been posted online, and responds with a link to the appropriate scientific research. What a time saver!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Martina's Story

A lot of my focus in this blog is on technical and political stuff - because that's where a lot of solutions are. But there's also the human side to all of this. The people at Oxfam demonstrate this greatly with their faces of climate change video series.

This particular one is about Martina from Uganda and the ways climate change is already making food and water scarce. You can read more of Martina's story, and see videos of the other faces of climate change.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Crime Against Humanity?

Interesting article in the Guardian, asking whether corporate disinformation campaigns regarding climate change could be classified as criminal.

These "deeply irresponsible" programmes have "potentially harsh effects upon tens of millions of people".
These untruths are not based upon reasonable scepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Zero Carbon Plan Video

Last week i wrote about the launch of the Zero Carbon Plan (100% renewables in 10 years). This is the introductory video they screened at the beginning of the event.

Some highlights:

Our response to climate change must be guided by science. The science tells us we have already exceeded the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide.
- Malcolm Turnbull

We're very blessed in terms of renewable energy, the costs are very low for us.
- Tim Flannery

We no longer rely on the horse as our major means of transport. We do change and we have to change.
- Prof Peter Doherty (Nobel Laureate)

You get told one thing by your coal lobbyists about how the world should run, and we're giving an alternative view to that.
- Nina Mulheisen (Toyota Engineer)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Energy Efficiency Eases Mortgage Meltdown

Read this article on mortgages. In the USA, the average suburban home costs about $175,000. But that's just the ticket price. Living in the home also includes $75,000 of utility bills and $300,000 of transportation costs. And these costs are going up faster than wages, and becoming a greater portion of the overall cost.

The author's theory is that the $375,000 of add-ons could be at least halved. Obviously, this would make it much easier to get on top of those mortgage payments!