Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ontario Ditches Coal

Continuing my Canada theme from Monday, today i'm writing about Ontario which is getting itself off coal by 2014.

Ontario's support for renewable energy already sees it employ 20,000 people - a figure which is growing - and create $20 billion in private investment. In 2011, coal use is down 90% from 2003 rates. Apart from the environmental benefits, Ontario also calculates the elimination of coal will save the health system $3 billion annually.

After all of this, it still astonishes me to think that some still believe there's a future in sticking with coal!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Carbon Tax Working Nicely

Canada's province of British Columbia introduced a carbon tax in 2008. At the time, section of the community were worried (similar to some Australians) but the fears proved groundless.

According to The Economist, the BC economy has outperformed the rest of Canada with higher growth, lower unemployment and lower income taxes. Not surprisingly, the carbon tax now has the majority support of BC residents.

At $30/tonne next year, it's a larger tax than the proposed Australian equivalent, and it includes petrol, but it's popular because it reduces emissions, reduces income tax and makes the economy stronger.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recycling Saves Energy

This poster is attached to the tables in the shopping centre food court.

I still find these stats amazing to think about. There's no way we'd leave a light on for 20 hours for no reason, but people still put bottles in the garbage - even though it wastes the same amount of energy.

A friend lives about 15km west of me. It still stuns me that recycling 6 cans saves the same amount of energy as (my share of) the bus journey to his place. But i guess that's the point of the poster - to let us know just how much energy we can save simply by using the recycle bin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clean Energy Future - Videos

The Australian government has recently released a series of advertisements about it's Clean Energy Future package. This is one of them.

The others (along with some radio spots) are available on the website.

Monday, July 18, 2011

South Korea To Cut Emissions By 30%

One of the most-used (yet untrue) excuses for not acting on climate change is the well-worn line "the rest of the world is not acting". In the past few days yet another nation has announced plans more ambitious than ours.

This time it's South Korea. You may remember me writing about their emissions trading scheme, and serious investment in renewables. Anyway, now they have announced a plan to reduce their emissions by 30% by 2020.

Meanwhile Australia's target is 5% by 2020. Remind me again Mr Polluter ... who did you say was the one not acting?

Friday, July 15, 2011

24 Hours Of Reality

24 Time Zones, 24 Hosts, 1 Message. That's the basic idea behind the Climate Reality Project - happening September 14.

In each time zone the event will kick off at 7pm, combining for a 24-hour "round-the-clock, round-the-globe snapshot of the climate crisis in real time".

The aim of the event is to "focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis ... an issue that affects every one of us". Via the internet, you can see the action at any of the locations. I'm peronally excited that Queensland (where i live) is the location for my time zone.

Link: Facebook event page

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Household Assistance Package

The Australian Government has created a website for it's Clean Energy Future package. Which is probably a better name, because the price on pollution is just part of the plan.

While there is lots of information there about the package (which might interest international readers), Australian readers might also be interested to check out the Household Estimator.

The Australian government has decided to give assistance (particularly to households that need it most) as some companies may raise their prices, rather than reduce their emissions. The estimator gives you an idea of how much assistance you will get - which is quite generous, unless you are already quite wealthy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carbon Price Details

As i've alluded to over the past 2 days, Australia has just announced a price on carbon - to take effect July 1, 2012. Some of the details (if you didn't see monday's video) are:

- $23/tonne price for emitting carbon pollution
- Target now 80% pollution reduction by 2050
- $10 billion for renewable energy
- Help for vulnerable people
- Preventing any further coal-fired power stations

Oh, and sorry to international readers, but i'm quite focussed on Australia this week, as we eventually take steps towards real action.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Facts On Food

One of the easiest ways to scare people about something (eg. a price on pollution) is to say that it will make everything more expensive (and to avoid mentioning that these increases will be barely noticeable). Here's just a portion of the ABC's graphic showing how miniscule the effect on food will really be.

For all the hysteria about food prices going up, a quick fact or two quick brings us back to reality. Seriously, are we really going to notice the difference between paying $3.60 and $3.62 for a loaf of bread?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Carbon Price In 2 Minutes

The people at GetUp summarise Australia's announcement of a carbon price in this 2 minute animation.

Their website also has the video, along with some helpful answers to common questions.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday Funnies - Evidence

If you search long enough (and ignore almost almost everything you see) you can still think there's no cause for concern. ;) Great cartoon!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Polluter Watch

It seems polluters will say anything to try to weasel out of paying for their pollution. So a few organisations have teamed up for Polluter Watch.

This details some of Australia's biggest polluters, some of the claims they have made, and how those claims are untrue. It includes individual critiques of RioTinto, TRUenergy, Alcoa, BHP Billiton, Bluescope Steel, International Power and Woodside.

Long-time readers might remember some of those names from when they were exposed for claiming one thing to the government (that a price on pollution would be disastrous) and the exact opposite to their investors (that everything is fine and dandy).

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Saving 60-69% On Fuel

A classic case of saving money (and pollution) by picking a smarter car. For her government vehicle, incoming Green Senator Larissa Waters would prefer a Toyota Prius but for now is stuck with the Calais chosen by the conservative senator she was elected to replace.

So what's the difference? A current Toyota Prius consumes 3.9 L/100km, and emits just 89g CO2/km. The Green Vehicle Guide, says the various Calais models consume between 9.8 and 12.6 L/100km (though the holden website cheekily quotes 9.8) and emit between 234 and 298 gCO2/km.

In short, this puts the Prius somewhere between 2.5 - 3.35 times more efficient than the previous senator's car. Or to put it another way, when Senator Waters gets the Prius she wants, the fuel bill will be 60-69% less. That's the kind of difference a smart choice can make.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Go Green For Jobs

Some people are still worried about the job-impact of climate action. In the US they worry about steel. But it turns out that solar already employs way more people than steel. 93,500 to 20,000.

Meanwhile, another article on the same site, reported that money spent on renewable energy generates over 3 times as many jobs than the same amount of money spent on fossil fuels.

Monday, July 04, 2011

What Price Carbon? (A Guessing Game)

The news is that Australia's carbon price will be announced this Sunday. Obviously the polluters want it to be quite low (eg $10/tonne) while one report says the price needs to be $40/tonne to stimulate a move away from coal.

Recent government financial modelling has been done across the range of $20-$30/tonne, and the government's financial adviser (Ross Garnaut) has suggested a starting price of $26/tonne.

So what do you think it will be? Have your guess as a comment, and we'll see who gets the closest.

I'm going to say $22, which i think is lower than it should be - because i'm concerned that lobbyists from the polluters might cause the government to weaken.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Electric Life

Renault have put out this clever litte ad for electric cars. I enjoy a well-made ad, that is also promoting something good.