Tag Archives: climate change

Australia’s role in the outlook for world energy

China coal

By the cheers, you’d think that the joint US-China announcement on climate change meant that it was mission accomplished. Job done. Sea level rise, ice melt, crop failure and natural disasters averted.

Of course, it’s nothing of the sort. It’s only the first step on a long, difficult road to fixing climate change. The significance is that they’ve taken that first step. After years of squabbling about who should go first, the USA and China have linked arms and tentatively made a start together.

A quick look at the World Energy Outlook, released this week by the International Energy Agency, illustrates just how rocky that road will be…

Read more http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/11/14/4128016.htm



The baffling Gore and Palmer show

'Like cigarettes and lung cancer' - Al Gore links climate change and fires

AL GORE became the face of climate change back in 2006, when he released the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. He climbed aboard a cherry-picker to emphasise just how shocking the rise in global temperatures has been relative to the last few thousand years.

It was a ground-breaking film on a number of levels. The film was very, very effective at spreading the message about climate change. Coupled with Sir Nicholas Stern’s economic report on the threat of climate change, suddenly the whole world was talking about climate change.

In Australia one of the principal reasons for Kevin Rudd’s convincing election win in 2007 was his clear commitment to action on climate change. He ratified the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions as his first order of business.

The film spawned a thousand doubting bloggers and galvanised the climate sceptics movement…

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/06/25/4033168.htm

Cultures to change with climate change


IN THE USA today, many Americans will be celebrating the first day of spring. Down under, of course, we have autumn while they’re having spring, but our first day of autumn was back on March 1st. Why do we have different dates for our seasons?

Americans tend to count the start of spring from the equinox, the day of the year when daylight hours and dark hours are equal.

Meteorologists are a bit more arbitrary in their definition, and Australia has followed their tradition. Autumn starts of the 1st of March in order that longer term weather trends can be meaningfully compared.

In all reality, the delineation of the year into four seasons is just as arbitrary as starting them on the first of a certain month…

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/03/21/3968123.htm


Sunny with a chance of climate change



THE WEATHER IN OUR nation’s capital today is predicted to be 28°C. Mostly sunny, with light winds.

I have no crystal ball, but I reckon it’s pretty likely that the Bureau of Meteorology is going to be about right. I suppose we’ll find out later today.

The Bureau’s website is one of the most accessed sites in Australia. Everyone wants to know whether or not to bring a brolly. The fact that it is accessed so often is testament to the fact that the BoM is usually pretty reliable. Sure, we all like to whinge about the weather — particularly when showers show up unexpectedly — but by and large, you’ve got to admit, they do a pretty good job.

At home, I check the weather before I get up on my phone using the WiFi internet connection I have in the lounge. It’s only very recently that WiFi was invented — 1996 — but Aussies are keen on technology and it’s really caught on.

WiFi was invented by that other great Australian institution, the CSIRO. It wasn’t the first local area network, but it worked the best of the technologies jostling for position back in the day.

Every two years, these two venerable scientific institutions team up to release a State of the Climate report.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/03/04/3955932.htm

Australia dashes G20 climate hopes

DON’T BE FOOLED by their fancy words, there is no indication the current government takes climate change seriously.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s most recent statement on climate change was at a press conference on November 12: “we accept that climate change happens, that mankind, humanity, make a contribution to it and it’s important that we take strong and effective action against it.”

But let’s have a look at the government’s “strong and effective action”…

Read more http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/11/21/3895364.htm


Carbon tax repeal is a free kick



ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Greg Hunt has made good on an election promise: he has released the draft legislation for the abolition of the carbon tax. It’s the first legislation the Liberals have put on the table since their election, and you could detect just a little bit of chuffed in Greg Hunt as he announced its release.

This legislation gives one of the parties a free kick, but the question is which one.

Read more http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/10/17/3871067.htm

The election that forgot the environment

IN 1996, WHILE campaigning as Opposition Leader hoping for election, John Howard promised a one billion dollar fund to help the environment. He won that election and, true to his word, established the Natural Heritage Trust and set about putting those dollars to work.

In 2007, Kevin Rudd swept Howard aside with promises of faster action on climate change and an immediate ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

Not three years later, Julia Gillard was moved to topple Rudd as party leader in part because his approval ratings had plummeted following his fluffing of the climate change policy solution. She was victorious that same year while promising the emissions trading scheme that Rudd had failed to deliver, defeating Tony Abbott and his ‘direct action’ plan on carbon abatement.

Every Prime Minister for the last 17 years has made it to the top job with a little bit of environmental promise; a little bit of green flair, a nod to our collective love of our wide brown land.

But don’t expect to see any of that in 2013. This will be the election that forgot the environment.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/08/16/3826412.htm

The era of adaptation

ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE comes in two flavours: mitigation and adaptation.

Mitigation is where we try to prevent climate change from becoming any worse. That is, we try to stop the release of more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Adaptation is where we try to ready ourselves for the likely effects of climate change. If sea levels are going to rise, for example, we look at levies or planned retreats from the coast. If temperatures are going to soar we make sure railway lines will not buckle in the heat and that hospitals are equipped for surges in people suffering heatstroke.

Adaptation has always been the poorer cousin of mitigation. ‘To solve climate change,’ declared interest groups, ‘we must mitigate the release of greenhouse gases!’

‘Yes!’ shouted pretty much everyone. The United Nations formed a body to address the problem and the world pinned its hopes on a global treaty to prevent the release of greenhouse gases.

As we have seen, however, this hasn’t been the success that was hoped…

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/06/26/3789391.htm



Who’s the ugliest in the beauty contest?

Years ago I read a book called “A Mathematician Plays the Stockmarket” by John Allen Paulos. It’s a sterling read; I recommend it. In it, Paulos explains the complicated psychological calculations behind picking a good investment.

“John Maynard Keynes, arguably the greatest economist of the twentieth century, likened the position of short-term investors in a stock market to that of readers in a newspaper beauty contest (popular in his day). The ostensible task of the reader is to pick the five prettiest out of, say, one hundred contestants, but their real job is more complicated. The reason is that the newspaper rewards them with small prizes only if they pick the five contestants who receive the most votes from readers. That is, they must pick the contestants that they think are most likely to be picked by the other readers, and the other readers must try to do the same. They’re not to become enamoured of any of the contestants or otherwise give undue weight to their own taste. Rather they must, in Keynes’ words, anticipate “what average opinion expects the average opinion to be”.

By this analysis, fossil fuel stocks could be about to turn into the ugliest beauty contestants in the paper….

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/06/13/3780344.htm


The inexorable march to climate change

AS WITH ALL THE great momentous events in life, it came and went without much fanfare. Like the beginning and end of life, it was a small series of obvious next steps that culminated in an occasion so significant that it can’t possibly be fully comprehended by one person.

The event, in this case, was the composition of the atmosphere reaching 400 parts of carbon dioxide for every million other parts.

No alarm sounded when the milestone passed. No parade in the street heralded the moment. No riot erupted.

But this obscure scientific measurement marks the the first time our atmosphere has held so much carbon dioxide in three million years….

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/05/15/3759118.htm