13 February 2012

Climate in the media to 12 February 2012

PICKS OF THE WEEK---------------

Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field
Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 7 February 2012
Methane leaks during production may offset climate benefits of natural gas.
NOAA measure high CH4 emissions over gas field

Government confirms AFP spying on coal seam gas protesters
Christine Milne, 7 February 2012
Minister Joe Ludwig, representing the Attorney General in the Senate, confirmed in Question Time today that the Australia Federal Police monitors coal seam gas protesters and that the government outsources some intelligence gathering to private consultants.

Mixed Greens: Hybrid solar cells boost efficiency
Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 9 February 2012
Scientists at the University of Cambridge say they have developed a new type of hybrid solar cell which could convert 44 per cent of sunlight into electrical power, nearly a third more than the current best case scenario of 34 per cent.

Big oil's bumper subsidies
Daniel J Weiss, Jackie Weidman & Rebecca Leber, Center for American Progress, 9 Feb 2012
General economic theory holds that companies will produce more of a good if its price is higher, or if it receives subsidies. Funny that these rules didn’t seem to apply to Big Oil in 2011, when the highest oil price since 1864 and $2 billion in subsidies to the five largest oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell – yielded lower oil production than in 2010.

Earth Summit is doomed to fail, say leading ecologists
Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 10 February 2012
We can forget about fixing the planet's ecosystems and climate until we have fixed government systems, a panel of leading international environmental scientists declared in London on Friday. The solution, they said, may not lie with governments at all.

Carbon tax only a good start: report
Tom Arup, The Age, February 6, 2012
A carbon price alone will not be enough for Australia to meet its target of a dramatic cut in greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, an analysis by the Grattan Institute has found.

Social media explained in just one image
MEDIA & MEDIA MOGULS---------------

New study: “The greater the quantity of media coverage of climate change, the greater the level of public concern”
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 6 February 2012
A must-read study published Monday in the journal Climatic Change debunks some pervasive myths about public opinion and climate change.  The lead author, Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, gave me an exclusive interview.

New Study: Political Elite Shapes Climate Discourse
Keith Kloor, Yale forum, February 9, 2012
Fresh analysis of public opinion presents a vexing challenge for climate communicators.

Lord Monckton and the Future of Australian Media
Robert Manne, the Monthly blog, 8 February 2012
In July 2011, one of the most extreme climate change denialists, Lord Monckton, accepted an invitation to take a trip to Australia – a country that matters greatly in the struggle against global warming because of its vast deposits of coal.

Australia reacts to Lord Monckton's call for a 'Fox News' funded by 'super rich'
Leo Hickman, Guardian, 8 February  2012
Campaigners warn against mining interests buying up media after Lord Monckton calls for UK and Australia to have a 'Fox News'

Gina Rinehart, Australian mining magnate and now media mogul
Alison Rourke, Guardian, 8 February 2012
One of the world's richest women has bought into the Australian media. Will she use this to push her views on tax and mining?

U.S. solar needs innovation, not protection
Gerard Wynn, Reuters, Feb 8, 2012
A brewing green energy trade war, with mooted U.S. retaliation against Chinese makers of solar panels and wind turbine parts, is high on rhetoric but distracts from a bigger technology race.

Mixed Greens: Hybrid solar cells boost efficiency
Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 9 February 2012
Scientists at the University of Cambridge say they have developed a new type of hybrid solar cell which could convert 44 per cent of sunlight into electrical power, nearly a third more than the current best case scenario of 34 per cent.

Canberra scuttling solar 'flagships', say Greens
David Wroe, The Age, February 7, 2012
The Greens have accused the government of creating a solar energy scheme that was ''designed to fail'' after it emerged that two major solar projects set to receive $750 million in government funding have failed to find investor backing.
Forget flagships, the real solar action is in ACT
Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 7 February 2012
As the mainstream press gets excited about discovering news – almost two months old – that the Solar Flagships program is in danger of collapse because the two chosen consortia failed to obtain funding by the December 15 deadline, the main game in the Australian solar industry has moved – from the corridors of power in the Federal Parliament to the more modest resources of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Bacchus Marsh drill site sparks protest
Adam Morton, The Age, 7 February 2012
The latest in a series of protests ends with the arrest of a man who chained himself to a drilling rig eight metres above the ground.

A smart grid and seven clean energy sources
Giles Parkinson on 6 February 2012
The Grattan Institute’s study into Australia’s energy future – “No easy choices: Which way to Australia’s energy future” – canvasses seven technologies that could help deliver an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.

Solar Panels From Grass Clippings: Researchers Make Progress on “Biophotovoltaics”
Stephen Lacey, Climate progress, 5 February 2012
It’s chore day. You’ve raked the leaves, taken out the recycling, and emptied out the old junk in your garage. But wait — don’t toss it all out! You have all the ingredients for your very own homemade solar system.

Can technology save us? Reality-checking Andrew Charlton’s Quarterly Essay
Michael Peck, the Conversation, 7 February 2012
In his recent Quarterly Essay, Man-made world: choosing between progress and planet, economist Andrew Charlton presents technological innovation as the solution to climate change and the route to unbounded economic growth.

Victorians want power station funds halted
AAP/Weekly Times, 10 February 2011
Almost 12,000 people have called on the government to withdraw Howard-era funding to build a coal-fired power station in Victoria.
Ferguson grants extension for contentious power plant project

Bill Gates backs climate scientists lobbying for large-scale geoengineering
John Vidal, Guardian,  6 February 2012
Other wealthy individuals have also funded a series of reports into the future use of technologies to geoengineer the climate

Ed Davey throws weight behind green energy by opening giant UK windfarm
Terry Macalister, Guardian, 9 February 2012
Walney farm off Cumbria, opening today, is world's largest, with Britain 'number one destination for investment in offshore wind'

State says no to Vasse Coal proposal


Beyond the carbon price, a Faustian bargain
David Spratt, Crikey, 6 February 2012
The carbon tax starts on July 1 this year, so there’s some tidying up to do around the edges -- appointments, financing, regulations -- and then a big tick next to the climate policy box on the cabinet whiteboard. Minister Greg Combet has already taken on the additional portfolios of industry and innovation.

Why climate change will make you love big government   
Christian Parenti, Grist, 5 February 2012
Look back on 2011 and you’ll notice a destructive trail of extreme weather slashing through the year.

The great carbon bubble: Why the fossil-fuel industry fights so hard
Bill McKibben, Grist, 7 Feb 2012
If we could see the world with a particularly illuminating set of spectacles, one of its most prominent features at the moment would be a giant carbon bubble, whose bursting someday will make the housing bubble of 2007 look like a lark. As yet — as we shall see — it’s unfortunately largely invisible to us.

See you in court: solving aviation emissions is an international mess
David Hodgkinson, The Conversation, 8 February 2012
Aviation is a growing source of emissions. Emissions from aviation are increasing against a background of decreasing emissions from many other industry sectors.

Clean coal company feels the heat
Mathew Dunckley, AFR, 7 February 2012
Victorian “clean coal” company HRL is under increasing financial stress as the federal and Victorian governments weigh the future of $150 million in taxpayer support for the business.


Melting ice sheets already seen driving sea-level rise
Paul Voosen, E&E/Greenwire, February 8, 2012
In the Earth's frozen extremes, it appears, the future is now.
Global Ice Loss from 2003-2010 Could “Cover the Entire United States in One and Half Feet of Water”

Australia has record two-year rainfall
SMH, February 7, 2012
It's official - Australia has had its wettest two-year period on record. It will come as no surprise to most that the seemingly endless rain from spring 2010 to autumn last year, and again late last year, resulted in record falls.

Meteorologist Masters: “The Climate Has Shifted to a New State Capable of Delivering Rare & Unprecedented Weather Events”
Climate Progress, 7 February 2012
An Interview with Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters

Amazon comes under fire
ERW, 7 February 2012
The Amazon rainforest stores around 100 billion tonnes of carbon in its biomass, the equivalent of more than 10 years' worth of emissions from fossil fuels. But the region has undergone major changes recently, experiencing deforestation and climate variability.

2C warming goal now 'optimistic' - French scientists
AFP, 9 February 2012
French scientists unveiling new estimates for global warming said on Thursday the 2 C (3.6 F) goal enshrined by the United Nations was "the most optimistic" scenario left for greenhouse-gas emissions.

Global Sea Level Rise: Pothole To Speed Bump?
Rob Painting, Skeptical Science, February 2012
As indicated in a press release from the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab last year, short-term trends in global sea level rise are greatly affected by temporary exchanges of water mass between the land surface and ocean - creating 'potholes' and 'speed bumps' in the sea level record. This a consequence of changes in precipitation (rainfall & snow) resulting from the El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

Teetering on an Arctic tipping point
Carlos Duarte, The Conversation, 7 Feb 2012
We are seeing the first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic. This is our warning that humanity is facing a dire future.

Tree rings show extreme weather on the rise
Darren Osborne, ABC Science, 6 February 2012
If history is anything to go by, periods of droughts and flooding rains could become more common in south-eastern Australia and New Zealand, according to a new study

City of Yarra to act on threat of heatwave deaths
John Masanauskas, The Herald Sun, 6 February 2012
An inner-city council is being urged to start preparing for "catastrophic climate change" because governments are not doing enough to respond.