26 February 2012

Climate News

Week ending 26 February 2012


Civilisation faces 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'
John Vidal, Guardian, 20 February 2012
Abuse of the environment has created an 'absolutely unprecedented' emergency, say Blue Planet prizewinners

Crossing the Line as Civilization Implodes: Heartland Institute, Peter Gleick and Andrew Revkin
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Feb 21, 2012
Elizabeth Kolbert: It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.

Carbon tax fails to slow coal boom
Peter Ker and Adam Morton, SMH, February 20, 2012
The impending carbon price has done nothing to deter investment in the coal industry, with spending on exploration surging faster than any other mineral commodity.
The end of baseload? It may come sooner than you think
Giles Parkinson, REnewEconomy, 20 February 2012
One of the principal architects of Germany’s push into renewable energy technologies, Hans-Josef Fell, believes that the country could achieve 100 per cent renewables in its electricity sector by 2030 – and may do  it quicker. The rest of the world could follow soon after.

United we stand, divided we fall
Maxine McKew, The Age, 26 February 2012
The then-deputy PM's climate backflip destroyed the Rudd government, writes Maxine McKew.
Hint given of tax review to ease burden on business
David Wroe, SMH, February 25, 2012
In a major pitch to businesses worried about the high starting price of $23 a tonne under the carbon tax, Kevin Rudd indicated yesterday he would review the tax after six months and make changes that would likely reduce the cost to industry.

The great gas debate
Alan Pears, Climate Spectator, 24 February 2012
Reduction in coal use could occur independent of gas use, driven by strong energy efficiency improvement, rapid adoption of renewables or even economic collapse. Indeed, the only way to achieve significant reduction in net warming by 2050 from cutting coal use seems to be through replacing it with zero emission options, because of the loss of the air pollution cooling effect.

Droughts and flooding rains: climate change models predict increases in both
Barrie Pittock, The Conversation, 24 February 2012
Recent wet weather and flooding across eastern Australia has caused many to ask, wasn’t climate change supposed to cause more droughts, not floods? Critics of climate change science have suggested that the recent observed flooding shows the science, and especially the climate modelling, must be wrong. This is a misreading of what climate change scientists have repeatedly stated.


Bright Days: How India Is Reinventing Solar
Niharika Mandhana, Time blogs, February 13, 2012
In 2009, when policymakers in New Delhi set a goal to produce 20,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2020, few gave India more than a slim chance.

Tongan Government Moves Forward on Goal for 50% Renewable Energy by 2015
Zachary Rybarczyk, Climate Progress, Feb 19, 2012
Urgent economic need is driving a transformation of Tonga’s energy system

Majority in Qld opposed to coal seam gas
The Age, 20 February 2012
More than 65 per cent of Queenslanders either oppose or are undecided about coal seam gas, according to the latest Newspoll.
Behind the Seams: why coal seam gas is central to Qld election
Dr Mark Bahnisch, FAQ Research/Crikey, 20 February 2012
In formally initiating the Queensland election campaign by asking Governor Penelope Wensley to dissolve parliament yesterday, Premier Anna Bligh remarked that Queensland campaigns are usually characterised by wild cards. They're also a wild ride.
Report details CSG environmental failings

US judge upholds fracking ban
ABC News, 22 February 2012
In a blow to the US oil and gas industry, a judge has ruled small towns in New York have the authority to ban drilling, including the controversial method known as fracking, within their borders.

Brace for an electric shock
Matthew Wright, Climate Spectator, 24 February 2012
Germany's 37 million households will soon be paying half as much on their annual electricity bills as Australian households. An average German household pays just $1060, or about $88 a month, for electricity to run their computers, lights and other household appliances, while an Australian household in 2013 will be paying a whopping  $2117, or $176 a month, according to the Australian Energy Market  Commission (AEMC).

China Energy Consumption Rises at Fastest Pace in Four Years
Bloomberg News, Feb 22, 2012
China’s energy use rose at the fastest pace in four years in 2011 and efficiency improved, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Chinese Tier-2 Modules Offered Below $1/W

Rethinking Carbon Dioxide: From a Pollutant to an Asset
Marc Gunther, Yale360, 23 February 2012
Three startup companies led by prominent scientists are working on new technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The scientific community is skeptical, but these entrepreneurs believe the process of CO2 removal can eventually be profitable and help cool an overheating planet.
Thinking the Unthinkable: Engineering Earth's Climate
Yale360, 11 October 2011
A U.S. panel has called for a concerted effort to study proposals to manipulate the climate to slow global warming - a heretical notion among some environmentalists. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Jane C. S. Long, the group's chairwoman, explains why we need to know more about the possibilities and perils of geoengineering.


The rise and rise of mining company donations
Bernard Keane, Crikey, 21 February 2012
Labor's mining tax and the resources boom may have permanently and significantly changed the balance of political donations, with millions of dollars flowing from mining companies to the Coalition, Australian Electoral Commission data shows.
Attacks paid for by big business are 'driving science into a dark era'
Robin McKie, The Observer, 19 February 2012
Researchers attending one of the world's major academic conferences 'are scared to death of the anti-science lobby'

Call to drop climate focus for recycling
Tom Arup, The Age, 23 February 2012
One of Victoria's leading environmental agencies is set for a radical shake-up by the Baillieu government, dropping some of its renewable energy and climate programs and focusing on recycling and power efficiency.

The shadowy world of IPA finances
Clive Hamilton, ABC Unleashed, 23 February 2012
Last week's revelations about the Heartland Institute, probably the most important climate science denying organisation in the United States, raise some questions about the murky influence of think tanks on the climate debate in this country.

Ethical Analysis of Disinformation Campaign’s Tactics: Reckless Disregard for the Truth, Specious Claims of ‘Bad’ Science
Donald A. Brown, Climate Ethics, 21 January 2012

Greens escalate fight against proposed coal loader
ABC News, February 20, 2012
The Greens are escalating their fight against the so-called "T4" coal loader proposed for Newcastle, now that plans have been scuttled for Nathan Tinkler's terminal.

Alliance between natural gas industry, environmental groups fractures
Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, Wsahington Post, February 20, 2012
Just four years ago, shale gas king Aubrey K. McClendon told shareholders of Chesapeake Energy that “finally, we made some new friends this year.”

Sea level battle at Lake Macquarie


Climate change increased likelihood of Russian 2010 heatwave – study
Alok Jha, Guardian, 21 February  2012
Although the heatwave was made three times more likely, the size of the event was within natural limits, say scientists

Heatwave warning: 'Harden up' attitude not helping
Katherine Feeney, The Age, February 21, 2012
An extreme heat event in 2050 could kill more than 1000 Brisbane people in a few days unless emergency response strategies are significantly improved, according to a new report on heatwaves.
Prepare now for dusty road ahead

Carbon dioxide breaking down marine ecosystems
Janet Raloff, ScienceNews, February 19th, 2012
Scientists capitalize on 'natural' experiment to chronicle how ecosystems will change as oceans continue to acidify

Marine species at risk as oceans acidify
ABC News, February 20, 2012
British scientists say the current level of carbon dioxide emissions will wipe out about 30 per
cent of the world's marine species by the end of the century.

Can cutting short-term pollutants help close the emissions gap?
Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress, 20 February 2012
A new plan to tackle short-lived pollutants may help bridge the gap between current emission reduction pledges and what is actually needed by 2020 to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° Celsius.

Lowering clouds may combat global warming
SMH, February 22, 2012
Clouds around the world may be falling in response to rising global temperatures and having a cooling effect on global warming, according to analysis of satellite data by Auckland University scientists.

NASA Mission Takes Stock of Earth's Melting Land Ice
NASA, 7 February 2012
In the first comprehensive satellite study of its kind, a University of Colorado at Boulder-led team used NASA data to calculate how much Earth's melting land ice is adding to global sea level rise.