26 March 2012

Climate News

Week ending 25 March 2012  


After Fixing Errors, UK Met Office Says 2010, 2005 Hottest Years on Record, World Warming Faster Than Thought
Joe Romm, Climate Progress,  March 19, 2012
The UK Met Office said two years ago it had underestimated recent warming. The key reason is their temperature dataset undersampled the Arctic — the place on earth warming up the fastest.

Mankind kept 2011 global temperatures near record-WMO
Reuters, 23 March 2012
Human activity kept global temperatures close to a record high in 2011 despite the cooling influence of a powerful La Nina weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organization said.

Temperatures could rise by 3C by 2050, models suggest
BBC News, 25 March 2012
Global temperatures could rise by 1.4-3.0C (2.5-5.4F) above levels for late last century by 2050, a computer simulation has suggested.

Plastics put solar on the verge of an energy revolution
Doug Struck, The Daily Climate, March 24, 2012
In what was once a Polaroid factory 50 miles south of Boston, a high-tech company is printing sheets of solar cells made of plastic, trying to create tomorrow's energy source amid the tumult of today's energy marke

Bjorn Lomborg and The Australian wrong again
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 23 March 2013
Yesterday, The Australian newspaper published an opinion piece from Bjorn Lomborg, author of the book the Skeptical Environmentalist, headlined ‘Ballooning cost is blowing in the wind’. It contained the usual poorly researched claims.

On Arctic Sea ice melt and coal mine canaries
Andrew Glikson, The Conversation, 21 March 2012
Despite peak global temperatures in 2005 and 2010 (unprecedented in the instrumental record), a recent sharp plunge in volume of the Arctic Sea ice and a spate of extreme weather events, coal mining, coal exports and carbon emissions continue to grow, overwhelming any mitigation attempted by schemes such as the Australian carbon price.


Job creator or job destroyer - an analysis of the mining boom in Queensland
Matt Grudnoff, Australia Institute, March 20, 2012
On the back of record high commodity prices the mining industry in Australia is experiencing an unprecedented period of expansion. The value of our mineral exports has increased to the point where they now make up more than half of the value of all our exports. This increase combined with the huge inflow of capital to fund the mining expansion has been a significant factor in Australia’s rising exchange rate.

Official: Australia the best place for miners in the world (again)
Bernard Keane, Crikey, 21 March 2012:
So which country is the best in the world to be a miner? Not Australia, if you’d listened to mining companies or the opposition over the past two years. "Now it is safer to invest in Argentina, in Tanzania, in Zambia, in Ghana and in Botswana than it is to invest in Australia," Tony Abbott said in 2010.

UNESCO hears Barrier Reef gets the thin edge of the dredge
John Mikkelsen, Crikey, 19 March 2012
When UNESCO delegates flew out of Australia last week the passionate plea of a Gladstone regional councillor would have been ringing in their ears. Clyde Cameron, a fourth-generation local, had asked the delegates to help protect the harbour and reefs he describes as "part of his soul".

Baillieu set to boost brown coal
Tom Arup, The Age, 20 March 2012
The Baillieu government is preparing a campaign to promote development of Victoria's brown coal reserves, as it confirms plans to open up new coal allocations for industry.
Vic govt to unlock brown coal reserves
Julian Drape and Sarah Malik, The Age, March 20, 2012
The Victorian government is seeking expressions of interest in new allocations of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley.
The dirt on brown coal's grubby history
Josh Gordon, The Age, March 22, 2012
There is good reason to doubt Baillieu's 'energy hub' plans for Victoria.
Bandt accuses Baillieu of coal vandalism
The Age, 20 March 2012
Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt has labelled Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu an ''environmental vandal'' for looking to expand brown coal mining in the Latrobe Valley.


Winds of change blow through China as spending on renewable energy soars
Jonathan Watts, Guardian, 19 March 2012
World's biggest polluter spends £4bn a year on wind and solar power generation in single region as it aims to cut fossil fuel use

China to Restrict Coal Demand, Output to 3.9 Billion Tons
Bloomberg, March 22, 2012
China, the world’s biggest user and producer of coal, will limit domestic output and consumption of the commodity in the five years through 2015 to reduce pollution and curb reliance on the fuel.

South Australia’s big win with wind
Matthew Wright, REnew Economy, 21 March 2012
Wind Power in South Australia has been a howling success; it now provides more electricity in the state than coal and in just a decade the wind industry has developed into one of the world’s leaders – and all to the benefit of South Australians.

Solar’s hidden boom: 15GW of PV by 2022?
Giles Parkinson, Climate Spectator, 20 March 2012
It’s hard to have a conversation about energy for more than about 30 seconds without tripping over some sort of acronym. The one for what could be the most important document for the year is DEWP. It stands for the Draft Energy White Paper that was released last December, a prelude to the country’s energy blueprint for the next quarter century.

Shock of the new energy business models
Giles Parkinson, REnew Economy, 23 March 2012
David Crane is one of the most interesting and refreshing voices in the international energy industry. He is the CEO of NRG, one of the largest energy producers in the US with some 24GW of generation, and, until recently, one of the most polluting.

Germany’s $263 Billion Renewables Shift Biggest Since War
Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg News, March 19, 2012
Not since the allies leveled Germany in World War II has Europe’s biggest economy undertaken a reconstruction of its energy market on this scale.

Gas: not a transition fuel, more a fossil fuel prison cell
Matthew Wright, Climate Spectator, 20 March 2012
I'd much rather see a fleet of dirty old coal plants spewing out CO2 emissions than one newly built combined cycle gas plant.

Study: 'Fracking' may increase air pollution health risks
Neela Banerjee, LA Times, March 20, 2012
Air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas drilling method, may contribute to “acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites,” according to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health.

Far Higher Potential for Wind Energy in India Than Previously Estimated
ScienceDaily, Mar. 21, 2012
A new assessment of wind energy in India by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that the potential for on-shore wind energy deployment is far higher than the official estimates -- about 20 times and up to 30 times greater than the current government estimate


'Global warming' gets a rebranding
Erica Martinson and Jonathan Allen, Politico, 21 March 2012
Shhhh! Don’t talk about global warming!There’s been a change in climate for Washington’s greenhouse gang, and they’ve come to this conclusion: To win, they have to talk about other topics, like gas prices and kids choking on pollutants.
Politico Runs Story On Global Warming ‘Rebranding’ 3 Years Late — Then Gets Story Backwards

Building a new nation: a better way to tell the story of climate change
Christine Downie, The Conversation, 19 March 2012
One of the arts of politics is storytelling, establishing a narrative that people can engage with. It is why politicians often talk about great teachers when explaining education reform, cancer patients when supporting healthcare funding, or the hardships of carers when advocating a disability insurance scheme.

How climate change gets lost in translation
Fiona Armstrong, Cliamte Spectator, 21 March 2012
The latest salvo in the war of words about climate change from the blogger in the bowels of News Ltd suggests the recent floods are further evidence that climate change isn’t happening, won’t affect Australians, and that scientists are getting it all wrong.


The earth that we knew is gone
Bob Carr, 22 March 2012
In his maiden Senate speech, new Foreign Minister Bob Carr focuses on climate change: 'The planet on which our civilisation evolved no longer exists.'

Human cost of inaction incalculable
Ross Gittins, SMH, March 21, 2012
Do you ever wonder how the environment - the global ecosystem - will cope with the continuing growth in the world population plus the rapid economic development of China, India and various other ''emerging economies''? I do. And it's not a comforting thought.

Mayor draws line over sea rise attacks
Damon Cronshaw, Newcastle Herald, 19 March 2012
Macquarie City Council has endured a ''constant attack'' from critics of its sea level risepolicy, mayor and MP Greg Piper says.

New Post Carbon Pathways Overview Report
Our new report analysing 18 of the world’s most ambitious and interesting post carbon economy transition strategies has just been published by the Centre for Policy Development and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute.

Australia fails carbon test
The Age, 18 March 2013
Australia's economy among the least ready to deal with a low carbon emissions world, study finds.

Clive Palmer says Greens in CIA plot
ABC News, 20 March 2012
Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has launched an extraordinary attack on the Australian Greens accusing them of colluding with the CIA.


Global Warming May Have Fueled March Heat Wave Odds
Andrew Freedman, Climate central, 23 March 2012
According to several top scientists, the March heat wave that has shattered records across a wide swath of the US bears some of the hallmarks of global warming.

Global Sea Level Likely to Rise as Much as 70 Feet for Future Generations
ScienceDaily, Mar. 19, 2012
Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends, future generations will have to deal with sea levels 12 to 22 meters (40 to 70 feet) higher than at present, according to research published in the journal Geology.

Perfect storm erupts over new climate data
The Age, 21 March 2012
The update of a 160-year-old global temperature record by British scientists, plugging in additional data collected primarily across the Arctic, has resulted in 2010 now being ranked as the warmest year on record, followed by 2005, and bumping the previously top-ranked El Nino super-heated 1998 to third place.

Breaking News...The Earth is Warming... Still. A LOT
Glenn Tamblyn, Skeptical Science, 16 March 2012
In a previous post we discussed how the argument that the Earth has stopped warming doesn't make much sense because the people claiming this don't know how to draw their 'system boundaries' correctly - how can you work out whether the Earth is warming if you don't take account of all the places where it may be warming? And most commentary seems to only focus on surface temperatures.

UK Met Office Says 2010, 2005 Hottest Years on Record, World Warming Faster Than Thought
19 March 2012
Between 1998 and 2010, temperatures rose by 0.11C, 0.04C more than previously estimated. Before it was thought the hottest years were 1998 followed by 2010, 2005, 2003 and 2002. The updated series puts 2010 as the hottest year on record followed by 2005, 1998, 2003 and 2006.

Warming-Fueled Texas Drought Cost Farmers $7.6 Billion: ‘No One Alive Has Seen Single-Year Drought Damage To This Extent’
Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress, Mar 23, 2012m
Texas Agronomists have revised estimates for the cost of Texas’ devastating drought, finding that it cost the agricultural sector $2 billion more than originally thought.

Hunters, not climate change, killed giant beasts 40,000 years ago
Justin Norrie, The Conversation, 23 March 2013
The first Australians hunted giant kangaroos, rhinoceros-sized marsupials, huge goannas and other megafauna to extinction shortly after arriving in the country more than 40,000 years ago, new research claims.

Climate Change in the Pacific: Scientific Assessment and New Research