20 May 2012

Climate News

Week ending 20 May 2012

Clean energy as culture war
David Roberts, Grist, 14 May 2012
Not that long ago, some folks were arguing that clean energy — unlike climate change, which had been irredeemably stained by partisanship (eww!) — would bring people together across ideological lines. Persuaded by the irrefutable wisdom of wonks, we would join hands across the aisle to promote common-sense solutions. It wouldn’t be partisan, it would be … post-partisan.

Australians world’s seventh biggest polluters: global report
WWF, 15 May 2012
Australia’s carbon emissions are the top contributor to its new ranking as the world’s seventh biggest user and polluter of natural resources, according to a biennial report which measures the impact of human demands on nature.

Solar PV – it’s cheaper than you think
Giles Parkinson, REnewEconomy, 17 May 2012
Perhaps it’s time we should all stop kidding ourselves. So much of the political and economic debate around clean energy is framed through the idea that solar, in particular, is just too expensive, and will be for decades. But for the consumers who increasingly exercise the power of choice over the electricity they consume, this is just plain wrong.

Expert warns of global food shortages and higher prices
Deborah Smith, SMH, May 14, 2012
As much food is wasted in developed countries as is produced in sub-Saharan Africa. This ''eye-popping'' statistic highlights one of the big changes urgently required to meet the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, a visiting expert in agriculture and economics has said.

Coal-seam gas advisers' links to mining industry exposed
Natasha Bita, The Australian, May 14, 2012
Most of the scientists advising the federal government on coal-seam gas pollution have financial links with the mining industry.

The price is right?
Adam Morton, The Age, May 17, 2012
Is Australia's carbon price too high compared with other major countries, or will it be all right in the end?


Last 50 years were Australia's hottest: study
Matthew Carney, ABC AM, May 17, 2012
For the first time scientists have provided the most complete climate record of the last millennium and they found that the last 50 years in Australia have been the warmest.
Climate research has a ring of truth
Adam Morton, The Age, May 19, 2012  
Visiting the giant kauri trees of Northland, on New Zealand's north-west coast, is like stepping back in time. Ancient conifer pines that over centuries have escaped damage from fire and forestry, the surviving kauris are up to 50 metres tall and five metres across - as wide as a 12-seater mini-bus is long.

Extreme heat, floods likely as weather evolves
Deborah Smith, SMH, May 14, 2012
Extreme weather events in 2009 and March this year provided the people of NSW with an indication of what the state is increasingly likely to face as the climate changes, a report by the federal government's Climate Commission says.
NSW is getting hotter
SMH, May 14, 2012
The temperature in NSW has become hotter and coastal infrastructure is vulnerable to rising sea levels, the Climate Commission's latest report says.

Ocean temperature made Queensland floods worse: study
Nicky Phillips, Brisbane Times, May 16, 2012
Abnormally high ocean temperatures off the coast of northern Australia contributed to the extreme rainfall that flooded three-quarters of Queensland over the summer of 2010-11, scientists report.


Dead and buried
Greenpeace, 16 May, 2012
Whatever happened to the almighty saviour of climate change - carbon capture and storage (CCS)?

'Gas drilling will destroy garden of England'
Richard Creasy, Express, May 13,2012
Residents fear that drilling for gas in one of the most picturesque corners of Britain will lead to water contamination and even an earthquake.

Getting the wind up: exploring concern about the adverse health effects of wind turbines in Australia
Mount Alexander Sustainability Group
This report looks at the difference in the level of concern about adverse health effects from wind turbines in Australia, Denmark and Germany.

Australia's renewable electricity bill has peaked
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 16 May 2012
The bad news: What many people may not realise is that we’re already paying in today’s electricity bills for more than 20 per cent renewable energy, even though we’re not actually getting 20 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources.

The age of extreme oil: ‘This used to be a forest?'
Arno Kopecky, Globe and Mail, May 19, 2012
One grey Thursday at the end of April, a plane touched down in Fort McMurray, Alta., carrying four Achuar Indians from the Peruvian Amazon. They had flown 8,000 kilometres from the rain forest to beseech Talisman Energy Inc., the Calgary-based oil and gas conglomerate, to stop drilling in their territory

King coal dethroned
Peter Newman and Ray Wills, The Conversation, 14 May 2012
“King coal still reigns” was the headline emblazoned across a full page article in The Weekend Australian on the 28-29 April 2012, by Environment Editor Graham Lloyd. The article’s subtitle was, “The world is in the grip of a fossil fuel boom that shows no sign of fading.”

Minister widens petroleum exploration zone
ABC News, May 15, 2012
Mr Ferguson said Australia was on track to quadruple its liquefied natural gas production by 2017, potentially making it the world's largest producer.


'C' word scrubbed right out of latest carbon tax ads
The Age, 14 May 2012
Advertising about 'household assistance package' makes no mention of the word 'carbon'.

Thousands rally against coal-seam gas in Lismore
ABC News, 14 May 2012
The Lismore Mayor, Jenny Dowell, says she was overwhelmed by the thousands of people who turned up to march against the coal seam gas industry on the weekend.

Europe struggles for climate lead
Richard Black, BBC News, 13 May 2012
UN climate talks have opened in Germany, with the EU struggling to keep its position of a global leader.

The void at the heart of Anthony Giddens climate politics
David Spratt, CCR, 16 May 2012
Anthony Giddens, the architect of New Labour’s "Third Way" in the UK, turns his attention to “The Politics of Climate Change”, now in a new, post-Copenhagen edition of the book first published in 2009.

Budgeting for the climate change challenge
Christine Milne, Climate Spectator, 14 May 2012
Is the budget just a spreadsheet of numbers, dollar figures, where some allocations go up and down? Have we come to the view that the federal budget is only an event where we gather to find out who are the winners and who are the losers, who will receive the cheques in the mail?

Heartland’s Board Backs Campaign To Smear Climate Science Believers, Even As Eleven Companies Drop Support
Joe Romm, Climate Progress,  May 14, 2012
ClimateWire published a truly amazing story about Heartland-Gate Friday, “For Heartland board, failed climate attack was a surprise.”
Pfizer: We Get ‘Significant Benefits From Our Involvement’ With The Heartland Institute

Highway to dystopia: time to wise up to the looming risks
John Crawford, The Conversation, 16 May 2012
In that world of peripheral vision, essential for business, social and political leaders, it is surprising that the World Economic Forum’s report, Global Risks 2012 has not received greater publicity or provoked greater public interest.


Disaster losses set to outpace economic growth - study
Megan Rowling, AlertNet, 14 May 2012
Disaster losses in many low- and middle-income countries are likely to rise faster than economic growth unless governments change their economic policy to take account of increasing disaster risk, warns a new guide from climate experts.

Sea level rise threatens mid north coast homes
ABC News, May 15, 2012
Thousands of mid north coast homes, worth billions of dollars will be threatened by future sea level rises and storm surges. That is the finding of the new Climate Commission report.

The Truth Is In The Flood Maps
By Ellen Fanning, the Global Mail, May 17, 2012
Here — in leaked maps of the sort insurance companies are scrambling to produce nationwide — you can see what they see: just how vulnerable each house in Australia might be in the next flood.

James Hansen Is Correct About Catastrophic Projections For U.S. Drought If We Don’t Act Now
Joe Romm, Climate Progress,  May 13, 2012
The response by NOAA’s Martin Hoerling to James Hansen’s recent op-ed does not reflect the scientific literature.

Defending Israel’s borders from ‘climate refugees'
Sharon Udasin, Jeruslame Post, 14 May 2012
Experts recommend complete enclosure of Israel to prevent migration, in report on adaptation to climate change.
Can the Dead Sea be brought back to life?

The Wettest Drought On Record: Torrential Rain Can’t Bring Much Of England Out Of ‘Exceptional’ Dry Conditions
Stephen Lacey, Cimate Progress, May 16, 2012
Even with the wettest April on record, some areas of England are still facing “exceptional” drought conditions. After two years of dry winters — including the fifth-driest March — the ground hasn’t been able to soak up the heavy rainfall that hit in April.

Arctic Death Spiral: More Bad News about Sea Ice
Michael D. Lemonick, Climate Central, 16 May 2012
The sea ice that blankets the Arctic Ocean each winter peaked in early March this year, as usual, and is now in retreat, en route to its annual minimum extent in September. How low it will go is something scientists worry: ice reflects lots of sunlight back into space, and when the darker ocean underneath is exposed, more sunlight is absorbed to add to global warming.
Shrinking Arctic ice that reflects less sunlight revs up climate change

Report: Floods are growing trend
William Petroski, DesMoinesRegister, 16 May 2012
The groups that released the study say it shows climate change is behind extreme Midwest weather.