04 June 2012

Climate News

Week ending 3 June 2012
Courtesy Climate Spectator

The biggest climate victory you never heard of
Mark Hertsgaard, Aljazeera, 27 May 2012
Coal is going down in the United States, and that's good news for the Earth's climate. The US Energy Information Administration has announced that coal, the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive conventional fossil fuel, generated only 36 per cent of US electricity in the first quarter of 2012.

Germany sets solar power record, institute says
Reuters, May 28, 2012
German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.
In-Depth: Germany’s 22 GW Solar Energy Record
Germany's renewable energy revolution leaves UK in the shade
Damian Carrington, Guardian, 30 May 2012
The country expects renewables to contribute 35% electricity by 2020 – no matter what the cost

Bubbling river blamed on gas
David Wroe, The Age, 30 May 2012
Video has emerged of a major gas leak on the Condamine River in Queensland that conservationists say could be dangerous methane leakage from a nearby coal seam gas project.
CSG expert challenges company's gas claim
ABC News,  May 31, 2012
An environmental engineer has questioned Origin Energy's assertion that gas bubbling in a Queensland river is a naturally occurring phenomenon.

A documentary from the front lines of Australia's battle against coal and gas expansion. At this critical time, when so much coal and coal seam gas expansion is planned in Australia, this film aims to win the hearts and minds of the people, exposing the destructiveness of this industry to our climate, communities and environment

Using shale gas over coal does not help climate, says big gas investor
Fiona Harvey, Guardian, 29 May 2012
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership says fracking companies not bothering to capture 'fugitive methane'

Once again, with feeling: More science will not cure climate skepticism
David Roberts, Grist, 29 May 2012
Why is skepticism about climate change so persistent?

Conservatives Attack Scientific Findings About Why They Hate Science (Helping to Confirm the Science)
Chris Mooney, Alternet, 29 May 2012
Some would like to dismiss the inconvenient findings about the political right, but the science won’t let them.


How to stop sea-level rise? Follow North Carolina's lead and make science-based projections of future rises illegal


Sierra Club: No new gas plants
Dennis Webb, GJ Daily Sentinel, May 30, 2012
A powerhouse environmental group that has ended its national support of natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to a renewable-energy future also is preparing to launch a campaign focusing on concerns surrounding oil and gas development in Colorado.

UNESCO report scathing of Great Barrier Reef management
Brisbane Times, June 2, 2012
Environment groups have called for an immediate halt to development around the Great Barrier Reef after a United Nations report expressed ‘‘extreme concern’’ about its future.

Queensland Health rebukes The Australian on wind farms
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 29 May 2012
On The Australian's front page today was a report that Queensland Health is rallying against wind farms due to health concerns. It is not – and that is far from the only problem with the article.

18GW of solar by 2022? That depends on who’s connected
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy,  31 May 2012
It seems that the greatest barrier to the rapid deployment of solar in Australia will not be about cost or a lack of demand – it will be the ability to get connected.

Government approves $6.4b coal mine in Galilee Basin
Melinda Howells and Chrissy Arthur, ABC News, May 29, 2012 1
The Queensland Government has granted conditional approval to build one of Australia's largest coal mines in the Galilee Basin in the state's central-west.
Queensland's coordinator-general has granted conditional approval for the $6.4 billion Alpha coal project, owned by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal.

Solar PV's new dawn rising
Daniel Palmer, Climate Spectator, 29 May 2012
The solar investment landscape in the US is changing rapidly and bringing with it the potential for a new wave of growth in spite of the loss of government cash grants and loan guarantees.

Solar cheaper than fossil fuels?
Sophie Vorrath, ReNewEconomy,  29 May 2012
It’s not an altogether uncommon prediction these days. Just last week we heard from market intelligence company Global Data, whose latest report has found that the cost of generating clean energy like solar power is coming increasingly closer to the cost of generating energy from traditional, non-renewable sources.
Rooftop solar PV to be energy game-changer in Australia

Are the lights still on in South Australia?
Daniel Palmer, Climate Spectator, 30 May 2012
Yesterday, I called a friend of mine in Adelaide. Beyond the usual niceties to start the call my first question was: ‘is the power out?’

Campaigners' anger over agency's shale gas report
Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 29 May 2012
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has infuriated environmentalists with a report on what it calls the "golden age" of gas.

Breakthrough improves solar panel technology 30 per cent: researchers
Climate Spectator, 30 May 2012
RMIT University has led an international consortium of universities and the CSIRO in a research breakthrough that they claim improves a solar panel technology’s efficiency by at least 30 per cent.

International Energy Agency Finds ‘Safe’ Gas Fracking Would Destroy A Livable Climate
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, May 30, 2012
The International Energy Agency has a new report out, Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas. Unfortunately, the IEA buried the lede — the Golden Age of Gas scenario destroys a livable climate — so the coverage of the report was off target.

Geoengineering for Global Warming: Increasing Aerosols in Atmosphere Would Make Sky Whiter
ScienceDaily, May 31, 2012
One idea for fighting global warming is to increase the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere, scattering incoming solar energy away from Earth's surface. But scientists theorize that this solar geoengineering could have a side effect of whitening the sky during the day.


Researchers see a silent majority supporting climate change action as a 'social issue'
Evan Lehmann, E&E, May 30, 2012
America's "silent jury" on climate change is seen by some researchers as an important majority that could swing society into action to confront rising temperatures.

Cooking up 'errors' in Media Watch's reporting
Jonathan Holmes, ABC, May 31, 2012
It's rare for a mere television host, as opposed to the prime minister or the leader of the opposition, to be the subject, in the space of three weeks, of no fewer than three vituperative editorials, not to mention half a dozen 'news' stories, in our national broadsheet.

‘Green Economy’: New Disguise for Global Capitalism's Old Tricks?
Giuliano Battiston, Inter Press Service, May 29, 2012
Experts warn that 'Green Economy' meme may be hijacked by industry for profit

Britain's climate change policy is going up in smoke
George Monbiot, Guardian, 28 May 2012
Energy policy in the United Kingdom looks like a jam factory hit by a meteorite: a multicoloured pool of gloop studded with broken glass.

Carbon 'too confusing' for compensation ads
David Wroe, The Age, May 24, 2012
The Gillard government left the word ''carbon'' out of its advertising campaign on the carbon tax compensation out of fear audiences would find it ''confusing'', a Senate estimates inquiry has heard.


Arctic air this northern spring passes milestone mark of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide
NOAA, 31 May 2012
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Barrow, Alaska, reached 400 parts per million (ppm) this spring, according to NOAA measurements, the first time a monthly average measurement for the greenhouse gas attained the 400 ppm mark in a remote location.

Fresh hockey sticks from the Southern Hemisphere
Real Climate, 22 May 2012
In the Northern Hemisphere, the late 20th / early 21st century has been the hottest time period in the last 400 years at very high confidence, and likely in the last 1000 – 2000 years (or more). It has been unclear whether this is also true in the Southern Hemisphere.

Projected warming increases as emissions rise, politics fails
Climate Code Red, 29 May 2012
This chart needs no explanation. The Climate Scoreboard is an online tool that allows the public to track progress in the ongoing negotiations to produce an international climate treaty.

Australian concern that climate models may need adjustment
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/australian-concern-that-climate-models-may-need-adjustment/953392RA, 31 May 2012
There are growing concerns by some scientists that climate models may be seriously under-estimating the current and perhaps the future rates of climate change.

In Northern Africa, Climate Change Could Make A Current Refugee Crisis Even Worse
Alice Thomas, Climate Progess, 31 May 2012
Food insecurity and malnutrition are chronic in Niger. But things this year are worse.

Leading Climbing Outfit Cancels 2012 Everest Trip, Blaming Ice Dangers Due To Warmth
Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress, 30 May 2012
Mount Everest has become a microcosm for the rest of the planet. Once an isolated place for adventurers, the mountain is now extremely crowded, polluted, and facing dramatic changes as global temperatures rise.

Flood risk warning for new Lake suburb
Damon Cronshaw, The Herald, 30 May 2012
The proposed new suburb of Lake Macquarie could reflect its name in about 100 years, if predictions of sea level rises come true.

Emissions data, a worrying trend
Michael D Lemonick, Climate Central, 28 May 2012
Thanks to developing countries like China, greenhouse-gas emissions across the globe hit record highs in 2011, according to the International Energy Agency.