29 January 2012

Insights from addictions recovery applied to climate change

Chris Johnstone

For many years I worked as an addictions specialist in the UK health service, part of my role being to run groups exploring how to prevent relapses. One day the topic was ‘dealing with crisis’. John, a middle aged man, started the group by saying “I’m not sure I need to be here, as I don’t really have any crisis in my life”. Just a few weeks previously, John had been told he might only have a few months left to live if he carried on drinking. The life-threatening emergency of his alcoholic liver disease didn’t seem to have sunk in.

Climate in the media to 29 January 2012

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

Shale Gas a Bridge to More Global Warming
Stephen Leahy, IPS, 24 January 2012
Hundreds of thousands of shale gas wells are being "fracked" in the United States and Canada, allowing large amounts of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, to escape into the atmosphere, new studies have shown.
Abbott backs coal seam gas over coal mining
George Roberts, ABC PM, January 25, 2012
The Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has cautiously backed the controversial coal seam gas or CSG industry.

24 January 2012

As emissions rise, we may be heading for an ice-free planet

An ice-free world isn’t impossible – even though it seems the stuff of science fiction. —  Alistair Knock
by Andrew Glikson

Last December’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union featured three of the world’s leading climate scientists: James Hansen (NASA’s chief climate scientist), Elco Rohling (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton) and Ken Caldeira (Stanford School of Earth Science). But it was Hansen who attracted the most attention when he stated:
If you doubled CO₂, which practically all governments assume we’re going to do, that would eventually get us to the ice-free state (and) We would be sending our climate back to a state we haven’t adjusted to as a species.

22 January 2012

Climate in the media to 22 January 2012

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McKibben's efforts pay off as Obama kills pipeline
Nicole Gaudiano, BFP, 18 January 2012
Vermont climate activist Bill McKibben isn’t used to environmentalists scoring a win over the oil industry. But that’s what happened Wednesday when President Barack Obama rejected a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline — a project McKibben has been fighting since August.

19 January 2012

Implications of the Arctic permafrost thaw

by Ian Dunlop, cross-post from Club of Rome News

 Of the many “Elephants in the Room” in the climate change debate, none are larger than the potential release to atmosphere of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane contained in the Arctic permafrost. Preliminary findings from the latest research, discussed at the American Geophysical Union’s annual conference in San Francisco in December 2011, highlighted the extreme risks that humanity is now exposed to from global warming. 
     The Arctic has been warming 2-3 times faster than the global average, one consequence being that the volume of Arctic sea ice has reduced dramatically, by around 80% in summer since 1979, far faster than expected.  If current trends continue, the Arctic may be sea-ice-free in summer by around 2015, and all year by around 2030.  This would likely lead to further positive warming feedback as the ice albedo effect diminishes, accelerating melt of the Greenland ice sheet, ultimately contributing several metres of sea level rise.

17 January 2012

Why emissions need to drop off a cliff

How quickly do global greenhouse gas emissions need to drop to get back to a safe climate?  It’s a pertinent question when the Australian government is making great claims for its 2011 carbon legislation, but its aim is to reduce emissions by only five per cent by 2020. And even that is an illusion, because a significant share will come from buying offsets in the international market.
     And when proposed new and expanded coal mines in Australia are tallied up, they will add about 1.75 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – about eleven times what the Australian government estimates will be saved by the carbon tax legislation. By 2020 or soon thereafter, Australia will be exporting nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as is Saudi Arabia today, as Guy Pearce explains.

15 January 2012

Climate in the media to 15 January 2012

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Much ado about methane
David Archer, Daily Climate, Jan. 9, 2012
The climate change story has many frightening pieces. Methane venting from oceans and the Arctic has grabbed the public's imagination lately, but it is not the scariest part of the tale.

09 January 2012

Australian coal’s expansion plans make a mockery of government’s carbon tax claims

David Spratt

The expansion of Australian coal mining will add about 1.75Gt (gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide annually to the atmosphere – about 11 times what the Australian government estimates will be saved by the carbon tax legislation that recently passed Parliament.

That’s Guy Pearse speaking at Woodford on 31 December.   He says that even the emissions from smaller players have a staggering impact, for example:
  • the annual emissions from Aston/Whitehaven’s new mines, or of QCoal's mines will each be greater than all the CO2 saved by all the hybrid cars ever sold world-wide;
  • The new mines of the relatively small Jellinbah Coal add nearly 100 times as much CO2 as is saved by all he household solar panel installations in Australia.

08 January 2012

Climate in the media to 8 January 2012

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

Climate Cognitive Dissonance: The “Profound Contradiction” Between Science and Markets on the Road to 10°F Warming
David Roberts, Grist, 21 December 2011
Earlier this month, Nicholas Stern — respected U.K. economist and author of the famed Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change — cast a spotlight on what he calls a “profound contradiction at the heart of climate change policy.”