29 March 2012

6 Things You Should Know About The Value Of Renewable Energy

by Adam James, a Climate Progress cross-post

Clean energy should play a central role in revitalizing our economy, putting Americans back to work, and keeping America on the cutting edge of innovation and growth. Recently a slew of misguided attacks on the merits of clean energy have exchanged petty partisanship for hard facts.
Here are the top six things you really need to know:
  1. Clean energy is competitive with other types of energy
  2. Clean energy creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels
  3. Clean energy improves grid reliability
  4. Clean energy investment has surpassed investments in fossil fuels
  5. Investments in clean energy are cost effective
  6. Fossil fuels have gotten 75 times more subsidies than clean energy

27 March 2012

Elwood: when poor planning and climate change collide at the coastline

If you wanted to see what happens when poor planning and climate change collide, the place to be last night was a floods forum in the Melbourne Bayside suburb of Elwood, which was subject to severe flooding a year ago. 
    The local mayor and councillors, MPs and neighbouring councillors all fronted up to a packed hall of 300 people, but there were two noticeable absences. Despite promising to come, no-one from Melbourne Water, which is responsible for the drainage system across Melbourne, actually turned up.  And the state government, which is ultimately responsible for planning, did not send a representative despite numerous requests, including on the floor of parliament.

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.

23 March 2012

What Australia can learn from the world’s best de-carbonisation policies

A Post-Carbon Pathways crosspost

by John Wiseman and Taegen Edwards

Around the world an increasing number of detailed policy road maps are demonstrating the possibility, necessity and urgency of a rapid transition to a just and sustainable post carbon future. The key barriers to this transition are social and political, not technological and financial.
     The Post Carbon Pathways report, published by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne and the Centre for Policy Development has reviewed 18 of the most comprehensive and rigorous post carbon economy transition strategies.
As Australia enters the next phase of the climate change policy debate, this report will provide vital information on how other jurisdictions are designing and implementing large-scale plans to remove carbon from their economies.

19 March 2012

State of the Climate 2012: an addendum

14 March 2012: Australia's CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology have released their State of the Climate 2012. The report is here, there is a commentary at The Conversation, and I have reproduced their full media release below. An interactive data visualisation explores sea level rise patterns across Australia using data sets provided to the ABC by CSIRO.
Changes in average temperature for Australia for each year (orange line) and each decade (grey boxes), and 11-year average (black line – an 11-year period is the standard used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Anomalies are the departure from the 1961-1990 average climatological period. The average value for the most recent 10-year period (2002–2011) is shown in darker grey. Bureau of Meteorology
It is a concise and very useful compilation of the data, but on one point they have taken a very conservative stand. One of the most reported findings in both the mass and social media was that the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration of the atmosphere had risen to around 390 parts per million in 2011, a level unprecedented in the past 800,000 years. Given the new available evidence, that should be 15 million years
     That's right, CO levels have not been as high today in the last 15 million years!!

Climate News

Week ending 18 March 2012


Climate Commission report: The science behind southeast Australia’s wet, cool summer, and climate link to heavy rains
Most parts of Australia have experienced exceptionally heavy rains over the past two years, filling many dams around the country and breaking the drought of 1997–2009. There has been much confusion in the media about what this means for climate change. This report seeks to set the record straight.

State of the Climate 2012: an addendum
ClimateCodeRed, 14 March 2012
Today Australia's CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology released their State of the Climate 2012.
State of the Climate - 2012

12 March 2012

Faustian bargain revisited: study finds zeroed emissions will add 0.25-0.5C of warming as aerosol cooling is lost

NASA climate science chief James Hansen’s description of the aerosol dilemma as a “Faustian bargain” has been dramatically illustrated in a new scientific paper by Damon Matthews and Kirsten Zickfeld and published in Nature on 4 March 2012. As we previously discussed in Beyond the carbon price, a Faustian bargain:    
Human activity modifies the impact of the greenhouse effect by the release of airborne particulate pollutants known as aerosols. These include black-carbon soot, organic carbon, sulphates, nitrates, as well as dust from smoke, manufacturing, wind storms, and other sources. Aerosols have a net cooling effect because they reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground and they increase cloud cover. This is popularly known as "global dimming", because the overall aerosol impact is to mask some of the warming effect of greenhouse gases. Aerosols are washed out of the atmosphere by rain on average every 10 days, so their cooling effect is only maintained because of continuing human pollution, the principal source of which is the burning of fossil fuels, which also cause a rise in carbon dioxide levels and global warming that lasts for many centuries.

11 March 2012

Climate News

 Week ending 11 March 2012


Concern over Greenland warming: tipping point at 1.6C warming?
AFP/Oman Observer, 10 March 2012
The Greenland ice sheet is more sensitive to global warming than thought, for just a relatively small — but very long term — temperature rise would melt it completely, according to a study published.

Perth swelters through record 8th summer heatwave
ABC News, 11 March 2011
Perth is sweltering through the eighth heatwave of the summer and autumn seasons, the first time such an event has happened since records started being kept in 1897AND
Bureau of Meteorology Special Climate Statement 39: Exceptional heavy rainfall across southeast Australia

05 March 2012

Hot Earth: Science and anti-science at the AAAS

A Radio Ecoshock Show cross-post

http://bit.ly/w1bCQY Listen to presentations by NASA climate scientist James Hansen, and best-selling author and science writer Cris Mooney at 2012 AAAS.

Just back from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science annual conference 2012, this is Alex Smith. I've recorded two of the best speechs of the weekend gathering of thousands of scientists, held this year in Vancouver, Canada.

04 March 2012

Climate News

Week ending 4 March 2012


Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest
Francesco Femia & Caitlin Werrell, Climate Progress, 3 March 2012
Syria’s current social unrest is, in the most direct sense, a reaction to a brutal and out-of-touch regime and a response to the political wave of change that began in Tunisia early last year. However, that’s not the whole story.

Old king coal
Economist blog, 25 February 2012
Asian growth will remain fuelled by coal, which is worrying for the planet

01 March 2012

Carbon price no obstacle to deadly expansion of Australian coal (and gas), as new study finds replacing coal with gas will not lower rate of global warming for 100 years

[Updated 3 March 2012]

Recently, the Labor member for Blaxland in the Australian Parliament, Jason Clare, fired a salvo at the Liberal opposition for their hypocrisy on carbon pricing: claiming it would cost coal jobs while they were busily…  investing in more coal.
     Here’s an extract, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald: