29 May 2012

Projected warming increases as emissions rise, politics fails

Climate scoreboard at 29 May 2012. View live scoreboard
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. The Scoreboard automatically reports, on a daily basis, whether proposals in the treaty process commit countries to enough greenhouse gas emissions reductions to achieve widely expressed goals, such as limiting future warming to 1.5 to 2.0°C (2.7 to 3.6°F) above pre-industrial temperatures. And users can explore the analysis behind the numbers. At time of posting, the scoreboard projected an increase in global temperature of 4.5°C by 2100.

27 May 2012

Climate News

Week ending 27 May 2012


Jeremy Rifkin on the Third Industrial Revolution
ABC Big Ideas, 21 May 2012
Writer and thinker Jeremy Rivkin delivers this address to the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) in London on the critical need to develop our economies into a post carbon Third Industrial Revolution, or else we’ll spiral into a ‘dangerous endgame’.

Post-Carbon Postcard#1: California, USA and British Columbia, Canada
John Wiseman, CCR, 23 May 2012
I’m currently on a study tour interviewing authors, campaigners and policy makers responsible for the post carbon economy transition strategies reviewed in the recently published report: Post Carbon Pathways – and thought the following reflections arising from these discussions might be of interest.

23 May 2012

Post-Carbon Postcard#1: California, USA and British Columbia, Canada

Eye of the Wind Turbine, Grouse
Mountain, Vancouver, BC
by John Wiseman, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

I’m currently on a study tour interviewing authors, campaigners and policy makers responsible for the post carbon economy transition strategies reviewed in the recently published report: Post Carbon Pathways – and thought the following reflections arising from these discussions might be of interest.
     Over the last two months, travelling in California and British Columbia, I’ve interviewed and held discussions with the following people:

21 May 2012

The void at the heart of Anthony Giddens climate politics

by David Spratt.  This review first appeared in Social Alternatives

Anthony Giddens, 2011, The Politics of Climate Change. (2nd edn.): Cambridge: Polity, 264 pp, ISBN-13: 978-0-7456-4692-3 

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.
     Recognising that unchecked climate change “constitutes an existential threat to our civilisation”, Giddens poses two questions. Why do most people act as though this threat can be ignored?
     And what political innovations have to be made to limit global warming impacts? I found the answers to both questions unsatisfactory, because Giddens systematically underestimates the urgency of the problem, and the political challenges.

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.

17 May 2012

Why "clean energy" is not post-partisan politics

Introductory note: The article below is from Grist's David Roberts, and it really struck a chord given my recent analysis on this site about the strategic error of bright-siding climate, and the emphasis on "clean energy" divorced from climate change as a narrative for the bright-siders, including the Australian Government. As Roberts concludes:
Those who think they can lift energy up out of the scrum, free it from culture-war baggage, are deluding themselves. The only way past the culture war is through it.
If we look at what conservative premiers Baillieu in Victoria, and O'Farrell in NSW, are doing to climate and clean energy programmes, and the federal coalition intends to do if it wins government –  abolish the carbon and mining taxes, abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and abolish the climate change department), it's hard not to conclude that the same analysis applies to Australia. – David

15 May 2012

The climate for Labor backflips

Update 15 May: So now the Gillard government has started its advertising campaign in support of... well, it's impossible to tell. As the Age reports today, the "advertising blitz spruiking the carbon tax 'household assistance package' [contains] no mention of carbon, climate change or clean energy".   The $14 million campaign tells viewers that the lump-sum payments starting this week are ''the first part of the Australian government's household assistance package''. Assistance for what?  Here is the final irony in Labor's capitulation to opposition leader Tony Abbott's agenda. First they fall for his framing of the climate issue – as being about a carbon tax rather than the impacts of climate change on peoples' lives – and now they are campaigning in support of the tax without mentioning it, or what it is for. Of all the examples of a government losing its way, surely this is the most graphic.

by David Spratt / First published in Climate Spectator, 3 May 2012

This year the federal government has been very quiet about climate change. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet’s most recent media release on climate was on 23 March.
     That his statement was devoted to the coalition’s policy, not Labor’s, is indicative of the strategic failure that has beset Labor’s climate communications since 2008.

13 May 2012

Climate News

Week ending 13 May 2012

Climate sceptics enlist Unabomber
Adam Morton, The Age, May 8, 2012
It is either a brilliantly antagonistic marketing ploy or a remarkable misjudgment.
The billboard:
Big donors ditch rightwing Heartland Institute over Unabomber billboard
Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian, 9 May 201
Extremist US thinktank compared those who believe in man-made climate change to serial killer Ted Kaczynski

10 May 2012

"Climate change has become the issue that dare not speak its name in Labor circles"

The Australian government has "given up on the art of public persuasion, most notably on the dangers of climate change" according to a former federal leader of the ALP.
If Labor won’t crusade on saving the planet from global warming, what will it crusade on?
Those are the words of former Labor federal opposition leader Mark Latham in today's Australian Financial Review, where he gives the Gillard government a lashing over its failure to go into bat for its climate change policy, saying it confirms Paul Keating’s critique of the ALP that:

09 May 2012

Climate change is not a ‘message.’ It’s an objective reality and an urgent crisis. That’s why we must talk about it.

KC Golden, via Climate Access
[Note: This post touches on many of the issues we've been covering here recently, including cognitive dissonance, the problems with climate messaging, and the urgency of the challenge; especially in The real climate message is in the shadows. It’s time to shine the light and in the Bright-siding series.   DS]
Have climate campaigners learned the art of political communication too well?  We poll and focus group.  We segment audiences and target swings. We “go to people where they’re at” – activating live communication frames and salient issues. We move the dial. There is tactical merit in all this … but climate change is not a “message.” It’s an objective reality and an urgent crisis.

07 May 2012

Putting climate in the corner

by David Spratt / First published in Climate Spectator, 7 May 2012

This is the final of a three-part series on Labor's climate policy. Part one was published on 4 May and Part Two on 5 May 2012
[Note: this is condensation of some of the Bright-siding posts]
Labor has not succeeded in selling its climate legislation, and neither has the environment NGOs because of a strategic failure in communicating the case for climate action.
In ‘The real climate message is in the shadows. It’s time to shine the light’, Daniel Voronoff drew on lessons from health promotion to argue persuasively what effective climate messaging requires. He identified the problem as bright-siding:
The risk we face with the present suite of messages is that without stating the problem – namely the severity of the threat and our susceptibility to it – there is no argument for change. Without stating the threat, the public mind is lead to question, why a tax for innovation and jobs when the mining industry makes jobs anyway? Imagine the anti-smoking advertisement that fails to mention mouth and lung cancer, telling the smoker they should give up a pleasurable habit of ten years because, well, they’re certain to feel better. The evidence shows this appeal just doesn’t work.

06 May 2012

Climate media

Week ending 6 May 2012
Heartland Institute Compares Climate Science Believers And Reporters To Mass ‘Murderers And Madmen
Heartland site archived here: http://www.webcitation.org/67PXtDuFE
What Heartland said: “We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters, but we hope they understand what we were trying to do with this experiment. We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.


Global Warming: New Research Blames Economic Growth
ScienceDaily, May 1, 2012
It's a message no one wants to hear: To slow down global warming, we'll either have to put the brakes on economic growth or transform the way the world's economies work. That's the implication of an innovative University of Michigan study examining the most likely causes of global warming.

04 May 2012

On the bright side of Labor's climate policy

[Note: this is condensation of some of the Bright-siding posts]

by David Spratt / First published in Climate Spectator, 4 May 2012

This is part two of a three part series on Labor's climate policy. Part one was published yesterday. 

The Obama administration, Australia’s Labor government and the 2011 ‘Say Yes’ campaign by Australia’s environment NGOs share a common view on how to market action on climate: sell ‘good news’ about ‘clean’ or renewable energy,  and avoid ‘bad news’, such as climate impacts and discussions about coal and gas.
     The Obama administration tried, unsuccessfully, to frame legislation to reduce greenhouse emissions as being about “energy independence”. It did not pass, although that was not principally Obama’s fault. But taking climate off the agenda was, says Jonathan Lash of the World Resources Institute: