31 January 2013

Australia’s sea-level risk assessment out of date as US authorities say possible  2-metre rise by 2100

by David Spratt

In assessing risks, it’s pretty basic that you assess the full range of possible future events, and the costs and benefits associated with each outcome. The more extreme outcomes at the edges of the range of possibilities may be considered less likely, but are often associated with very high costs and – in the case of climate change – catastrophic outcomes.
    On rising sea levels and coastal inundation due to global warming, that’s precisely what the Australian government is NOT doing.  While the science has for years projected sea-level rises in the range of 0.8 to 2 metres by 2100, the Australian government plods along spending tens of millions of dollars on consultants and adaptation research on the assumption that the rise will not exceed 1.1. metres.

24 January 2013

Rebuilding optimism of will for effective climate activism

Many climate activists have experienced depression, exhaustion, and alienation as the time-frame for acting to avoid climate disruption shrinks. So whilst pessimism of the intellect is growing sharper, how do we “right the balance” and grow optimism of the will?

By Trent Hawkins

Che Guevara said that “the true revolutionary is guided by strong feelings of love”. But not just any love, the love of humanity that transcends the day to day love of individuals (our family for example)  In a way its a shame that the actual content of this paragraph from Che has been bastardised to be about some nebulous love that drives revolutionaries. Instead what Che was talking about was a very real dilemma. How to keep ourselves motivated, heading towards the goal, when we have so little time for our real “loved ones”, so little time for ourselves, and to develop our personal lives.

22 January 2013

Connecting the dots to local climate impacts is a key to community engagement

by Graeme Taylor

Notwithstanding Australia’s record-smashing heatwave, the impacts of climate change are often perceived to be distant in time and space.
     Most Australians do not yet understand the scale and urgency of what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls the climate emergency—the most serious threat facing humanity. The reasons are many, including the poor performance of much of the media, and the complacency of political and business leaders. The most broadly disseminated view is that climate change is a distant and very long-term problem; an international problem (and therefore too big and complex for you or me to influence); and something that can and will be eventually managed with adaptation and new technologies.

17 January 2013

The Australian admits it misinterpreted research on sea level rise linked to climate change

  • The Australia runs false story about sea-level rises
  • Forced to apologise, story is deleted from The Australian's website
  • It fits a long-term pattern of deceit and denial by Murdoch media on climate
 by Graham Readfearn

A few days ago The Australian newspaper ran a story on its front page with the headline “Sea rise ‘not linked to warming’” which was supposedly based on the findings of research published in a peer-reviewed journal late last year.
     The problem with the story, written by the newspaper’s environment editor Graham Lloyd was that, as I showed a couple of days ago, the scientific paper published in the Journal of Climate made no such claim and came to no such finding.
The paper discussed at length the role of humans in rising sea levels. In short, Lloyd had the arse of the story where the face should have been.

15 January 2013

Climate change and the myth of human progress

Illustration by Mr. Fish, TruthDig
Note: On present climate policy settings, the world is headed to 4 degrees C of warming by 2100, perhaps as early as 2060. We've known that for at least the last five years, but in the last year its become almost polite to recognise the fact, with the World Bank chiming in, amongst many others. There is even  a conversation about adapting to 4 degrees.
      Last week, Climate Commission scientist Prof. David Karoly told ABC News: "We are expecting in the next 50 years for two to three degrees more warming", and that is on top of the almost 1 degree C that the world has warmed since the industrial revolution.That's up to 4 degrees C of warming by 2060.
     In the same week Paul and Anne Erlich asked, "Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?", in a new, well-referenced, peer-reviewed paper: "Environmental problems have contributed to numerous collapses of civilizations in the past. Now, for the first time, a global collapse appears likely. Overpopulation, over-consumption by the rich and poor choices of technologies are major drivers; dramatic cultural change provides the main hope of averting calamity.

12 January 2013

If we need a war footing to rebuild the physical economy, why can't we talk about it?

by Philip Sutton, Manager, RSTI

A 2009 WWF report says
"a 'war footing' may be the only
option" to re-industrialising
at the necessary speed
At the end of last year a very useful discussion was opened up by a number of climate scientists in different parts of the world calling for climate change action to be put onto a war footing.
    John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, questioned the desirability of pursuing this approach. But how valid was John's critique? And is there a better response to the call from the climate scientists to go onto a war footing?

This is what John said in the Climate Institute's 13 December 2012 newsletter (emphasis added):
If you are not scared or getting scared, you are not paying attention. Yet another rollercoaster year for climate policy and investment is ending as a remarkable chorus of conservative voices from the World Bank, the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Energy Agency and others state that climate change is happening and on track to get much worse in terms of danger and expense. These are realities, not just risks.