05 February 2012

Climate in the media to 5 February 2012

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

Canberra’s push to be the nation’s solar capital
Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 30 January 2012
The ACT government has called for tenders for the first round of contracts to build up to 40MW of large scale solar facilities in the territory, with the winners of the first tender to be announced in July.

Greenpeace chief warns of ‘perfect storm’ of crises
Agence France-Presse, February 3, 2012
The head of environmental pressure group Greenpeace warned Friday the world faced a “perfect storm” of crises and was heading for what he termed a crisis of “epic proportions.”

Get Ready for Super-Extreme Weather: “We Are Just Now Experiencing the Full Effect of CO2 Emitted [by] the Late 1980s”
Jeff Masters, Climate Progress, 30 January 2012
We’ve set in motion a dangerous boulder of climate change that is rolling downhill, and it is too late to avoid major damage when it hits full-force several decades from now. However, we can reduce the ultimate severity of the damage with strong and rapid action.
Changing the Conversation: Extreme Weather and Climate
Rick Rood, wundergroud, 6 June 2011
It has been an exceptional year of tornadoes in the U.S. Hundreds have died and several cities have been especially hard hit(Jeff Masters on Living on Earth). Ultimately, I will talk about these tornadoes and climate change and bring, at least temporarily, closure to my discussion on event attribution and climate change.

World running out of resources: UN
Jill Colgan, ABC News, January 31, 2012
A major United Nations report has called for a sustainable "evergreen revolution", warning that time is running out to ensure there is enough food, water and fuel to meet the needs of the world's rapidly growing population.

Methane makes shale gas a current climate danger
Renee Santoro, The Conversation, 31 January 2012
In the US, as in Australia, debate about the merits of alternative gases has been heated. In the US the contentious gas is shale, rather than coal seam. But at least one source of conflict is the same: this gas may provide energy, but will it reduce greenhouse gas emissions?


Rinehart’s media ambitions: bad news for coverage of climate change
Mary Debrett, The Cinversation, 2 February 2012
News that Gina Rinehart has reportedly attained a 12.8% stake in Fairfax Media (and is seeking just under 15%) is bad for the Australian media environment: it potentially puts yet another billionaire in a position to influence what gets published as “news” in this country, and more importantly what doesn’t.

Mining in a new vein
Clive Hamilton, Sydney Morning Herald, February 2, 2012
If Gina Rinehart succeeds in getting a controlling interest in Fairfax Media, the only competition to the Murdoch stable of newspapers in Australia, the nation's political landscape will be changed.

Is a misleading climate change op-ed in the Wall Street Journal really news?
Graham Readfearn, 31 January 2012
WHAT’S news these days when it comes to climate change? Could it be the news that rising temperatures could severely affect the world’s wheat crops maybe?

Authors of Wall Street Journal climate piece downplay industry ties
By Amy Silverstein, DailyClimate, 1 February 2012
Half the authors of a controversial Wall Street Journal opinion piece denying the Earth's warming trend have ties to the oil and gas industry, a DailyClimate.org investigation finds.

Panic Attack: Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Finds 16 Scientists to Push Pollutocrat Agenda With Long-Debunked Climate Lies

So the planet stopped warming, says Rupert

The Wall Street Journal’s willful climate lies


Semprius claims “game-changer” record in PV efficiency
Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 1 February 2012
US-based solar PV module start-up Semprius said it has set a world record for photovoltaic module efficiency, reaching 33.9 percent – the first time a company has claimed an efficiency rating of more than one third. The rating, which was achieved in tests indoors and outdoors in Spain, beats the previous record of 32 per cent.

India's panel price crash could spark solar revolution
Michael Marshall, New Scientist, 02 February 2012
Solar power has always had a reputation for being expensive, but not for much longer. In India, electricity from solar is now cheaper than that from diesel generators.

Coal on the Ropes: In One Week, 4,099 MW of U.S. Coal Plants Are Set to Close or Hung Up in Court
Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress, Feb 1, 2012
In less than one week, eight U.S. coal plants representing 4,099 MW of capacity have been put on the chopping block for closure or have been delayed in court due to environmental concerns.

An analysis of the economic impacts of the China First mine
Richard Denniss, Australia Institute, 16 December 2011
While the profits flowing to the owners of the Waratah Coal, which is rather accurately known as the 'China First Project', will be substantial, the net economic benefits to Australia will, at best, be small.

Does the rebound effect matter for policy?
David Roberts, Grist, 31 January 2012
In my last post, I offered a brief introduction to the “rebound effect,” by which energy demand, after dropping in response to energy efficiency gains, “rebounds” back upward as the money/energy savings are spent elsewhere.

Why Germany should aim for 200GW of solar
Matthew Wright, RenewEconomy,  2 February 2012
German energy experts and the renewable energy industry are now calling for a national target of 200GW of solar power by 2030.


Clean energy finance – the battle lines are drawn
Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 1 February 2012
The polemics around carbon pricing have been largely shunted into the background following the passage of the government’s legislation, but a far more important piece of legislation for the short and medium term future of the clean energy industry in Australia will be presented to parliament this year – the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. And it seems there could be more at stake for the energy industry than the carbon price itself.

UN calls for sustainable measure of GDP
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 31 January 2012
A new report released by the United Nations calls on world governments to change the way they do business, end fossil fuel subsidies and factor in social and environmental costs into the measurement of economic activity. It notes that the standard method of calculating economic growth through measures such as GDP ignores the impacts on the planet and food and water resources.

Denmark puts 2030 emissions target on the agenda
EurActiv,  31 January 2012
Europe’s 27 environment ministers will call for a 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 if they follow draft conclusions - seen by EurActiv - prepared by the Danish EU presidency ahead of a meeting on 9 March.

SCIENCE AND IMPACTS---------------

The Vanishing Face of Gaia (audiobook)
In The Vanishing Face of Gaia, British scientist James Lovelock predicts global warming will lead to a Hot Epoch. Lovelock is best known for formulating the controversial Gaia theory in the 1970s, with Ruth Margulis of the University of Massachusetts, which states that organisms interact with and regulate Earth's surface and atmosphere.

New Study Sheds Light On Little Ice Age
Red Orbit, 30 January 2012
University of Colorado researchers report that they have answered some questions surrounding Earth’s Little Ice Age, which started between A.D. 1275 and 1300, and lasted into the late 19th century.

Arctic climate change 'to spark domino effect'
SMH, January 31, 2012
WA-based scientists have warned of "dire consequences" to the human race after detecting the first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic.

Climate change a 'fundamental' health risk
AAP, January 31, 2012
A leading Australian disease expert says prompt action on climate change is paramount to our survival on earth. Epidemiologist Tony McMichael has conducted an historical study that suggests natural climate change over thousands of years has destabilised civilisations via food shortages, disease and unrest.
Briefing Paper: Climate Change and Health – Time to Act
Winfried Zacher, January 2012
Climate change will result in grave consequences for the health of the world population. While industrialized countries have begun to protect themselves by starting adaptation programs developing countries have only limited resources to do so.
Learn from climate history: epidemiologist
ABC PM, 31 January 2012
The decline of the Mayan empire; the black death in Europe; the collapse of the Ming Dynasty; the Great Famine in Europe - what's the link? The ANU's Professor Tony McMichael says it's climate change.

Science behind the big freeze: is climate change bringing the Arctic to Europe?
Steve Connor, The Independent, 4 February 2012 
A loss of sea ice could be a cause of the bitter winds that have swept across the UK in the past week, weather experts say

Extreme heat hurts wheat yields as world warms: study
David Fogarty, Reuters,  Jan 29, 2012
Extreme heat can cause wheat crops to age faster and reduce yields, a U.S.-led study shows, underscoring the challenge of feeding a rapidly growing population as the world warms.

Texas Heat Wave Caused by Global Warming, NASA's Hansen Says
Elizabeth Grossman, InsideClimate News, Jan 31, 2012
Temperature data shows the Texas heat wave wouldn't have occurred without warming, Hansen claims. Others aren't ready to draw such a definitive conclusion.


Singapore raises sea defenses against tide of climate
David Fogarty, Reuters, 26 January 2012
A 15-km (10 mile) stretch of crisp white beach is one of the key battlegrounds in Singapore's campaign to defend its hard-won territory against rising sea levels linked to climate change.

Probing sea rise impact
Peter Begg, Geelong Advertiser, February 1st, 2012
LARGE sections of the Bellarine Peninsula, including areas around Point Lonsdale and Barwon Heads, are at risk of being inundated by rising sea waters from climate change.

Pine Island glacier loss must force another look at sea-level forecasts
David Spratt, climatecodered.org, 4 February 2012
A giant crack in Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier signals birth of monster iceberg

Sea Level Rise, One More Frontier For Climate Dialogue Controversy
Sara Peach, Yale Forum, February 2, 2012
Residents and civic officials from Delaware to San Francisco and from Galveston to North Carolina’s Outer Banks are learning as they go on preparing for sea level rise risks that some of their residents fundamentally doubt. Part I of a Two-Part Feature.