Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 5 of 2011

As we say goodbye to 2011, here are this year's most-viewed items from this blog:

5/4. In a tie for 4th place were the Solar Energy Infographic and the cartoon Window of Opportunity.

3. My Queensland Floods roundup presented some amazing photos, alongside some interesting commentary from experts.

2. Another cartoon in the top 5 was Discussion Postponed - a humorous take on the effects of climate change on extreme weather.

1. The most viewed item here this year though has been the Climate Action Support Rally pics. It was great to have such a positive supportive day - even if it was a shock to some. I heard one reporter asking her cameraman to film her with the 'protesters' in the background. Obviously a group of people gathering together to support something was a new thing to her. ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Present

The people at 100% Renewables have started an interesting campaign for Aussies to send a Christmas card to the local MP, asking for a particular present - Big Solar Power!

You can download the print or email version of the Christmas card, find the address of your local pollie - and post it off to them.

ps. the card looks much better at full size
pps. the picture is of solar thermal - more info on that here and here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How Does Your Country Rank?

One of many things that happened during the recent global climate change talks in Durban was the release of the Climate Change Performance Index.

It ranks the nations according to how well they're doing on tackling carbon emissions - kind of like an Olympic medal tally, or sports league. Unlike sports, the news was not good for Australia - finishing in the bottom grouping.

My country ranked 48 - not far from the bottom (61). However the report contained some positive remarks about Australia:
Australia has made encouraging steps towards improved climate policy. The experts recognized the new carbon tax as especially positive. Due to continuously high emissions, Australia remains in the last quarter of the CCPI. However, the latest emissions trend and the policy evaluation made Australia climb ten ranks and indicate that Australia has the ability to climb up in future rankings.
"climb ten ranks"?! We must have been down at 58th last year. Ouch! But we have the ability to climb further up the ladder - that's good. How did your country do?

[Link: The Results Tables]

Monday, December 12, 2011

What's Your Carbon Price

As Australia decided to bring in a carbon price, i probably mentioned the wild exaggerations by those opposed to the change. Now that the dust has settled, experts have analysed the details of the policy to bring back some reality and perspective.

At Your Carbon Price everyday Australians can answer a few basic questions to estimate (a) how much (or little) our costs might change, and (b) how much we'll receive in tax cuts and other assistance. Here's mine:

As you can see from my analysis, the tiny impact of $5.70 per week, is easily offset by the $5.83 reduction in my income tax. I'd be interested to hear how the numbers came out for your situation.

To add further perspective, i read that the average Australian spends $30 per week on alcohol.

[Related link: The Facts On Food]

Friday, December 09, 2011

This Is George

This entertaining little video was put together by a group of amateur producers, designers, animators and artists. They realised that not enough people understand that emissions from human use of fossil fuels cause climate change. In a few short weeks they put together this short film.
'This is George' is the story of a human called George, a plant called a sunflower, and the connection they both have to climate change.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

PRE Christmas Bargains

A great site for books on climate change is Sustainable Insight (i'm sure i've mentioned them before). Anyway they are now having a 20-30% off sale.

So if you're looking for a bargain, now is the time to get that book you've been thinking of. (Note: the sale excludes ebooks).

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Climate Change and Health

Last week i shared some data about hot days where i live. Coincidentally, Australia's Climate Commission then released their new report Climate Change and Health.

It made the point that "Climate change is a serious threat to our health and well-being". A hotter climate leads to more heat-related deaths and infectious disease. More frequent and severe extreme weather events threaten our physical and mental health.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tip 4 - Pegs

I'm sure i've mentioned this one before, but clothes drying (with pegs or a clothes rack) has to be one of the cheapest ways of using solar and wind power. :)

According to the poster, just one load per week saves 120kg of greenhouse gas and about $20. Again, those dollar savings get bigger as power prices rise. And (if you don't have one already) you save hundreds by not buying a dryer.

< Tip 3 ::

Monday, December 05, 2011

Repower Promo

The AYCC did this great promo design for their current petition to Repower Australia with renewable energy. :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Geosequestration That Might Work :)

Normally geosequestration refers to the condensing, compressing and burying underground of greenhouse emissions from fossil fuel based power stations (and crossing our fingers that they stay down there). There are a number of questions about it - not least of which is why would we bother when renewables would be cheaper than that whole process.

So it amused me to see a different suggestion of how we could bury something if we want to reduce our pollution :)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

How The Media Dupes Us

I've done a few pieces on climate change in the media, and the lack of journalistic rigour. [Links: 1 2 3 4] Now the stats are here to prove it.

The Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (University of Technology, Sydney) has released a study A Sceptical Climate.

The study of 3971 articles across 10 Australian newspapers, on the topic of carbon policy produced some interesting stats.

73% Negative, 27% Positive (excluding neutral articles). It was 82-18 in News Limited papers. Fairfax papers, a more balanced 43-57.

Scary headlines sell papers. Even neutral articles were given twice as many negative headlines (41%) than postive ones (19%). Just ask Gail Kelly :)

Negative language. 51% of articles referred to a "carbon tax" (the prefered term of opponents) while just 11% used the term "carbon price" (the prefered term of proponents). In News Limited papers it was 70-8.

Who gets the microphone? Business received more coverage than all civil society sources combined (unions, NGOs, think tanks, activists, members of the public, religious spokespeople, scientists and academics). Within business, fossil fuel companies and the like received far more coverage than clean energy and supportive businesses.

That's the quick guide to how a media can dupe the unsuspecting reader. For more detail and stats, check out the full report. For Aussies, it's also interesting to see what coverage is like in your state.

[Link: Full Report]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hot Days (Summer In The City)

As we approach the Australian summer, there's a lot of talk about how hot it is for November. It doesn't usually get this hot until Dec - Feb. I usually try to restrain myself from steering such chit-chat into a climate change discussion - until now.

I'm currently working for a group developing a disaster resilience program, and one of the tasks involved uploading climate change projections to our website. This table is the projected annual number of hot days (over 35°C) for where i live.

We are used to 12 hot days. In the future that's projected to be up to 65. That's more than 2 months over 35°C. If we are finding a slightly warm November uncomfortable, we should perhaps increase our efforts to reduce climate change.
ps. other places are even more severe. Weipa, currently experiences 55 hot days per year, but is projected to get up to 263 in the decades to come. That's almost 9 months of days over 35°C!

[pps. It's intriguing that after all this time, and all these posts, the sheer impact of climate change can still stun me.]

Monday, November 28, 2011

2 Billion Parades

America's famous Thanksgiving Day parade is famous for it's enormous balloons. These character balloons can each be the size of a medium-sized building, and require dozens of people to control them, and prevent them from floating away.

Clearly, it takes a huge amount of helium to fill these balloons. But the people at the Climate Reality Project did the maths to compare the amount of gas for the annual parade, to the amount of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Turns out that to put the world's greenhouse gases into parade balloons (even giant ones) we would need to have 2 billion parades each year. That's a lot of gas!

[Related Links: Other ways of visualising emissions - as a giant ball, compared to a double-decker bus, or as a globe-covering quilt.]

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do You See What I See?

Classic graph from the good people at Sceptical Science.

If someone is determined to convince themselves the globe is not warming, then a narrow enough view can help them think that.

[Related Links: How You View The Figures :: The Warmer Years]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

True Green Kids

This book is the junior version of previous titles True Green, and True Green Home. Like those books, it features one tip (and large picture) per page - which makes it a very easy read.

In this edition, the tips are things easily manageable by kids - saving energy, recycling, riding a bike to school, or starting a small garden. But it also provides a few bigger ideas that a class might do together, and some resources for kids to learn more.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tip 3 - A Cold Move

This i something i've mentioned before, but washing clothes in "cold" water uses only a small fraction of the energy of a hot wash.

This is another area (like Tip 1) where a simple change can reduce electricity consumption by more than half (90% according to the poster).

(Sidenote: I put the word "cold" in quotation marks, because what i really mean is 'room temperature'. We are entering summer here in Austalia, and "cold" isn't always the best decription of what comes out of that tap.)

< Tip 2 :: Tip 4 >

Friday, November 18, 2011

David's Soapbox - Doubters

Having solved climate change in his previous video, comedian David Mitchell looks at the other thing that might be slowing us down. People who don't think there is even a problem.

As he points out, when even the American Association of Petroleum Geologists agrees there is climate change - it should seem pretty clear.

He compares it to a product recall. When there's a chance a product could make a few people sick, we recall the product. If we're talking about the planet being uninhabitable, surely we should take action.

My favourite bit was comparing this to the same attitude in a fire situation -
'Sure you might smell smoke, we're having difficulty breathing, and it's getting hot in here, but until i have proof the roof is on fire....'
It's much funnier when he says it :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Living Like Ed

TV personality Ed Begley Jr has put together this great book of tips for an eco-friendly lifestyle. There are plenty of tips, with great detail, but yet they are easy to read.

There are extra bonus features too. His wife has short segments during the book, where she says what it was like from her perspective. There are also recipes (in the food and garden chapter) and a workbook at the end to help put all these great tips into action.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tip 2 - Greenpower

Ok, this tip isn't so much about saving energy. It's more about reducing greenhouse gases. Whatever energy we use has to come from somewhere - and it's better if it comes from renewable power.

Selecting Greenpower from your electricity supplier means that amount of electricity comes from renewable sources. I personally have selected 100% Greenpower, reducing my electricity footprint to zero.

I think of it like an electricity election. The more people who 'vote' for renewable energy, the more there will be.

< Tip 1 :: Tip 3 >

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

100s of Reasons to Say Yes

In a great day for action on climate change, Australia's parliament passed a price on pollution through the Senate. To mark the occasion, community organisation Say Yes has released a book of reasons to 'say yes' to action on climate change.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard was given a copy of the book, and the entries (which also appeared on the lawn of parliament) have been placed in a time capsule for future generations to look back on.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Tip 1 of 10

Recently I was at Sustainable House Day and this banner of tips was displayed at one of the homes.

The first tip was one of my favourites - energy-saving bulbs. On the banner it says that replacing five lights with CFLs will save (every year) around 450kg of CO2 and about $70 from your wallet - and that's in just one year! You can see why it's one of my favourites!
Note: This saving would have increased with the price of electricity since the printing of the banner

Move on to Tip 2 >

Friday, November 04, 2011

Manufactured Doubt

As a handful of Australian politicians sink to a new level of denial (illogical and hypocritical) I thought it a might be appropriate to play the Doubt clip from the Climate Reality Project.

Like the cigarette companies of the 60s ("Doubt is our product") vested interests like to manufacture doubt in the hope that people will stay with their current habits - however harmful that may be.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Hungry Tide

Over the weekend i saw the short but powerful documentary, The Hungry Tide. It's a heart-wrenching and eye-opening account of what climate change is doing to the island nation of Kiribati, and how the locals are powerless to stop it. For the next 10 days you can see it free online.

For a quick taste of the what the movie is about, check out the photo gallery.

It may be best summed up by the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong: "To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that."

Related link:- Kiribati Government Climate Change website

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Wind Made Electricity Free

If you saw the SBS special Power Play (on the causes of electricity price rises) you would have seen one of the experts talking about how renewables can actually drive the price down. He compared it to food - where a 'bumper crop' brings downs the price at the market, as sellers compete to sell their product.

Recently, there was a classic example of this. For just a few minutes the market price of wholesale electricity dropped to $0.00. This is an extreme example, and only happened for a few minutes, but is an example of how the price can come down when renewables are in the market.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Human Bicycle

A couple of weeks ago i mentioned's event - Moving Planet. This part of the event happened in Melbourne.

I just reckon it's a great photo, and an inspired piece of creativity. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

David's Soapbox - Furniture and Financial Incentive

David Mitchell starts with a rant about flimsy furniture, and ends up with an idea to inspire companies to be more environmental.
"For instance, air travel is far cheaper than it is environmentally viable. Why not shift the burden of a problem to the people who would benefit financially from solving it. That's what a carbon tax would do.

Once that tax system is initiated, you (the politician) won't have to hug a single tree. You just have to make low emissions part of the profit incentive. Companies won't choose to do it themselves. Why should they? Their job is to make money. Your job is to protect the people who elected you."

[More David Mitchell]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Australia Says Yes

It's a happy day as Australia's House of Representatives today passed a price on pollution. There is still the Senate vote next month, but today was a day of celebration. The group Say Yes filled the lawn of parliament house with the words "Say Yes To Clean Energy".

The words were made from signs submitted by the general public, each one giving a reason for saying yes. What a sight!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Littlest Arctic

New World Record. Last month the Arctic was the smallest we've ever seen it. This graph shows the yearly cycle. Ice melts in the middle (summer) period, then builds back during the rest of the year. But each year it's getting smaller.

The black dots are the 30-year averages. The crosses are 2007 and the 2 blue lines are the last 2 years. September 2011 was the lowest point so far, as we get closer to having no arctic ice.

So here's your chance to play amateur-scientist. Using this and other recent graphs at the Arctic Sea Ice Blog - make a prediction. When do you think the Arctic will first lose all its ice?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rugby World Cup - A Different View

Ok, so the quarter finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup are done and dusted. Congrats to all the winners. But what would it look like if this was a carbon emissions world cup? Here's how the quarter finals would have panned out:

Clearly Australia would have (coal)powered its way through the quarterfinals (tripling South Africa's score), pushed aside New Zealand comfortably and won the final with ease.

Of course, i suspect this won't happen in the real world cup. :(
If only we could increase our rugby score, and decrease our pollution score.

How would your country do? See the rankings.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Funnies - Objections

I thought this cartoon summed up the political situation nicely. There are things that clearly need to be done, but there'll always be objections by someone trying to undermine it. I notice that the guy on the right is drawn with his eyes closed and facing away from the issue. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Powershift 2011

Here in Australia, youth movement AYCC hold an event called Powershift. On Oct 15-17, people aged 25 and under will be gathering in Brisbane to take part in forums, workshops, concerts, social activities, and a large public action.

You can still register for the event at

[Related Link: Powershift 2009]

Friday, September 30, 2011

David Mitchell On His Soapbox

I'm a bit of a fan of comedian David Mitchell's Soapbox. In this one he pokes a bit of fun at, well, people like me - who are enthusiastic about solving climate change. (He's quite witty about it though).

He does recognise the "clear scientific fact of climate change" but in that ever-so-British way, thinks we should do it because we have to, rather than enjoy it.
I just can't persuade myself that climate change isn't happening. I'd like someone to convince me that it's not happening. But they haven't. Because it is.

So let's do our recycling, not use planes as much .... not because it's exciting or fun, but because we have to.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moving Planet

Last weekend, around the world, people got moving for climate solutions. Here's a small montage of some of the events.

"Moving Planet" was an initiative of

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Climate 101

This 4 minute summary of climate change was one of the bonus videos from the Climate Reality Project.

It's a good, quick summary of climate change - done in that retro style of the old school educational films (which is kind of amusing).

Friday, September 23, 2011

We're In This Together

The art continues from Jeremyville. Last week i showed one of his cartoons promoting the Reality Project. There is now a collection of 12, including this one.

I particularly like it because of the message that sometimes our politicians don't get. If you're in a sinking boat with someone, you do something about it. You don't just sit there waiting for each other to do something.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Earth Relay

The Earth Ball at the centre of the Say Yes Earth Relay.

It will make it's way through Victoria and onto Canberra in support of the Australian government finally putting a price on pollution.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Make Your Own Sign

We like to encourage politicians to do the right thing. But it's an awfully long way to Australia's capital - Canberra. Fortunately the Say Yes group have figured out a way around this.

You can add your voice of support by making your own digital sign and putting it on the digital parliament lawn. You get to choose the colour, write your own message, and even share it on your facebook profile if you want.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Brainstorming For Pollution

One side-effect of government taking action on climate change is that groups of polluters get together to undermine the process. In Australia one of these groups is the 'Trade and Industry Alliance', whose main industry seems to be pumping out questionable ads. Their dodgy-ness inspired this satire of a brainstorming session:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let's Shed Some Layers

Artist "Jeremyville" put together this nice cartoon poster for this week's big event - The Climate Reality Project

Monday, September 12, 2011

Global Support

It's great to have support when you're doing something courageous. And so it is with Australia at the moment. As our politicians finally take the initiative to put a price on carbon, the international community is sending us a message of support.

As i write this, almost half a million people from countries around the world have signed on to say:
From across the world we applaud the Australian proposal to tackle climate change through carbon pricing and investment in solutions for the future. With this law Australia will join a slew of forward thinking governments and will spur other major emitters to take bold action. We urge you to support your government's determination to fight for our planet's future.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Science Under Siege

You may already know how much i like ABC's Catalyst program. Tonight Mark Horstman did a piece titled Science under Siege - a story about how science is ignored, the public is misinformed, and scientists receive death threats.

Climate science is not the only field in which this occurs, but it's probably the biggest at the moment. Mark Horstman looked at the anti-climate action protests - a campaign based on "a lack of understanding about how carbon emissions warm the atmosphere".
At the heart of this protest is the notion that the people here ... know better than most of the world's climate scientists.
But scarier than the dismissal of science was the hostility towards the scientists themselves. Individual death threats, and rally calls like this one from a leading protester, aimed at the scientists:
We are coming after you, we are going to prosecute you, and we are going to lock you up.

Is this the kind of society we want? As Professor Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist of Australia, asks "We're back to the Middle Ages aren't we? I mean, that's what they tried to do to Galileo."

Monday, September 05, 2011

Carbon Nation in Brisbane

I loved seeing Carbon Nation on the weekend, in its first screening here in Brisbane. And the upcoming screenings were announced...

Sunnybank Hills Library, Sat 1 October, 2.30-4.30pm

Mt Ommaney Library, Sat 8 October, 1.00-3.00pm

Bulimba Library, Sun 16 October, 12.30-2.30pm

New Farm Library, Sat 29 October, 2.30-4.30pm

Indooroopilly Library, Sat 5 November, 2.00-4.00pm

Chermside Library, Sun 13 November, 12.30-2.30pm

If you can't get to a screening, you can always get your own copy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Just Not Fair

It's bad enough that climate change brings more extreme "natural" disasters. But what's incredibly unfair is that the people who suffer aren't those who did the damage. This is a map of the world distorted to reflect carbon emissions.

Conversely, this map is distorted to reflect the number of people killed by "natural" disasters.

Basically, it's the rich nations who have the means to create global damage, and it's the poor nations that can't afford to protect themselves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

10 Ways To Reduce Your Emissions

The Adelaide Advertiser printed this list of tips to reduce your carbon footprint. Click the picture for a larger version, or read the full text here.

In short, the 10 tips were:
1. Make climate-conscious political decisions.
2. Eat less red meat.
3. Purchase “green electricity“.
4. Make your home and household energy efficient.
5. Buy energy and water efficient appliances.
6. Walk, cycle or take public transport.
7. Recycle, re-use and avoid useless purchases.
8. Telecommute and teleconference.
9. Buy local produce.
10. Offset what you can’t save.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Good News From Fukushima

One good thing to come out of Fukushima is Japan's increased enthusiasm for moving to renewable energy. The Japanese parliament has voted to support renewable energy to the tune of 10 trillion yen ($124 billion Australian).

Apart from helping Japan move more quickly to renewables, it is expected that this move (in combination with China's strong support for renewables) will help world renewable energy prices come down even quicker than they are already.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Better Than Money In The Bank

I think solar panels are a good investment - and i tell people so. Do i mean financial investment, or an investment for the planet? Well, both actually. The second is obvious, but for the first i did the maths.

As a straight return (savings divided by investment) i calculate an average of 19.1%. When you consider that bank interest is taxable, then a bank would have to give an even higher interest rate to provide the same value after tax. For a mid-range tax bracket, the bank would have to offer an average of 27.3% to match the value of solar panels. And i can't see that happening any time soon :)

[Link: My calculations in detail]

PS. Obviously, i've based these calculations on the conditions in my location of Brisbane, Australia. Sunshine, electricity prices and panel costs may vary from location to location.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Deal On Solar

There's the good news and the bad news. With the new financial year here in Australia, the government's 'solar credits' rebate has been reduced. The good news is that the cost of solar panels also keeps reducing.

For example Origin are still able to offer a 1.5kW system for just $3990 (depending on where you live).
ps. I'm not necessarily endorsing Origin, but they are my energy provider, so i'm informed about their deals each time i receive my energy bill.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Globe Goes For Green Energy

One of my favourite myths to bust is the "other countries aren't doing anything" routine. A great example of the contrary is the news that global investment in renewable energy was up 32% in 2010.

And a lot of that came from developing countries. China invested the most of any country, while investment also grew in Central/South America (up 39%), the Middle East and Africa (up 104%) and India (pictured) experienced investment growth of 25% in renewable energy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Carbon Price - South Park Style

The creative young minds at the AYCC animated this little video:

They cover Australia's proposed carbon price system, using their own South Park style characters, explaining how it helps reduce pollution, and the pointing out where it doesn't far enough. Overall, they give it the 'thumbs up'.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Out Now! - Carbon Nation Movie

I've shown you the trailer. Now Carbon Nation is out on DVD and iTunes.

Use the code cn20launch to get 20% off the DVD. The DVD extras include 8 deleted scenes, 2 audio commentaries and 3 new bonus cartoons.

If you just want to see the movie, check out for a screening near you.

If you're in Brisbane, stay tuned to this blog. A friend of mine is organising screenings around the city in the coming weeks...

[See the trailer]

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Uncle Ernie

"You've got to take the science seriously - and I do", says Malcolm Turnbull, despite being politically teamed with some who are seen as waging the 'war on science'.
"I do think there has been a war on science to some extent, an attack on climate scientists. Ignoring what the CSIRO says and ignoring what leading scientists say and discounting it all is silly."

But probably the best line in his appearance at the national press club was his likening of climate change denial to...
"..ignoring your doctor's advice on the basis that someone down the pub told you his uncle Ernie lived to 95 and smoked a packet of cork-tipped cigarettes every day and drank a bottle of whisky"

[Related Link: Conservatives Love Climate Change Action]

Monday, August 08, 2011

Community Wind

One of the great things about renewable energy is that it's open to everyone - not just big companies with billions of dollars. One great example here in Australia is Hepburn Wind, a community-owned wind power enterprise.

The ABC recently did a story on the launch of the two 2-megawatt turbines, which will produce 12,200 MWh of energy each year (2300 homes worth) and the profits go back into the pockets of the community members who put up the cash to build them.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

SBS Energy Saving Tips

Last night SBS's Insight program had a great episode "Power Play", examining what causes rising electricity prices. (Short answer is increasing network costs - extra infrastructure that only gets used a few days per year).

You can watch the episode online, and also check out SBS's Tips for Energy Efficiency to save some energy in your home, and knock some dollars off that electricity bill.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Conservatives Love Climate Change Action

Does being politically conservative have to mean allowing disastrous climate change to occur, in order to chase a few short term dollars? No, it doesn't.

This week British Conservative PM David Cameron supported Australia's move to put a price on pollution.

Being conservative doesn't have to mean being irresponsible on climate change - described by Mr Cameron as a "pressing threat to prosperity and security".

In order to tackle it effectively, all major economies will need to take robust action to curb their emissions and put their economies on a more sustainable, low-carbon footing.

Your announcement sends a strong and clear signal that Australia is determined to make its contribution to addressing this challenge.

And Mr Cameron is not just talk - his government recently announced plans to reduce the UK's emissions by 50% by 2025.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ontario Ditches Coal

Continuing my Canada theme from Monday, today i'm writing about Ontario which is getting itself off coal by 2014.

Ontario's support for renewable energy already sees it employ 20,000 people - a figure which is growing - and create $20 billion in private investment. In 2011, coal use is down 90% from 2003 rates. Apart from the environmental benefits, Ontario also calculates the elimination of coal will save the health system $3 billion annually.

After all of this, it still astonishes me to think that some still believe there's a future in sticking with coal!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Carbon Tax Working Nicely

Canada's province of British Columbia introduced a carbon tax in 2008. At the time, section of the community were worried (similar to some Australians) but the fears proved groundless.

According to The Economist, the BC economy has outperformed the rest of Canada with higher growth, lower unemployment and lower income taxes. Not surprisingly, the carbon tax now has the majority support of BC residents.

At $30/tonne next year, it's a larger tax than the proposed Australian equivalent, and it includes petrol, but it's popular because it reduces emissions, reduces income tax and makes the economy stronger.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recycling Saves Energy

This poster is attached to the tables in the shopping centre food court.

I still find these stats amazing to think about. There's no way we'd leave a light on for 20 hours for no reason, but people still put bottles in the garbage - even though it wastes the same amount of energy.

A friend lives about 15km west of me. It still stuns me that recycling 6 cans saves the same amount of energy as (my share of) the bus journey to his place. But i guess that's the point of the poster - to let us know just how much energy we can save simply by using the recycle bin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clean Energy Future - Videos

The Australian government has recently released a series of advertisements about it's Clean Energy Future package. This is one of them.

The others (along with some radio spots) are available on the website.

Monday, July 18, 2011

South Korea To Cut Emissions By 30%

One of the most-used (yet untrue) excuses for not acting on climate change is the well-worn line "the rest of the world is not acting". In the past few days yet another nation has announced plans more ambitious than ours.

This time it's South Korea. You may remember me writing about their emissions trading scheme, and serious investment in renewables. Anyway, now they have announced a plan to reduce their emissions by 30% by 2020.

Meanwhile Australia's target is 5% by 2020. Remind me again Mr Polluter ... who did you say was the one not acting?

Friday, July 15, 2011

24 Hours Of Reality

24 Time Zones, 24 Hosts, 1 Message. That's the basic idea behind the Climate Reality Project - happening September 14.

In each time zone the event will kick off at 7pm, combining for a 24-hour "round-the-clock, round-the-globe snapshot of the climate crisis in real time".

The aim of the event is to "focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis ... an issue that affects every one of us". Via the internet, you can see the action at any of the locations. I'm peronally excited that Queensland (where i live) is the location for my time zone.

Link: Facebook event page

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Household Assistance Package

The Australian Government has created a website for it's Clean Energy Future package. Which is probably a better name, because the price on pollution is just part of the plan.

While there is lots of information there about the package (which might interest international readers), Australian readers might also be interested to check out the Household Estimator.

The Australian government has decided to give assistance (particularly to households that need it most) as some companies may raise their prices, rather than reduce their emissions. The estimator gives you an idea of how much assistance you will get - which is quite generous, unless you are already quite wealthy.

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