Friday, April 29, 2011

"Our Choice" on iPhone/iPad

Al Gore's book Our Choice (A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis) is now available in an interactive format on i-devices. [Get the app at]

Our Choice, the sequel to the book and film An Inconvenient Truth, shows (step by step) how we can solve the climate crisis using technologies that are available today.

There's an opening message from Al Gore, over 250 expandable photos (with an interactive map showing where each pic was taken), more than 30 interactive infographics, and over an hour of mini-documentary clips.

Of course, if you don't have an i-device, you can still buy the paper version.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Office Tips

The people at City Switch have compiled a little 2-pager of tips for saving energy in the office.

So if you're looking to save some energy at work tomorrow, why not download the tip sheet?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Electric Wonders

I never thought i'd see the day where i post something from ACA, but here it is. If you can stomach the tabloid style of journalism, there is actually some good info about electric vehicles in there.

Being ACA, they concentrate mainly on the enormous financial savings in fuel - by their own report, a 75% saving by using electricity instead of petrol. At the moment the cars still cost a little more than petrol ones. But if you do a fair amount of driving they can save that money back. And the higher petrol prices go, the better electric cars look.

Oh, and if the one in the video looks too small for you, don't worry. There will be many different types of electric cars. It's just that (in ACA style) this piece was pretty much an ad for one particular brand (the Alpha Lugo) with a brief mention of Better Place.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just One Cost Of Inaction

"The cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action"
It's something we hear a lot, and today one example hit home. In Carolyn Fry's book The Impacts Of Climate Change, she presents various maps - this one showed the severity of recent impacts. As an Australian, my eyes went straight there.

One-third of Australia's income from grain was wiped out by the 2006 droughts - according to the Agricultural Bureau. As climate change brings longer drier droughts, i guess that's the sort of things that will happen more often.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Climate of Change DVD

As an Easter special, i thought i'd show this clip from the Climate of Change DVD. It's from the good people at TEAR Australia, who work with the world's poorest people.

It looks mainly at Bangladesh, a country experiencing the "earliest and worst effects" of climate change despite the fact "they've done little or nothing to cause the problem".

Bangladesh experienced 5 floods in the 60s, 9 in the 70s, 16 in the 80s and 24 in the 90s. I can see why the quote in the video says..
"Forget about making poverty history
Climate change will make poverty permanent"

You can get the whole DVD here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Tonne T-shirt

Another t-shirt from the rally for climate action. This one's both clever and sensible.

After all, the current discussion here in Australia is about a suggested carbon price of maybe $20-30 per tonne - about the price of a t-shirt these days. And it does seem quite reasonable that someone putting a tonne of pollution in the air should have to pay as much as someone might pay for a t-shirt.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Going Beyond Earth Hour

The theme of this year's Earth Hour was Going Beyond The Hour. To help us out in doing this, Earth Hour has compiled a Take Action page.

Featuring tips from Australian Earth Hour ambassador Jamie Durie, it includes ideas for being earth-friendly in the home, office, backyard, shops, and when travelling. You can also share your own ideas with the other Earth Hour readers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Koalas And Climate Change

ABC's Science Show Catalyst did a fascinating piece called Koala Heatwave. It turns out that climate change is bad for koalas in 2 ways.

First is heatwaves. Koalas get their moisture from the gum leaves they eat. In heatwaves, the leaves dry out and koalas literally die of thirst. Local heatwaves in late 2009 killed about one-quarter of koalas in a couple of weeks. Climate change (with it's longer and more frequent heatwaves) will obviously be bad news for the koala.

Second thing is food. As it is, leaves aren't great, but increased carbon dioxide makes them worse. It stimulates the leaves into producing more of the toxic chemicals, and at the same time creating less protein. Clearly not a good recipe for our friend the koala.

Of course a smart koala will walk around looking for a good tree with edible leaves. But while doing so he takes the two biggest risks a koala can take - dogs and cars.

All in all, it's another good reason to tackle climate change.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Do It For Your Children

Even though serious effects of climate change are already being felt, this is nothing compared to what is predicted for the coming decades. I'm guessing this young woman doesn't have kids yet, but if/when she does, their climate is affected by what we do now.

It's kind of unfortunate that the people who are affected most don't get a say in what happens. But we can overcome that if the current generation acts with integrity, and compassion for our fellow human beings (even the ones not born yet). I hope we are capable of that. As Iain Stewart says in his documentary:
As a species we like to think that we are special. Well this is our chance to prove it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spending Our Allowance

Just heard a short but interesting interview with David Karoly about his fairplay approach to carbon emissions.

To contain global warming to 2°C, we need to restrict emissions to about one trillion tonnes, between now and 2050. (One trillion is a 1 with 12 zeroes after it - and yes, it feels odd using 'restrict' and one trillion in the same sentence).

But as big as a trillion sounds, if we divide it fairly amongst the 6.8 billion people on planet earth, it comes to about 147 tonnes per person (by my calculations). That's our "allowance" - to last us until 2050.

Now with countries like Australia, US and Canada pumping out 20-something tonnes per person each year, it becomes obvious that our "allowance", will only last about 7 years. After that we're really taking what is someone else's fair share.

It's David Karoly's opinion (and i can see his point) that developed countries should be paying for taking what fairly belongs to someone else. Either that, or start making some serious emissions reductions - starting now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More Solar Less Coal

This is another sign from the Support Rally for Climate Action. I'm suppose the extra "a" on the end is just to make it rhyme. Anyway, i like the old guy's sentiment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Much Space for Solar?

This piece of art comes from the Land Art Exhibition and illustrates how little space would be needed to meet the world's energy needs - if it all came from solar. (Click the picture for a better view)

Obviously there are many other renewable energy sources, but the artwork helps show how little area would be required. And a fair bit of that area could be on rooftops - so it doesn't take up any actual land.

Also, this is based on 2030 projections - which is way more energy than we use today.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rally Day

On the weekend i was at the Rally for Climate Action. It was a positive and pleasant atmosphere. There was a live band playing, and kids were queueing up for face-painting. Here were my top three photos.

"Planet B" was my fave photo. Apart from winning the stating-the-obvious prize, this girl was carrying a sign almost as tall as herself. That's a big effort!
(Though, sadly, it's difficult for a primary schooler to get her sign seen above the crowd, but those of us nearby appreciated it :)

This second one got in a few news photos and footage for its wittiness. Strangely there are some who still think scientists are wrong. Just as for many years some still thought the earth was flat - despite pictures of the earth from the moon.

But this third one was my favourite sign - for cutting to the heart of the matter. I find that when you dig down deep, most objections to climate action are grounded in fear of anything new or different. But we needn't be afraid. We can be intelligent and compassionate instead.

ps. there are also some good photos by John Cook]

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Faking It

ABC's Hungrybeast has a different theme each week. When this week's theme was "Faking It" i wasn't expecting anything about climate change. But then came this piece about America's infamous Koch Brothers.

Essentially, they are oil magnates with $21.5 billion each. When you're that wealthy, it's easy to spend $196,000,000 faking a case against action on climate change.

"Studies" they sponsor find that smog is good, acid rain doesn't exist, and polar bears are unaffected by melting icecaps. These results (if they weren't fake) would be very good news for oil magnates. (What a coincidence ;)

As Hungrybeast put it... "Money can't buy you love, but it can buy you a convenient truth when you need one".

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Earth And Us

Recently i've been watching How The Earth Made Us on ABC. It's a general science documentary - both amazing and educational. But there was a surprise twist in the final episode. After several episodes of how the earth has shaped our history, now the tables are turned...

We're at the beginning of a dramatic period of change. At the heart of it is the greenhouse effect - a global warming caused by the gases we release. The question is "How will the planet and our civilisation respond to this change?"
Prof Iain Stewart, concludes that "The lesson from the earth's past is that the world we know today can change out of all recognition simply by raising the level of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere."

Now it's up to us to determine whether human civilisation can continue to flourish.
We are now a geological force to rival the earth's natural forces. The ultimate test will be how well we use that power. As a species we like to think that we are special. Well this is our chance to prove it.

ps. as a side note, the documentary also contained this amazing stat: "Every year we burn about 31 billion barrels of it. That's 1000 barrels per second. The problem is it won't last. The amount of oil we're burning each year takes the planet 3 million years to make."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

It's a fair question. What kind of life can you expect from a set of solar panels? How many years of free electricity can you get?

Well if the 25-year warranty isn't enough to easy your worries, check out this energy-nerd (and i mean that in the nicest way) from America. Having got himself some solar panels way back in 1980, he took one down last year to do some tests on it.

Turn out that even after 30 years on his roof, the panel is still performing to 100% of factory specifications. Pretty impressive for something made in 1980.

Friday, April 01, 2011

4 Wheel Drives - Climate Change Solution

April Fool!
OK, it was a strange title, but that was the gist of this ironic cartoon from the Between the Lines exhibition.

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