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.