Sunday, January 29, 2012

Martin Frick - Deaths and Religion

I was playing a podcast of an ABC interview with Martin Frick. He illustrated that each degree of global warming translates into human suffering - referring to research by his organisation, showing that already 300,000 people are dying each year as a direct result of climate change.

This is the equivalent of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami every year. In all the conversation about future impacts of climate change, we can sometimes forget that it is already affect great numbers of people right now.

On a sidenote, he was in Australia for the Parliament of World Religions, and mentioned that "all the religious traditions have as a core piece of their beliefs a respect for this planet and a responsibility for this planet."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

NASA video: 100+ Years in 26 Seconds

NASA put together this sequence illustrating global temperatures from the 1880's through to 2011.

Even though i've shown temperature graphs of global warming before, there is something special about a video.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Science of Sea Level Rise

In Queensland, this weekend there is an event called Witness King Tides. It encourages the community to go out and take a photo of the weekend's king tide - to illustrate what future sea level rise might look like.

So what's the story with sea level rise? Is it worth worrying about? In the recent past, maybe not. But on a warming globe, the rate of sea level rise increases. As water heats up it expands, and as more land-based ice (like from glaciers) melts, the runoff adds to the ocean. The more temperatures rise, the greater the effect. This is the range of projections illustrated by the CSIRO.

It's quite a wide range of possible outcomes but zooming in on the bottom left hand corner, and including recent measurements, this is what we get.

Clearly, we are tracking near the very top line of the projection range. This is the pathway that leads to almost a metre of sea level rise. (Previously i've written about how such a rise would lead submerge half of Bangladesh).

That the observations are already slightly above this top line is what has the scientists worried that even the most catastrophic projections could underestimate what might happen.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Greenhouse Roulette

When i saw this diagram in a book, i thought it was a great illustration of the different results that might occur from no action (left wheel) and taking climate action (right wheel). After all, climate projections are complicated and involve a range of possible scenarios - but taking climate action improves our odds.

Then i visited the website and found it was also a game. There you can click to spin to Greenhouse Roulette wheel and compare the future with and without climate action. Being statistically-minded i did 100 spins, and the website graphs the results.

Another good way of demonstrating that climate change will happen, but taking action can greatly reduce the damage.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Climate Change Denial

It's clear what the topic of this book is. It analyses denialism of climate change scientifically, politically and psychologically.
This is profoundly ironic because at the same time the evidence has hardened up to a startling degree. And it seems to me that the harder the science becomes, the more people fall into denial because they simply don't want to face the writing that's now on the wall.

The book lists the 4 types of professional denialist (you've probably seen some on tv), the 5 types of argument they give, and numerous examples of how they completely contradict the scientific consensus.

However, amidst all the deceptive claims and completely incorrect statements made by these denialists, there was one intriguing statement:
This irrationality of destructive delusions costs communities dearly.
If it referred to the kind of denial covered in this book, then not a truer word could be spoken.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Getting Solar - The Videos

With solar power being such good value (particular here in sunny Australia) it still amazes me that more people aren't getting it. Maybe it's partially our reluctance to do things we're not familar with.

Energy Matters may have been thinking the same thing when they decided to make videos showing how their process works.

This is the first in a series of 5 videos, illustrating the process all the way from picking up the phone right through to having panels on the roof providing free energy.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Drive, Switch, Go

So far, Better Place Australia has been building up a network of electric car charge spots points in some Australian capitals (see the map). In time they'll be adding battery switch stations, to take away the worry of "How far can i go?".

As the head of Better Place puts it:
We've got a car that's more convenient. It goes as long as you want. It's not limited by range. It's not limited by time. It's cheap to buy. It actually keeps its value. The side effects? You save the world.