Friday, March 30, 2012

What does LEGO make?

I have fond childhood memories of Lego. So i was quite pleased to the company is investing in renewable energy.

They are investing over half a billion dollars in wind energy. It's so fitting that a company that has been such a huge part of children's lives is playing a role in securing a better future for those children.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is A Half-Truth A Lie?

I've written a few entries about the things said by some politicians to try to excuse their lack of (or outright opposition to) action on climate change. One that i saw this week was the half-truth about electricity prices.

A forecast increase of 11% this year was quoted. It's a half-truth because it's said in a way that leads the listener to think that whole number is attributable to the action (in Australia's case a carbon price). This kind of politician doesn't ever say what the increase would be without action. It might have been 10, 10.5, 10.99% - or maybe even greater than 11%.

In fact, long-time readers will remember my analysis of prices in my home state - going up 54% in 4 years with no price on carbon. By that measure, an increase of a mere 11% sounds like a dream. Or at least not as much of a nightmare as the shady politician would have us believe.

Of course, knowledgable people know the main factor increasing electricity prices has nothing to do with carbon, and that (if anything) extra renewable energy can drive down prices. But this doesn't stop some politicians weasling out of taking action, and giving us a half-truth to pretending their inaction is doing us a favour.

I guess i say this to help people spot when their rightful concern about increasing bills is being preyed upon by people trying to camouflage their own inability to take action.

Monday, March 26, 2012

CSIRO Home Energy Project

Save money on your power bills by taking part in a Home Energy Project. It's quick, easy and free! - that's the message from CSIRO.

I certainly sounds attractive offer. Apart from getting paid to take part in top-class science research, the results of the research help you save money. But time is limited.

3 April 2012 is the closing date to register. So if you're in an eligible home (newer than 9 years, and in Brisbane, Adelaide or Mebourne) get in quick to register for the program. (More info on the Home Energy Project website).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Earth Hour 2012 - I Will If You Will

Earth Hour is almost here again. This year's theme is "I will if you will" as explained by the examples in the ad below.

Both celebrities and ordinary people are making pledges/challenges to their fan-base or their friends. See more examples on the Earth Hour's facebook.

It's amazing to think that this huge event started just 6 years ago, in one city. Official Videos: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
[See also: 2011 tv ad]

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Are We Ready?

The Climate Institute ranks the Low Carbon Competitiveness of some of the world's major countries. In the rankings, Austalia is around the level of Mexico and India.

The stats cover 1995-2008, and the saddest part is that Australia was the only country in the study to have a lower score at the end than at the beginning. In preparing for a low-carbon world, we were going backwards.

Fortunately, we've made some progress in the last year or two.

[Download the full report]

Thursday, March 15, 2012

State of the Climate 2012

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO this week released their report State of the Climate 2012. It reconfirms what we know already: there's more greenhouse gas than before, it's hotter than before and sea levels are rising.

And it also contained this graph of world temperatures - updated to include 2011. The blue indicates La Nina years, which are generally colder than average. 2011 seems to be the 11th hottest year on record (where all 11 have occured in the last 14 years). Out of the La Nina years, it's the hottest one so far.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

100 Place To Go Before They Disappear

The title of this book is a slight exaggeration. Not all of the places will completely disappear from climate change. But each of them could be dramatically affected.

We often think of islands and low-level coastal countries when we think of countries at risk. But reading this book, that is only part of the story.

Here's some of entry 28 (Paris):
In 2003 a heat wave struck Europe. It hit France particularly hard. 14,802 'excess deaths' were recorded. There were so many deaths that unclaimed bodies had to be kept in a refrigerated warehouse outside Paris. Across Europe 35,000 people died because of this heat wave. It is predicted that later this century that kind of heat will be the summer norm.

Near the beginning, the book has a world map with each of the 100 places marked. Wherever you are, there's one not far away.

[The content is also available on the 100 places website]

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Australian Solar Rebates

A friend of mine is looking at getting solar panels, but is slightly concerned because she heard the rebate has been reduced. That was last year, as shown in this table from the Solar Credits fact sheet.

But it's still at 3 until July. So i advise my friend to go ahead with her plans. If she's worried about rebates, all the more reason to get in before it reduces again.

What the multiplier gets multiplied by depends on the solar strength in your part of Australia. Here in Brisbane it's about $1200. That's a pretty good motivator to act before June 30.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Energy Efficiency Saves Lives

Previously i've shown you the trailer for the movie Carbon Nation. This is one clip from that movie, showing how the US army used energy efficiency to save fuel, money, and soldiers lives.

It just makes sense in so many ways.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

"What The Frack?" Song

Thic music video is pretty good at quickly explaining the "fracking" process that's caused so much controversy - and it's connection to climate change. (And at the same time being a catchy tune)

The lyric "Water's on fire" refers to the astounding 'trick' local residents can perform by holding a lighter near a running tap - and starting a fire from the flammable chemicals within the water. (video here)

For more info see the documentary Gasland. (trailer here)