Thursday, May 31, 2012

A World Without Petrol

As part of the excitement around the Australian launch of the Nissan Leaf electric car, this creative video was made of alternate uses for petrol bowsers.

It's one i could watch again and again. And if the ones in the video aren't enough, check out these additional uses.

[Related links: Polar Bear ad]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Green Energy for Less

"Groupon for Greenpower" is how i heard this concept described. Catching on to the trend of group-purchasing, a community group from North Brisbane is gathering people to get a greenpower bulk price from local energy retailers.

Greenpower is a program in Australian where customers can source their energy requirements from renewable energy, simply by contacting their energy provider. The small extra cost is affordable to most people. Hopefully programs like this one can expand that to almost everyone.

[More stories on greenpower]

Monday, May 28, 2012

Time To Act

In Australia, the solar rebate will be reduced on July 1 (as i've mentioned before). To get the pre-reduction rebate, your solar PV system has to be installed by June 30.

So if you're thinking of getting yourself a system, it's worth your while to get a move on.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Religion and Climate Change

Climate change is often referred to as the great moral issue. So what does the church have to say about it? Despite what you may hear from the a certain Cardinal, the Catholic Church supports action on climate change (remember the Vatican's solar panels).

In fact, each of the faith groups here in Australia contributed to the document Common Belief. From Baptist to Buddhist; Anglican to Jewish; Muslim to Hindu; each faith group outlines why their faith means acting on climate change.

While the phrasing differs from group to group, each one supports acting on climate change - taking care of what we have, and protecting our fellow human beings who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Qld Government Scraps Solar Farm

The Queensland government has pulled funding for a solar farm in the state's northwest to save money.

That was the news today. Another example of saving a tiny amount of money at the expense of a really good initiative. Probably the best description i saw was on facebook:

Roll up, roll up - calling all positive, worthwhile, and meaningful programs, initiatives and social institutions. Here's your chance to be spectacularly axed.

By my count that's the fourth painfully unintelligent energy-related decision made by this new government. (Here are the links to one, two and three.)

I'm finding it really annoying the way each decision is pitched as "saving money" in order to sound responsible. But it's kind of like not showing up to a job interview, and claiming it was a wise decision because it saved a bus fare.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

10% Off Coffee

There's a bit of talk about how reducing greenhouse emissions might affect business. I think it depends on the business - and whether it takes the opportunity to be more efficient. One good example is a coffee shop near my work.

By encouraging customers to reuse their own cup, the business saves money on disposable cups. It's a win for business, a win for the customer, and a win for the planet. That's good business - and a convenient solution.

[Related link: Coffee - The Big Picture]

Monday, May 21, 2012

Carbon Pricing - in "Paint"

There's been a lot of complicated analysis of Australia's upcoming carbon price. One guy decided it could be better explained using the simple "Paint" program that comes on your computer.

Looking at it that way, it looks pretty good. A win for renewable energy, a win for the people - and the environment they live in.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tony Campolo Quote

"You can't be a Christian and not be an environmentalist."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

South Korea passes Emissions Trading Scheme

South Korea has just passed laws to begin an emissions trading scheme. The scheme will start on January 1 2015, with a price cap equivalent to $83/tonne - over 3 times higher than the Australian carbon price.

This was mentioned last year, along with a $36 million investment in renewable energy, and an ambitious goal to cut emission by 30% by 2020. And they seem to be well on the way - already being in the top 10 solar countries.

[Full article]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thousands of Reasons

There are lots of good reasons to get solar panels installed on your house. This is a particularly well-illustrated one - from an Australian solar retailer.

It does makes a few thousand for a solar panel system seem like a bargain!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Speed Dating

There's a lot you can do to make your home energy efficient when you're building/designing/renovating it yourself. But what's the best thing to do?
ATA have the answer.

They run an event called Speed Date a Sustainable Designer. People who are planning their own home, bring along their plans and ideas, and get to speed date 'green architects' for 10 minutes. And by the looks of it they have helpful displays to look at when you're not on a 'date'.

They are running an event in Brisbane on May 26, and in Sydney on June 23. Check out the website or video for more details.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Practicing What They Preach

I've seen several churches getting solar power. But one of the best so far is this one from Withington, England.

Apparently, this particular church has installed enough solar panels to be carbon neutral. Well done, All Angels church.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Montage - Connect the Dots

Last weekend, i posted a photo from the Brisbane Connect the Dots event. Now here's a video montage of some of the highlights from the events around the planet.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Better Ways to Spend Our Taxes

Sometimes Australians ask why the mining industry, with annual profits of $51 billion, gets $4 billion in subsidies from the government. And it's a good question.

Community group GetUp put together a graphic showing alternatives for that $4 billion. If spent on renewable energy it could build 1680 Megawatts of windpower each year.

That would definitely be a 'better way to spend our taxes'.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Connecting The Dots (Frisbees)

Today i had an enjoyable bike ride along the Brisbane River, a game of frisbee, and a picnic lunch.

What does this have to do with climate change? It was one of many events happening around the world as part of Climate Impacts Day.

This photo was taken at SouthBank, on the Brisbane River, and would have been a few metres underwater during the Queensland Floods of 2011. "Connect the Dots" refers to connecting the dots between the increasing rate of extreme weather events, and the science of climate change.

Check out photos from other events around the world.

Friday, May 04, 2012

10 Year View

At times it can be easy to get depressed about the lack of progress. So it's good to look back and see how far we've come over time.

This comparison of renewable energy doesn't even include hydropower. I'm feeling less depressed already. :)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Climate unSmart

Some more bad news in my local area. The premier has now axed the Climate Smart Home program. I've talked about this program before - it was great. Helping reduce greenhouse emissions, and helping people save on power bills at the same time. It just made so much sense.

What doesn't make sense is having a mantra of 'easing the cost of living' and then axing a program that helps people ease their cost of living. It particularly doesn't make sense to axe a bill-reducing program (that also helps the planet) to save $5 million, having just announced spending $60 million on a bill-reducing program that does nothing for the planet.

Crazy times.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Real Issue

ABC's documentary "I can change your mind about climate" was a slightly flawed format - two prominent Australians trying to convince each other. But on the upside, it did give an insight into the thinking of people against action on climate change. This clip is an example.

Though disputing the science, it's more the consequences that are being objected to. A mind that sees the cure as intolerable will actively search for a reason not do take those actions. The easiest (but perhaps the most pointless) way of doing this is to cast doubt on the diagnosis.

But as Naomi Oreskes points out, by deliberately basing a position on bad information we only ensure that more severe actions will be required later.