Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Australia vs Germany

With the Olympics underway, it's a good time for an international competition. This infographic from AYCC compares the solar and renewable energy efforts of sunny Australia with not-so-sunny Germany.

It should probably should be remembered that Germany has almost 4 times Australia's population. But that doesn't really explain why the are producing almost 100 times as much solar power from far less sun.

The message is clear. Australia should Go for Gold(en sunshine)

[Click for a larger version of the graphic]
UPDATE: Obviously these stats keep changing over time. I read that as of the middle of 2012 Germany is now at 28,000 MW.
And here's an updated graphic from AYCC.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Morals - Not Just Economics

Dr Richard Denniss spoke at the recent national meeting of Australia's Uniting Church, encouraging the church to continue to advocate for social issues - including tackling climate change.

He said the for issues of "justice and equity" it shold not be left to economics alone. "As high priests of finance we have nothing to contribute to questions of morality or justice."

Speaking primarily about climate change, but also other issues, he pointed out that
"We make choices all the time. We can afford to tackle expensive problems we had never heard of, yet we look ourselves in the eye (or our leaders do) and tell us that we can’t afford to tackle a suite of other problems."
He congratulated the church for thinking about the social issues and for providing a moral view on issues like climate change.

[Full report]

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Funnies - Oil

[Satire warning: While I'm sure there are people somewhere who are saying this with a straight face, rest assured that i'm putting this here as satire/irony.]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

USA Droughts

Ok, there's been a bit of talk about how severe the US droughts are at the moment. For me, this graphic gave it some perspective.

Watch the animated version to see how it developed from Jan 2011 to now.

Monday, July 23, 2012

World Targets

Occasionally i write about the more lofty goals of other countries, with regarding tackling climate change. The AYCC have put a sample of them together in this little infographic.

Of course there are more that aren't listed - but i think it makes a good point.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Funnies - Petrol Station Prank

In Brazil they still have actual service attendants who come out and fill the car for you. At the recent Rio Conference some Nissan people took the chance surprise a few attendants by driving up in the Nissan Leaf electric car.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keep Science In Schools

Here in Queensland the governing party had its state conference recently, and passed a motion to remove climate science from the school science curriculum. Understandably, scientists regard the proposal as "extremely harmful".

The AYCC have started up a petition to implore the Premier to ignore this proposal, and instead allow our kids a full and proper education.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Save 75% on electricity?

When i first saw the following stat (as part of the greenpower infographic) i thought two things...

1. Austalia sure consumes a lot of electricity. 2. I wonder if that average looks low because of under-developed nations.

Number 1 is true. Number 2 only partially. It turns out that even Germany is around that world average, according to other data.

Seems that we could make massive cuts into our electricity bills (and greenhouse emissions) just by being more energy efficient.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The AirPod

With all the excitement about electric cars as they become mainstream (and available at a dealer near you) it's easy to forget about another alternative - compressed air.

This technology uses compressed air (hopefully compressed by electricity from renewable energy) to power pistons similar to those in a conventional engine. It's a nice little video (thanks Alistair for the link) - and if you look carefully (at around 2min 48sec) you'll see the car that i talked about back in 2007.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Under A Cloud

The first day of Australia's carbon price came and went with no disastrous consequences. However, you may get a different view listening to the small gathering of protesters on July 1. I think this cartoon summed it up best.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coal Power Station Closed

The owners of Munmorah power station have retired the coal-fired plant.

Built way back in 1967, 2 of the 4 generators were decommisioned decades ago. The final two haven't produced any power since 2010. Since then the owners have been keeping them on 'standby' incase they were needed again. But they haven't been.

Seems that it's partially because of energy efficiency (meaning don't use as much energy), partially renewables taking its place, and partially that it was just an old inefficient plant.

[Related Link: Coal and Nuclear on the Nose]

PS. Since i wrote this, more coal-fired power stations have closed - as demonstrated by AYCC's graphic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Really Not That Big - Part 2

The people at the Australia Institute also crunched the numbers from the household perspective (as well as from the national perspective)

Turns out that the carbon impact on the household budget is less than 'confectionary' - what we spend on lollies and chocolate. Hardly scary stuff.

The carbon impact is also overshadowed by the amount of food we throw away each week and the average amount spent on cigarettes.

It's also very small next to the amount the average household spends on junk food - or alchohol. And once the government payments and taax cuts are taken into account, then it becomes small compared to anything.

[see Part 1]

Monday, July 09, 2012

Carbon Price Already Effective

A study from the Australian National University has found that
Seven out of 10 representatives from the big emitters said their companies had already cut emissions in anticipation of the carbon price, and 84 per cent said they expected to make cuts over the next three years.
Seems the carbon price is already working a treat.

Also, despite the claims of the Australia's current opposition, 79 percent believe a carbon price will still be around in 2020.

[Full article]

Thursday, July 05, 2012

It's Really Not That Big - Part 1

There's been a fair bit of hysteria about the impact of a carbon price here in Austalia, with exaggerated claims about the economic impact leading to false fears. Some even described it as a 'great big new tax'. It's a slogan which rolled off the tongue. But is it actually true? Well, no.

The Australia Institute did this comparison as part of their analysis of the price on carbon. Way down the list, it comes in 9th. Less than alcohol and tobacco tax - and less than insurance tax (which i didn't even know existed).

And of course, it is completely dwarfed by income tax, company tax and the GST. (For international readers, that's Australia's 10% consumption tax on goods and services).

Possibly the only thing 'great' and 'big' about the carbon price (that little red rectangle) was the beat-up that opponents gave it.

[see Part 2]

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Proud to be Tackling Climate Change

A number of prominent and respected Australians have come together for this video marking the start of a price on carbon emissions in Australia.

Featuring Dr John Hewson, Peter Cundall, Dr Patrick McGorry, rugby star David Pocock, and Dr Rosemary Stanton, the video has a great message:
Now we're investing in clean, renewable energy, that’s better for our health, and the health of our planet. Together, we can ensure that the best bits about living here will still be here for our kids.

Important changes like this are never easy – and they’re often controversial. But Australia’s future is worth the investment. We’re proud to be tackling climate change.
The group that put it together are hoping to air it during this weekend's rugby match (featuring David Pocock). Find out more at tacklingclimate.com

Monday, July 02, 2012

30 Ways To Beat The Tax

With Australia's carbon price starting this week, there are essentially two groups of people in Australia
1. Those on lower incomes - who will receive payments and tax cuts equal to (or greater than) any carbon-related costs.
2. Those sufficiently well-off that they can afford to pay a bit extra (which will go towards renewable energy, and supporting the people in group 1).

However, both groups are probably interested in reducing the amount they pay for electricity.

Tanya Ha, writing for the ABC has compiled 30 simple ways to beat the carbon tax. With the 'tax' being a mere $3.30 per week, these 30 tips could save that much - or even more.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Carbon Tax Day - All Is Well

Today is July 1 - the official start of a price on carbon in Australia. Despite all the hysterical claims made by those opposed, the sun did indeed rise this morning.

Also, for those who were worried for the township of Whyalla, they do have a webcam - so you can assure yourself that it still exists - and has not been "wiped off the map" or "become a ghost town".