Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Melbourne Heatwave

Ironically, after posting yesterday about heat, i found out that the Melbourne (and the rest of Victoria) was having another heatwave. Mildura was the hottest at 45.5°C (113.9°F) - their hottest November day since 1905.

And last night was also a record. Melbourne didn't get below 24.6°C (76.3°F) - Melbourne's hottest November night since 1901.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Taking Australia's Temperature

In the season finale of Catalyst, they did a special episode Taking Australia's Temperature - taking a local look at the effects of global warming.

It's pretty interesting stuff. In the parts of Australia that get snow, it's melting earlier and quicker than in the past. Melbourne's heatwave, broke the previous February record by more than 3 full degrees - reaching 48.5°C (115.7°F). In some heatwaves, flocks of birds are dying as they fall to the ground.

There are jokes that if it gets too bad we could all move to Tasmania. But Brown Brothers winery is serious. They've bought up property in Tasmania to avoid having their wine (and their business) ruined by high temperatures.

Of course some will say that this is just 'natural variability' or 'random chance'. But the planet has had 330 months of above average temperature. Imagine tossing a coin - and getting the same result 330 times in a row. Or your sports team losing 330 games in a row. Some things can't be put down to chance.

[Read the transcript or see the video.]

Friday, November 23, 2012

Creating Value

I often wonder how we'll look back on these times. I think this cartoon sums it up well.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

$500 of LEDs to be won

A local LED Store here in Brisbane is running a competition. The winner (drawn at random) wins $500 worth of LEDs from their shop.

All you have to do is like their facebook page and enter your email address.

Each LED that replaces a halogen saves you about $15 per year. Multiply that by the number of halogens you could replace, and it could save you hundreds each year (as well as quite a few greenhouse emissions).

Monday, November 19, 2012

LEDs at Aldi

Chatting to a friend at work, who tells me that he just found some affordable LED downlights to replace the old halogen energy-suckers.

He tells me they're available at Aldi for $7.99, which is a fair bargain. They use just 8 Watts - but do the job of a 50 Watt halogen. Even at just 2 hours use per night, we worked out they pay for themselves in under a year - through electricity savings. And being LEDs, they'll probably last until his pre-school kids have finished high school.

PS. Quick calculation. Over the lifetime stated in the picture (25,000 hours) each LED downlight would save $266 compared to the halogen equivalent. (Not bad for an 8 buck investment.)

UPDATE: If you're looking to replace some halogens with LEDs, i've since discovered a handy LED Savings Calculator.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Solar Credits ending

Today the federal government announced an early end to the Solar Credits scheme - halving the assistance Australians get to install solar - effective 1 January 2013.

The government says this will save money, but analysis of the figures, calculates the savings to be 20 cents per household per week.

Anyway, the upshot is that you can still get solar credits. If you get a system installed in 2012 solar credits still apply. Also, if you signed a contract before today to get them installed by 30 June 2013, solar credits will still apply.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Win Prizes in the Recycling Quiz

For National Recycling Week here in Australia, Planet Ark have a Recycling Quiz, where you can test your knowledge of recycling, and also win some planet-friendly prizes.

For the record i got 7 from 7 - but i think everyone who completes the quiz is a chance of winning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dirty Weather Report

It's almost time for the Dirty Weather Report. It's called that because of the recent extreme weather (eg Hurricane Sandy) that is made worse by our dirty energy pollution causing climate change.

I guess it's also a play on words - because extreme weather is sometimes described with some 'unclean' language.

Similar to last year's event, it will travel around the globe visiting one timezone after another, starting in New York at 8pm. See the schedule for details.

[RSVP on facebook]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Greenpower - Save 44%

It's not often the electricity company tells you about a price decrease, but that's what happened to me recently. A 44% decrease - because i buy greenpower.

Ordinary electricity went up slightly in July due to the carbon price. But because renewable energy doesn't produce carbon pollution, it makes sense that its price should stay the same. This is effectively what this discount does - it takes the carbon price out of my electricity costs.

One of the great things about a carbon price is that it makes renewable energy more attractive for investors. Now this is true for us normal people as well - with the cost of going renewable now 44% cheaper. Thankyou carbon price.

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Sound of a Leaf

This neat little video shows just how quiet a Leaf is - one thing i couldn't photograph during my Leaf ride.
(Note: Turn up the volume to hear the clip properly)

Of course, this feature won't be appealing to drag-racers, and those who buy the loudest car they can find. But for the rest of us, it's another advantage of the electric car.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election Funds

OK, so the US election is over, but 350's petition continues. They're asking the big oil companies to donate to help the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.

Given that climate change (driven by fossil fuels) makes hurricanes worse, it seems a fairer use of the money - than making more politcal donations.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The People Have Spoken

The results are in! Recently a community initiative gave Australians a say in the review of the Renewable Energy Target. Turns out we love renewable energy.

Almost everyone wants to see an increased renewable energy target (from 20% by 2020). The vast majority also want to see a 2030 target of at least 50% renewable energy.

Let's see if the people get what they want.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Carbon Nightmare

One of my favourite comedy programs is The Hamster Wheel (aka "the Chaser"). Last night, they did this piece on the "scare" around a price on carbon.

Basically, they satirise the politicians/media that were milking the carbon fear campaign for votes/viewers. It's astounding the obscure things that were blamed on carbon. Newspaper staff losing their job. Even a man driving his car into a pile of dirt.

With the benefit of hindsight most people have worked out that it's nowhere near as bad as all the hype. Of course, we knew this already. But it's just funnier when the Chaser point it out.

PS. Viewer warning: there's a tiny bit of vulgarity in the clip.