Saturday, October 14, 2023

EV Subsidy for Second-hand Electric Vehicles

Have I mentioned GoodCar before? This company imports second-hand electric vehicles from Japan to Australia, so that we have more affordable options than buying new.

This month they have launched their own GoodCar $3,000 EV subsidy, which can be subtracted from their already-low prices. 

As I write this, their cheapest EV is $19,000, is in 5-star condition, and has just 13,000 kms on it. Check out their range.

Combined with the running-cost savings of thousands of dollars year after year, switching to an electric vehicle has become a very viable option. GoodCar say charging an electric car is like filling your tank for $10. (Calculate your savings here)

The subsidy runs out on 20 October 2023.

Want the subsidy to be ongoing? Sign the petition

Goodcar are funding this subsidy out of their own pocket, and believe government's should help everyday Australians purchase second-hand electric cars - not just wealthier Australians get brand-new ones. If you agree, why not sign their petition.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Carbon World Cup

How will Australia go in this year's World Cup? That's the big sporting question in Australia at the moment. Other teams in Australia's group are France, Denmark and Tunisia. Statistically, Australia should probably lose all three games.

If the game was carbon pollution, Australia would be the highest scorer by far. Our nation out-pollutes Denmark by 3 to 1, France 4 to 1 and Tunisia 6 to 1. Those scores would be great in soccer, but in climate change they are terrible for Australia - and for the world.

In fact in the hole tournament, the only country that could match us would be host nation Qatar. That's the level Australia is at. As a nation we've got a lot of improving to do - and I don't mean in soccer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

What's with these power price rises?

There's been a lot of talk about power price rises here in Australia. So what's causing it?

Short answer: Old coal-fired power stations that keep breaking down.

In detailed terms, here's a chart from finance reporter Elysse Morgan, showing the power output of AGL's coal-fired power stations over the last month or so.

The purple line at the top is what they would normally be producing - if the stations were all functional, and not having "unplanned outages". The difference is around a million homes.

Of course the electricity grid normally makes up for this shortfall by having gas-fired power stations operate as a backup. But this is quite expensive. Perhaps because the shortage is so large. Perhaps because the gas price (globally) is so high at the moment. Perhaps a combination of the two.

The result is that energy costs more, as shown in this graph of energy prices in the states of Queensland (QLD) and Victoria (VIC).

Elysse Morgan points out that Western Australia (WA), as a gas-exporting state, requires companies to provide gas for WA first (at a fixed price).

As a sidenote she also points out that renewables like wind and solar also have a stable and low per-unit cost - as the power source is free.

Ah, if only we'd built more of that earlier. 

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Wasn't 2020 bad enough? (without breaking climate records too)

2020 will be remembered for different things - but it was also yet another stinker of a year from a climate perspective.

2020 was the second hottest year on record - just 0.02 degrees Celsius behind 2016's record. That's virtually a dead heat. In Europe and Asia 2020 actually was the warmest year on record.

This is a bit worrying considering that in weather terms it's a La Nina year - meaning that it's cooler than we would otherwise expect.

In the bigger picture, the last seven years (2014 - 2020) are the seven hottest since records began (in 1880).

The ten hottest years have all occurred since 2005.

More worrying still is that many people I know weren't even born the last time we had a regular-temperature year.

Further fascinating graphs

I've done a number of these posts over the years - and it's scary how each record-breaking change in climate change is surpassed by another (as you can see on the above graph). Here are my posts for the years 2009201020132014 and 2017.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

3 million Aussie solar homes

Australia has now passed the amazing milestone of 3 million solar homes. Even in 2020, around 370,000 homes got solar.

It seems like only yesterday that I was writing a post about Australia reaching 1 million homes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Alan Kohler and climate change

Usually the finance guy on the news shows charts of interest rates, inflation, company performance and sharemarket movements. So it was a little bit surprising to see this last night.

It comes from the latest IPCC report. You can read more about that here and here. But the basics are that we are likely to exceed 1.5 degrees of warming (considered the upper limit of what would be a "viable" society) by 2030.

For Australia this means "fires are projected to get worse and more frequent, and fire seasons will last longer. In eastern Australia, if warming exceeds 2C, then droughts are projected to increase. Across southern Australia drought has already increased, and projections suggest that will worsen."

So why is this on the finance report?

I did some digging and finance journalist Alan Kohler has doing a fair bit of research in this area.

He wrote an article about Australian businesses that are taking advantage of the move to electric vehicles, and the massive drop in the cost of renewable energy.

He's also written an article titled Australia's solar tsunami to trigger coal collapse - explaining how inflexible coal-fired power stations are on the brink of being unprofitable and closing. That's another business story, similar to the way Netflix made Blockbuster unviable.

Business is about managing risks

More recently Alan Kohler has written about how Australia manages risk. When a vaccine has a 0.0011% chance of a side effect we take steps to avoid that risk. But when a country faces a risk (climate change) that is hundreds of times more likely we seem to do nothing.

He says that a "4 degree rise in the average global temperature would make large parts of the planet uninhabitable and lead to the total collapse of the banking system."

Even if we avoid that, a mere 2 degrees of warming (which is still quite likely) would mean "the banking system barely survives".

It seems that climate change information should be very important to the finance community. And all of us.

PS. Zooming in on that graph (and the current steep slope) it looks like we need to get serious about putting the brakes on pretty soon - if we're going to have any chance of keeping under 1.5 or even 2 degrees.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Greener Vehicle Use

I was recently clearing out some paperwork and found this little list of tips for greener vehicle use. I'm assuming it they came from a seminar of some sort.

Anyway here they are, with my comments in brackets:

  • Minimise vehicle use 
  • Do multiple errands on one trip
  • Utilise nearby shops (as opposed to distant ones)
  • Avoid peak hour wherever possible (so much petrol consumed going at walking pace or standing still - fortunately electric cars are far better in this aspect)
  • Drive in high gear at about 1500-2500 rpm
  • Drive smoothly and avoid unnecessary acceleration
  • Minimise fuel wasted in idling
  • Speed kills (not just lives but petrol too) - a journey uses 5% more fuel if travelled 110kmh compared to 90km/h
  • Minimise drag - roof racks, spoilers, open windows can increase fuel consumption by 20%
  • Inflate tyres - also gives longer life and better handling
  • Air conditioning uses 10% extra fuel, but if you're travelling faster then 80km/h then it's better than leaving the windows open
  • Travel light (having the bag of golf clubs permanently in the boot weighs you down)
  • Service regularly

Hope that help you reduce your fuel bills and your emissions.

Of course, the biggest and maybe simplest thing you can do is (next time you get a new car) choose one with low fuel consumption. The Green Vehicle Guide is the place to go to compare cars available in Australia.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Future We Choose

The Future We Choose is unique in its format. Near the beginning the authors describe two worlds - one in which take no climate action and the other where we do everything right. It's a stark difference and if that's all that this book brought I would have been happy with that. But there's more.

There's a few chapters on mindset - often so much of how we respond is due to the way we think. Then there's a section on actions. But not the normal type of actions.

Often in books on climate change the list of actions will include things like turning off appliances when not using them, changing light bulbs, and using reusable shopping bags. Those are all good things, and are should be done. But there's more.

This book goes a bit deeper with the actions. Some are psychological - let go of the old world, face your grief. Others are about who we are - seeing ourselves as citizens not consumers engaging in politics. Others are practical actions - reforesting the earth, and investing in a clean economy.

Overall it's a great read - and helpful way to overcome the overwhelm and focus our attitudes and actions to make a difference.

Friday, November 29, 2019

State of Play: who's winning the clean energy race

In the absence of meaningful action at a federal level, it's mostly up to Australian states to do the heavy lifting in the renewable energy area.

Here's the Climate Council's assessment of how those states are going.


Since last year's list, South Australia has leapt to to the top of the list with most of their power coming from renewables and a 100% target for 2030.

The Australian Capital Territory has also overtaken Tasmania and looks set to hit 100% renewable energy in the new year.

At the other end

It's not just the time zones that sees Western Australian behind the other states. They've moved from last to second last place with an "aspirational" net-zero emissions target by 2050. That's nice but not much. I guess that's why they're still "at the starting blocks".

Here at home

My home state of Queensland wins the "most improved" with lots of solar being installed over the past year, but still not enough to reach the 2030 target of 50% renewable energy.

It's bizarre that the "sunshine state" has just 8.8% renewable energy (including hydropower) and only 5.6% from solar and wind.

Here's how each state does on renewable energy (light blue) and solar and win energy (darker shaded area).

Download the full report from the Climate Council.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Fires and how to ignore them: a politician's guide

Even if you're reading this outside Australia, you've probably heard about the enormous areas of bushfire through Eastern Australia.

Climate change and fires

Clearly this is related to climate change. This map shows the changes in forest fire danger over the last four decades.

Brown represents more danger, blue less. The more intense the colour bigger the change.

Something to talk about?

But leaders don't want to talk about it. You'd think leaders would be keen to address something that threatens the citizens. But apparently not.

They didn't want to talk about it in 2013 - or during any bushfire since - or on any other day. I think that's what prompts cartoons like this.

Not Today

My favourite bit of satire was this video by Mark Humphries and Jan Fran. (Aussies, look out for a clever cameo part way through the video)

News (satire) headlines

Some of my favourite satirical headlines are:

Why the laughs?

Aside from the map (Bureau of Meteorology) I've focussed a bit on the humour and satire side of this. It's mainly a situation where one has to laugh or one would cry (or get really frustrated).

It's simply astounding that governments not only have no interest in solving the problem, but also no interest in even discussing what is killing people and destroying homes.

This month it's bushfires. For ages it's been drought. Later it will be another climate-change-assisted disaster. The reaction seems to stay the same. :(

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Clean energy, cheap prices

Last night, Alan Kohler summed it up on ABC News:

Electricity prices are falling because of all the renewable energy being built.

It's common economic knowledge that when you increase supply of a product, the price goes down. But for some reason politicians continue to pretend it's the environment versus the economy. It's not.

If we build more clean energy, prices keep coming down and everyone can pay less for power. Sounds like a convenient solution!

Related posts

Powershop - switch and save - see how you can save by switching to a renewable-friendly electricity provider.

Are there jobs in renewable energy? - here's another way clean energy helps our economy.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Brisbane's 20 best signs (Global Climate March)

Today is a global climate "strike". Around the world people are gathering to support (perhaps even insist) on climate action.

The park was packed

In Brisbane today's event was the biggest the city has seen. So much so that the park could not hold all the people. Fortunately, the street had already been blocked off. People stood on the road and on the footpaths of adjacent blocks.

Let's get to the signs

I've always been a fan of people's creative signs for these events. Here are some of Brisbane's best.


With this being the last day of school term, there were lots of kids there (with their parent's permission) and a number of signs were about that.

Some signs featured the Dr Seuss character The Lorax.


Old people showed up for their kids grandkids ... and great grandkids.

Positive encouragement

Witty Signs

Some signs were quite clever, like this one from a university staff member (presumably the health faculty):

This one starts by saying "I like my planet the way I like my men..."


Some were just frustrated with the government's lack of action.

That last one is a reference to the current prime minister saying the schoolkids shouldn't be speaking up for the future (being "activist").

What a wonderful world

Some just wanted to say what a wonderful thing the earth is.

Want more?

See some highlights from previous events - Schoolkids strikeof 2018 - I want some action - Scientists

Monday, August 19, 2019

Australia sinks island hopes

At the recent Pacific Island Forum, Australia has appeared to prefer burning coal to saving lives

The leaders of the Small Island States had all agreed to a declaration for stronger action on climate change. Perhaps not surprising considering these nations' future existence is at stake. But then Australia stepped in.

Instead of giving them what they need (action on climate change) Australia gave them foreign aid money. Cartoonist Cath Wilcox illustrated how (not) useful that is.

And even worse, it's not extra money - it's been redirected away from other foreign aid orther worthy programs no have to go without.

So basically Australia, having heard that climate is the biggest issue for all these Pacific Island nations is not giving one extra dollar and not reducing pollution by one single gram.

Back in Australia, the Deputy (and acting) Prime Minister made some bizarre remarks about fruit-picking, and also,

“I also get a little bit annoyed when we have people in those sorts of countries pointing the finger at Australia and say we should be shutting down all our resources sector so that, you know, they will continue to survive,”

Two things here. First is the exaggeration/lie about what was being asked - it was only ever about coal. Second is the display of priorities where he seems to be saying that a polluting industry is more important than people's lives - that he wants to continue burning and exporting coal forever - even if it wipes out several nations along the way. Stunning.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Climate Change: The Facts - by David Attenborough

If you missed last night's ABC screening of Climate Change: The Facts here's the link to see it on iview.

David Attenborough's Climate Change: The Facts

There's an explanation of climate change, it's impacts and what we can do to reduce it. Being a David Attenborough documentary it also contains some amazing footage:

  • Australian bats littered on the ground after a heatwave, (perhaps turn away at that point if you're an animal lover)
  • Dashcam footage as a father and son driving through a bushfire to escape it - only to realise that was impossible, (their escape was quite miraculous)
  • Flames coming out of ice. This was a demonstration of the quantity of ice-trapped methane in the permafrost. When this permafrost melts (due to climate change) this methane will be released and cause even more climate change. This is what's called a tipping point.

There's also amazing stats:

  • British heatwaves are 30 times more likely than in the 70's.
  • Greenland is losing ice at 5 times the rate that it was just 25 years ago.
  • The US state of Louisiana is losing land the size of a football field every 45 mins - due to sea level rise - and already people have had to abandon their homes.

Sometimes our tendency is to avoid change even when it's necessary. It's important to remember that the "cost of action is dwarfed by the cost of inaction".

Some more David:
David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Earth can't keep up

If you spend your whole year's income in 7 months, that's not good. That's what we're doing to the Earth.

Today (29 July 2019) is Earth Overshoot Day. That's the earliest it's ever been. Already this year we've used up a year's worth of natural resources. To put it another way, what we use in a year takes 1.7 years for the earth to regenerate.

It hasn't always been this bad

In 1970 the date was at the end of the year. We were using the exact amount of resources that Earth could replenish. Yes, there's more people today, but with our advanced technology and better choices we can get our of ecological debt.

Australia hasn't improved

If everyone behaved like Australians, we would need 4 Earths to sustain us. Our overshoot date is March 31 (same as last year) and is one of the worst. (Yes, the USA is still a bit worse).

Is your country not here?

See if you can find your country on this calendar. (The later your country's overshoot date, the better).