Thursday, January 31, 2013

When the Cows Come Home

Following on from the heatwaves across the country, there is now flooding here in Queensland and New South Wales. (In some places not as bad as 2011 - in other places worse).

For people who are urging action on climate change - to avoid extreme weather - it can be frustrating to see increasing amounts of extreme weather and still little action on climate change. (Sometimes even denial that there is such a thing)

Denying global warming until the cows come home

One such person put together this pic. Surely there has to come a time when we'll decide that enough is enough - and cut greenhouse emissions to stop this getting worse.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

LED Savings Calculator

Thinking of switching your old halogen downlights for LEDs? I found this great calculator for working out how much you'll save. I did some number for my friend's recent LED purchase.

Even using them for only 2 hours a night, they still pay for themselves in a year. Over 10 years they save $233. (Not bad for $8 each.)

With those kind of energy savings it not surprising that a big uptake of LEDs would be enough to close Hazelwood (Victoria's notoriously polluting power station from the 1950s).

PS. My friend mainly likes being able to eat dinner without the extra heat of the old lights.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Renewable energy - 17 cents a day

Greenpower is so affordable. Especially now that i get 44% off. Here's an excerpt from my latest bill.

greenpower section of my electricity bill

It's a quarterly bill (93 days to be exact). So it works out around 17 cents per day. I reckon that's a bargain to switch all my energy needs to 100% renewable energy.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Channel 7 cover Climate Change

Two surprises. 1. Commercial TV did a more-than-30-seconds report on climate change.

2. It had substance. They even had Dr Karl - a great public communicator of science.

I liked Dr Karl's analogy of climate change:

It's like a bushfire that's been going since 1988 and we're still deciding whether to call the fire brigade.

This level of reporting may have been a one-off Christmas present. But i hope instead that it's Channel 7's new year's resolution. More reporting on serious world issues - less celebrity gossip.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Emissions down 8.6% after carbon price

Great news. Since having a price on carbon, Australia's electricity emissions are down 8.6%.

Partly from people going solar at home and being energy efficient. Part is due to less electricity coming from coal - and more coming from renewable energy.

Australia's emissions down by 8.6% in the first 6 months of a price on carbon

One particular paper did its usual trick of reporting a positive story, with a negative headline. Meanwhile, the AYCC contrasted this result with predictions made by the opposition leader.

Tony Abbot's comments contrasted with facts

But whatever the reaction, this is good news for Australia and for the future.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"We will respond to climate change"

Obama's focus on climate change was obvious in his inauguration speech this week.

obama's reference to climate change in his 2013 inauguration speech

His comments in full were:
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise.

That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."

I'm hoping the actions match the words.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warmer, Warmer...

It seems from recent events, that it's not America that needs to take off the blindfold but perhaps some Australians also.

character wearing a blindfold labelled climate-denial stumbles around while a character labelled science advises that he's getting warmer

As much fun as children have with the "you're getting warmer" game, it's not a game we should play with our planet.

Monday, January 21, 2013

An App that Saves You Fuel

One classic driving tip to save fuel (and emissions) is to drive smoothly, without excessive acceleration and braking. One way to make sure we do this would be to have a full glass of water in the car.

But that could get quite messy, so Toyota developed an app that simulates the same effect on your phone. It will tell you how much water you would have spilled - and show on the map where you could have driven more smoothly.

They reckon you can save 10% by taking up the challenge and training yourself to keep the water in the glass.

PS. When you get your next car, you can save even more by selecting a more fuel efficient one from the Green Vehicle Guide.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sydney's Hottest Day Ever

Sydney reached 45.8°C today (114F), smashing the previous 1939 record, and becoming the latest city to feel the effects of the 2013 Australian heatwave.

According to SBS, the immense heat caused illness, public transport chaos, and cancellation of sporting events. Even some roads were melting.

Ordinarily Canberra's hottest January day of 41.6C would be newsworthy, but not compared to Sydney.

The photo above is from the ABC news crew northwest of Sydney, were the heat caused the windscreen to smash.

It's unpleasant to think what these kind of days might be like with another 4-6°C added on top.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cause for Alarm

This cartoon caught my eye, having recently written about politicians who still ignore the scientific evidence. It's a great metaphor for people urging action on climate change and those who steadfastly refuse.

cartoon of someone trying to rescue a doubter

Also reminded me of the David Mitchell's comedy piece about doubt.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Deliberately Deceptive or Just Plain Thick?

I'd just started thinking politicians were finally getting their heads around climate change, when one particular 'pollie' managed to show three types of ignorance in just two comments.

Australia's hottest day on record, fire of climate change denial

1. No grasp of temperature

Australia had just suffered a record-breaking heatwave, including Australia's hottest ever day. His reaction? "We have hot times, we have cold times". He seems not to understand that hot days are happening more often, and the cold days are rarer.

2. No grasp of maths (or the quantity of coal emissions)

For all the trees that were burnt in the bushfire, the emissions from coal in Australia would eclipse the bushfire in about one week. That is, the bushfire emissions are 2% of coal emissions. With no connection to this reality, the same politician decided to guess that the bushfire was greater than "decades" of carbon emissions.

3. No grasp of how trees work

If the previous comment was meant to imply that the bushfire cancels out any action on climate changes, this is bizarre. Eucalypt forest regenerates after a fire, absorbing the same amount of carbon as was burnt.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell whether a politician is deliberately deceptive or just plain thick. Sometimes it might be a combination of both.

[Heatwave exacerbated by climate change]
[Fact check: bushfires and carbon]

Monday, January 14, 2013

$300 Billion at Risk

300 billion dollars is a lot of money. But that's the possible damage this century in Australia - from sea level rise alone. That consists of around 250,000 homes, and a range of other infrastructure including Sydney's main airport.

The science now has the expected sea level rise at between 0.8 and 1.1 metres. The ABC report has links to map simulations of what that might look like.

PS. i still find it a bit sad that things have to be put in dollar values for us to grasp the full severity of the impact.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Our New Normal

Australia's current heatwave and bushfires have motivated GetUp to publish this infographic. It has a lot the info i wrote about on Tuesday, with some additional stats. For instance the average maximum across Australia was over 39°C for 7 days in a row - that's an all-time record.

Click the image for a larger version

The background picture is a map of Australia showing the active bushfires as of Jan 8. The yellow bars at each capital city indicate the projected number of hot days (over 35°C) by 2100, compared to the red bars (hot days per year these days).

The original graphic is accompanied by some Stay Safe tips for heatwaves and bushfires (helpful right now) and some information on climate change and temperature increase (helpful into the future as we try to reduce the severity of these events in the future, by taking action on climate change now).

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

How hot is Australia right now?

With the heatwave that is gripping most of Australia (and some deadly bushfires) the Bureau has had to add a new colour to its temperature maps. The purple patch in the middle represents 50+ degrees Celsius. Previously, black was the highest on the scale but not any more.

Surely the climate change situation is pretty serious when we need to extend the scale we use to measure heat!

Yesterday was Australia's hottest ever day - the national average maximum was 40.33°C and the average temperature across the day (including overnight) was 32.23°C.

2013 (despite being only a week old) already accounts for 6 of Australia's 20 hottest days.

And it's not done yet. "The air mass over the inland is still heating up" according Dr Jones of the Bureau of Meteorology, who says that we may also break the all-time high of 50.7 degrees.

[Top 20 hottest days as of Jan 8]
[Weather on steriods]

Monday, January 07, 2013

See the Future

This Saturday morning is Queensland's chance to catch a glimpse of the future. Saturday's high tide will be the biggest of the year, and while this occurs naturally, it's also a realistic simulation of what future sea level rise will look like.

Witness King Tides provide this handy map. Click on a blue dot near you to find out when king tide will be. I also find willyweather to be a handy guide to the tide time in your precise location.

After the event you upload your photo and check out photos that other people have taken. Happy snapping!

[More on sea level rise]

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