Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rowan Williams on Climate Change

Our present ecological crisis, the biggest single practical threat to our human existence in the middle to long term, has, religious people would say, a great deal to do with our failure to think of the world as existing in relation to the mystery of God, not just as a huge warehouse of stuff to be used for our convenience.
I thought it appropriate for Easter Sunday to share this quote from the former Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Anglican church) from his book Tokens of Trust: An introduction to Christian belief.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Earth Hour Wrap-Up 2013

Most of the Sydney Opera House was turned off - except for some green lights powered by renewable energy - as part of Earth Hour Australia's theme of Switch on to renewable energy.

Sydney Opera House during Earth Hour 2013

With more than 7000 cities taking part, Earth Hour has an inspiring summary - including stories from India, Libya, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Jamaica.

Earth Hour window lights in the shape of a bicycle

First-timers included Palestine, Suriname, Rwanda and Tunisia. Also for the first time Russia's Kremlin turned out the lights.

Tunisia celebrating Earth Hour for the first time

More pics from the Guardian
Before/after pics from National Geographic

Next Earth Hour is Saturday 29 March, 2014. Until then, go beyond the hour :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The price OF carbon

Here in Australia, as in many other countries, we are fortunate enough to have a price on carbon. Not so in the USA though. Hence the need for videos like The Price of Carbon.

It points out that carbon costs us a price. Extreme weather alone has cost the USA around $100 billion in relief funds, as well as increasing people's insurance premiums and food prices.

Pricing carbon puts the cost back on the polluters - to make them pay for what they are costing us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Australians want renewable energy

In a survey for Earth Hour, 87% of Australians want more action on renewable energy. The public also think that the renewable energy target should be higher than the current 20% by 2020.

more solar panels being installed

Australia is 31st in the world for renewable energy production. Most Australians thought it would have been better than that. Perhaps this is another indication that the rest of the world is moving faster than we think.

More details from Earth Hour.
Related Link: World Targets

Monday, March 18, 2013

More Bargain LEDs at Aldi

This week Aldi have some bargains on LED lighting. If you haven't yet changed your old-style incandescents, you can pick up one of these LEDs. They're also the same shape as the old ones (if you're not a fan of the CFL 'spiral' look).

LED bulbs - incandescent replacments

As for brightness, the 4W is equivalent to a 25W incandescent bulb. The 6W equal to 35W old-style, and the 8W equal to 48W (note: see the update below). By the way, I calculate switching one 60W old-style to an 800 lumen LED (10W), would save $18.50 in energy each year (assuming 4 hours use per night).

Also, if you've got lamps with small finnecky bulbs that were hard to match in CFL, there are also some LED equivalents for these.

LED bulbs - small incandescent equivalents

As before, these Aldi sales are limited stock, so if you're reading this in April, don't get your hopes up.

UPDATE: By the time i went on saturday, there were no 10W's left in that store - and only a few 8W and 6W. In terms of brightness, LEDs are improving al the time. While these ones were a big bargain at $10.99, for a bit more money you can get even more efficient ones - like a 5W (400 lumens) to replace a 60W bulb, or a 10W (810 lumen) to replace an old 100W bulb.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Your money or your life"

Cartoon: Climate change threatens our existence and economy

In years gone by, thieves would approach their target with the phrase "your money or your life", offering the unfortunate victim a choice of which to give up. Not surprisingly, most chose to give up the money.

I'm showing this cartoon because sometimes i wonder if today we are more alarmed by the potential loss of money (even if it means only being very well-off instead of very very well-off) than we are by the threats to our existence.

Related link: What if ...?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Coal museum goes solar

Fans of irony like may be amused by Wales' coal museum getting solar panels. As a measure of how great solar is, the system cost £70,000 and is estimated to save £400,000 in electricity costs, with any extra energy being sold to the grid.

It could also be described as a case of putting things where they belong - coal in a museum and solar on rooftops.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


This provided me with a good chuckle.

Related Links:
Arguing with the wind

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jobs for Victorians

Here are some job stats from Australia, to go with the American job stats I posted last week.

Solar jobs compared to coal jobs in Victoria Australia

It's a fairly simple graphic for a fairly simple message. Imagine the jobs if renewables were a larger part of our energy supply.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Why a little change is a big deal

I found this kind of graphic helpful to understand why a few degrees of warming makes a big difference - particularly with heatwaves.

Most of the time the temperature is in the big middle area - and we don't really notice an extra degree or two. But when the temperature gets past a certain point, that's when we really feel it.

So even a small bit of increase, means that the 'hot end' is now in record territory (like we had this Australian summer). Also, the amount of hot days (that aren't quite records) has increased dramatically.

In the previous climate, hot days used to be a small little triangle (about the size of the red bit). But as the planet warms, many more days are now in that hot zone - as shown by the red and yellow areas.

It might be a small change in temperature (so far) but it means a big difference in the amount of hot days we experience.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

More Jobs in Solar

Solar energy - even with just a small part of the energy mix - employs more Americans than coal does.

graphic showing that there are more solar jobs in the USA than coal jobs

Good news for the planet. Good news for employment. Surely renewables are the obvious way to go.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Bad News and Good News

The World Bank has put this video clip together, about the effects of a world that's 4 degrees warmer. (They are one of a number of groups who have crunched the numbers and realised that we're in big trouble).

The bad news is that the effects of 4 degrees warming are incredibly severe. The good news is that we can still do something about it if we start now.

[Related link: Global Warming worse than we thought]

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Angry Summer

Last week i listed some of Australia's extreme temperatures of the summer. In The Angry Summer, the Climate Commission detail the weather extremes we experienced. Here are just 23 of the 123 records set.

infographic displaying just 23 of the 123 records set during the 2012/13 Australian summer

As well as recording the extreme rainfall and flooding, heatwaves and bushfires, the report pointed out that climate change is already occuring, and is adversely affecting Australians. Also, that it is likely this will get worse (particularly if we don't do anything about it) and we should get ready for even more extreme weather in the years to come.

In the ABC news coverage, the Climate Commission describe it as the "climate on steroids". It's an accurate analogy - a whole new bunch of records being set, in ways that just aren't natural.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Make a Pledge - Win Solar Panels

Earth Hour is coming up on March 23. This year's theme in Australia is "switch off for good". Switching off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy.

Australian earth hour pledge to switch to solar

Australians can take the pledge to switch to renewables - either by installing solar power at home, or by purchasing GreenPower from their electricity company. Everyone who makes the pledge (including those who have already switched) goes into the draw for a 3kW solar electricity system.

PS. on the site, i also spotted this neat little graphic showing the complexity of making electricity from fossil fuels compared to the simplicity of solar.

Comparison of the complexity of fossil fuel electricity to the simplicity of solar. How to make fossil fuel electricity. How to make Solar Electricity.

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