Sunday, December 31, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth conveniently on YouTube

Please note: Video has been since been pulled by YouTube. Go and see it in the big screen.

It's not like YouTube needs its profile
raised after featuring in Time Magazines Person on the Year article, but it is now hosting An Inconvenient Truth in nine 10-minute parts. Distributed freely to 16 million unique users per month, potentially, this give a huge reach to a powerpoint presentation that Al Gore's first started touting on the road 25 years or so ago. If you have seen the documentary, you could imagine Al Gore's gratification. This man who has devoted his life's work to his message, possibly the most unpopular one a messenger could have to bear, and got up and did it the old fashioned way, the hard way - going out and speaking to whoever would listen, and doing it again and again. And never quitting. City by city, family by family. At rotary town halls to the US Congress, and then some.

Jeff at Sustainablog is keeping an eye on whether it is an official release or a fan's initiative, favouring the latter possibility. If you, the newby, are blown away by what you see on YouTube, go and spend the $16.00 or so for the glacier cracking and shearing off into the ocean on the big-screen in dolby-stereo experience.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Climate change explained at the Exploratorium

The interaction offered by the Exploratorium makes a complex subject easy to understand. The key to understanding, I believe, is understanding the interrelation of everything, and this site takes you through what we know about global warming through research thrown up by the many disciplines that come together to make the science.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Could Dick Cheney make a fine British politician?

It seems that Dick Cheney has been subpoenaed on behalf of the defense in the Valerie Plume case. She was the CIA spy who was outed from her cover by someone in her government, in the lead up to the Iraq Invasion. She had contradicted the Administration's claim that Saddam had acquired yellowcake uranium from Africa. Some bloggers on the left are gleefully rubbing their hands, not seeing how Cheney could avoid perjuring himself without hiding behind the American constitution. Others point out he is just appearing for the defense and no one is likey to nail him. But where does he go if he does happen to get unbraided?

British politics perhaps? :::[Huffington Post]

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Global warming mind-map

Someone has drawn up a pretty good mind-map for the global warming mindful . :::[Breakfast Lunch Dinner]

I don't know about the only having two kids, though. If people want to and have the means to have more children, that's their business. And they can carbon off-set their kids if they so choose, or even calculate them in as carbon sinks when working out their carbon footprints - all carbon based life is a carbon sink. As for eating less meat? I don't know about that either. I eat a little less of it anyway, for health reasons, but I love it. And if a cow we eat is a net carbon-sink, despite being a huge greenhouse contributor, then I figure that I am doing my bit to fight global warming by sinking my teeth into a giant t-bone steak.

June 24, 2007.

That someone has contacted me, a Jane Genovese. It was her and her mum who drew the mind-map, and she runs a company giving students tools to study, called Learning Fundamentals. I am so pleased to be able to credit both of you - it's a great piece of work, and very popular.

Read Jane Genovese bio here (turns out she's Aussie also), and she has some great workshop resources to help young people educate themselves on the most important environmental issue the world is facing (Global Warming: Too Hot to Handle?).

From Jane's email:

I have updated the mindmap with some new information.
You can see it at


You mentioned that you didn't agree with the 'have only
2 children' part on the mindmap. We decided to put this
in as exponential population growth contributes largely
to global warming.

Keep up the great work,

Jane Genovese

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Prophets of Hope preach sanity, War on Terror officially over in the UK

Battersea Power Station became the focus for an intelligent global warming protest statement on November 1st, highlighting the threat of climate change relative to terrorism.

Two pieces of projected text read "How ironic to live in fear of terrorism and die of climate change" and "The ultimate terror threat is climate change". The projections were carried out by a group calling themselves The Prophets of Hope. Global Warming Watch's own straw poll in the sidebar shows that 69.2% of people nominate global warming as their biggest fear, vs global terror at 18.8% and global pandemic at 12%.

Prophets of Hope Myspace Prophets of Hope Website

Running time: 05:10
H/t: Calvin Jones of Climate Change Action

In a sign of the times, not long ago this would have been seen as radical action, and on the margin, but events are moving fast these days, and the Prophet of Hope message is quickly becoming mainstream and at least the bit about terrorism has become the subject of British Government action, even if the Stern Report didn't. :::[SMH: Britain to drop 'war on terror' usage]

Britain's foreign affairs ministry has urged government officials to stop using the US term "war on terror" amid concerns it angers British Muslims and undermines government aims, a weekly newspaper said today.

The government wants to "avoid reinforcing and giving succour to the terrorists' narrative by using language that, taken out of context, could be counter-productive", a British Foreign Office spokesman told The Observer newspaper.

The Foreign Office has sent the same message to cabinet ministers as well as diplomats and other government representatives around the world, according to the report.

"We tend to emphasise upholding shared values as a means to counter terrorists," the spokesman was quoted as saying.

Many British officials and experts, the weekly said, suspect that Islamist extremists find it easier to recruit followers when western governments speak of a war on terror, by suggesting it is actually a war against Islam.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

'Truthiness' is US Word of 2006

In a tribute to the cut-through power of comedy, satirist and TV talk-show host Stephen Colbert's October 2005 coining of the term "truthiness" has been elevated to the US word of 2006, by Merriam-Webster.

"Truthiness" as defined by Colbert is "truth that comes from the gut, not books." :::[SMH]

"We're at a point where what constitutes truth is a question on a lot of people's minds, and truth has become up for grabs," said Merriam-Webster president John Morse. "'Truthiness' is a playful way for us to think about a very important issue."

Colbert hosts 'The Colbert Report', a parody of combative, conservative talk shows, where he does a great line in global warming skepticism, the core of which is truthiness' great capacity to comfortable navigate the rocky reefs of the findings thrown up by peer-reviewed climate science.

Colbert, who once derided the people at Merriam-Webster as the "word police" and a bunch of "wordinistas," was pleased.

"Though I'm no fan of reference books and their fact-based agendas, I am a fan of anyone who chooses to honour me," he said in an email to The Associated Press.

"And what an honour," he said. "Truthiness now joins the lexicographical pantheon with words like 'squash,' 'merry,' 'crumpet,' 'the,' 'xylophone,' 'circuitous,' 'others' and others."

"Truthiness" was initially introduced by Colbert in October 2005 but took on a life of its own in May 2006, when Colbert addressed the White House Annual Press Corps dinner where he skillfully deboned a squirming Bush: :::[Colbert makes sushi meal of Bush]. This did not play well with the tame white house press audience at the time but thanks to the Internet Colbert's speaking comic power to Bush's truthiness was too much of a triumph for punters to appreciate in silence. A week after Colbert's address a rapidly deployed fan site, had recorded 50,000 heart-felt thank yous. :::[50,000 thank yous paint a picture for Bush]. In the address the largest response from an otherwise stunned audience was when Colbert satirised Bush's stance on global warming.

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British Treasury hard astern, Stern steams ahead.

Sir Nicholas Stern, the globally coolest economist and the author of the world's most influential recent report on climate change is exiting the good ship British Treasury. Clashes with Chancellor Gordon Brown have been rumoured. There seems to be something of principle at stake for Sir Nicholas Stern. :::[SMH]

The news came a day after Mr Brown made a pre-budget statement that embraced virtually none of the recommendations of the Stern report, and dashed hopes the Blair Government would move swiftly to a new environmental agenda.

Brown had been trying to sideline Stern by commissioning him to write the report, but this came back to bite him on the bum. There will be more in the future as the reality of global warming keeps bumping into the rhetoric of the denialist and skeptic.

Sir Nicholas issued a statement saying he had planned the move for some time and had hugely enjoyed working with Mr Brown. But relations between the two men are widely known to be tense, a Downing Street policy adviser said. It was understood that Mr Brown had initially asked Sir Nicholas to write his report in order to sideline him, and that it only achieved global prominence because of its timeliness.

The report says that fighting climate change will save, not cost, the global economy money, and has been hugely influential around the world. Many environment ministers quoted it in addresses to the global summit in Nairobi last month. The Guardian described Sir Nicholas, 60, as the first climate change rock star.

He will leave in March to take a chair at the London School of Economics. The Government lured him from the World Bank, where he was chief economist, in 2003.

The Stern report recommends using carbon and other green taxes as part of a comprehensive response to global warming. Its most significant finding is that the cost of effectively fighting climate change is just 1 percent of GDP. Just 1 percent.

Mr Brown's proposed new air tax on 75% of of flights increases amount to just 0.1 per cent of GDP. From £5 ($A12) to £10.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Trend maps of Australia warming for 95 years

If you go to the trend maps at the BoM website you get a series of maps showing the trends of rainfall, temperature, sea surface, and pan evaporation across Australia over the 20th century.

By selecting Mean Temperature from the drop down menus, and Australia, Annual season, and the period 1910-present (2005), and you can display an at-a-a-glance graphic representation of effects of global warming for those criteria.

The trend clearly is to warming, and we know that is currently at 2°C per decade. By playing around with the seasons you can see that summer, winter and autumn all show warming and cooling in what seems to the untrained eye to be a relative equilibrium, but spring is different. Spring is clearly when the warming is happening.

How much of that is due to land clearing over the 95 years? If carbon dioxide is not being transformed into furious spurts of spring growth by plants and trees, because they have been cleared, then it becomes apparent that there is a build up of heat-retaining atmospheric carbon dioxide carrying over into the next seasonal cycle, causing the warming trend from year to year. How much of a contribution comes from emitting into the atmosphere, and how much of it is because carbon-dioxide is not being taken out of the atmosphere by photosynthesis?

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Howard airs his global warming stance

From Rocco Bloggo, the resident SMH blogging cartoonist, the story behind his latest cartoon.

:::[Rocco Bloggo: Howard and the whole parched truth]
... and adds that the upcoming election may be hindering Mr Howard from stating the real hard facts on global warming. A good example being how the price of energy will probably go right up through the ozone layer, and then further.
So according to Peter, Mr Howard underplays the problem.

If you are interested in the craft of the cartoonist, click the link to read the various stages Rocco goes through in creating a cartoon to accompany an article, in this case it was Peter Hartcher's story on Howard's inflexibility on global warming action being eroded by one of his own. :::[SMH: Next trick: saving the planet]

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Global Cool Watch: Mug a global warming skeptic

Very hot.

This Christmas, give someone you love the gift of foresight and give them a Global Warming Mug.

Each mug is covered with a map of the world. When you pour in a hot beverage, the mug shows what happens when the world heats up and the oceans begin to rise... Land mass disappears before your very eyes! :::[Wacky Planet]

h/t Nexus 6

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But does carbon capture and storage really work?

The Australian Government, and its coal industry (Or with the industry greenhouse mafiosos writing the Government's energy policy, is it the other way round?) has decided that future technologies preserving non-renewable energy sources are going to be the way to fight against climate change. By that they mean carbon capture technology, oxymoronically called 'clean-coal'.

And nuclear.  But the only way we are going to make nuclear cheap, is if we make coal expensive; i.e. if we burn clean coal. That's the theory we are bring sold, so what's the real plan? :::[SMH: Slow burn for carbon capture technology]

TECHNOLOGY to capture and store carbon pollution from a coal-fired power station on a large scale will be operating at only a handful of sites around the world by 2020, a coal industry report says.

There are nine large carbon capture and storage experiments under way, according to an international coal lobby group, the World Coal Institute. But even if they all stay on schedule, they will only be able to dispose of carbon generated from the equivalent of about four large coal-fired power plants.

"The race is on to have the first coal-fired carbon capture and storage demonstration project operating at a commercial scale," said the institute in a report issued on Tuesday. "A number of projects are vying for the honours in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the USA."

The plan is scaring me, Mr Howard. When you can cut your lighting energy by 75% today by srewing in energy efficient bulbs, it's absurd that you can only give me four large power station being able to carbon geo-sequester in the whole world, and by 2020. How much of the Western Arctic Iceshelf would have bumped into New Zealand by then while your plan is still trying to get off the ground?

If we don't soon move past the stage where the more things change -- like the climate -- the more they stay the same -- like politics -- we're in trouble. Howard needs to consider people other than the coal and uranium industries in charting our energy future.

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Global Cool Watch: Wind powered robot kinetic sculptures

Very cool.

Theo Jansen is the Dutch creator of what he calls “Kinetic Sculptures,” where nature and technology meet. Essentially these sculptures are robots powered by the wind only. :::[Ministry of Tech]

h/t Nexus 6

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