Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rudd wins Australian Federal Election on Green vote

Well, that is it. The Australian electorate so convincingly repudiated the meanness and pettiness that became there trademark of the Howard Liberal government. Some rejected Howard's attack on refugees, and their inhumane detention centres. Some rejected the lies, and broken core-promise/non core-promise distinctions. Some rejected the way Hicks was treated in Gitmo Bay. WMB. Many rejected the way we went into the Iraq war, and as many rejected the unneeded assault on workers conditions going by the Orwellian Worchoices name.

For me, it was some of the above, but mainly, mainly because Australia will finally ratify Kyoto, and take our place among the responsible nations of the world committed to taking on the challenge of climate change. All the other stuff will seem like the trivial concerns of humans if we don't take up the fight to minimise global warming, and win.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

GHG set to rise by 57 percent by 2030 — that's 3 degrees C

We have to peak by 2012, or...
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Emissions of greenhouse gases will rise by 57 percent by 2030 compared to current levels, leading to a rise in Earth's surface temperature of at least three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.

The IPCC said that to limit the average increase in global temperatures to 2.4 C (4.3 F) -- the most optimistic of any of its scenarios -- the concentration of greenhouse gases would have to stabilise at 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

To achieve the 450ppm target would mean that CO2 from energy sources would have to peak by 2012, and this would require a massive drive in energy efficiency and switch to non-fossil fuels, the report said.

"Exceptionally quick and vigorous action by all countries and unprecedented technological advances, entailing, substantial costs, would be needed to make this case a reality."
the IEA said
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

IPCC Synthesis "...abrupt or irreversible climate changes and impacts..."

Heart-heavy reading, with an impact like the doctor telling you that you have a very serious problem:

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Global warming could be irreversible: IPCC

Posted 2 hours 48 minutes ago — AAP

The UN's Nobel-winning panel on climate change completed a draft report that said the consequences of global warming could be "irreversible".

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) encapsulates a massive review of the global warming issue, with the goal of guiding policy-makers for the next five years.

Human activities "could lead to abrupt or irreversible climate changes and impacts," the agreed text said.

The so-called synthesis report summarises the main points from three massive documents issued this year covering the evidence for climate change; the present and possible future impacts of it; and the options for tackling the peril.

After Saturday, attention will shift to a meeting in Bali, Indonesia, next month.

Governments will try to set down a 'roadmap' for negotiations that will end in a deal to cut carbon emissions and help developing nations adapt to climate change.

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2:39 AM: Well, that was the ABC carrying AAP. A quick Google shows that the Brisbane Times are the only other media to pick up this story so far. There's a lot more detail, starting with the death-knell for climate change denialism:

The IPCC experts agreed that the rise in Earth's temperature observed in the past few decades was principally due to human causes, not natural ones, as "climate skeptics" often aver.

The impacts of climate change are already visible, in the form of retreating glaciers and snow loss in alpine regions, thinning Arctic summer sea ice and thawing permafrost, according to predictions in the three IPCC reports issued earlier this year.

By 2100, global average surface temperatures could rise by between 1.1 C (1.98 F) and 6.4 C (11.52 F) compared to 1980-99 levels, while sea levels will rise by between 18 and 59 centimetres (7.2 and 23.2 inches), according to the IPCC's forecast.

Heatwaves, rainstorms, drought, tropical cyclones and surges in sea level are among the events expected to become more frequent, more widespread and/or more intense this century.

As a result, water shortages, hunger, flooding and damage to homes will be a heightened threat.

"All countries" will be affected, says the IPCC. Those bearing the brunt, though, will be poor countries which incidentally bear the least responsibility for creating the problem.

Yan Hong, deputy secretary of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), one of the IPCC's two parent bodies, warned on Monday that climate change bore "potential implications for world peace" by intensifying squabbles over water, food and energy.

"It could also lead to massive population resettlement, especially to urban areas that may not have capacity to shelter, feed and employ them," he said.

The IPCC won this year's Nobel Peace Prize alongside climate campaigner and former US vice president Al Gore.

The panel, comprising specialists in atmospheric chemistry, ocean biology, glaciation, economics and many other disciplines, issues regular reviews, called assessment reports, on global warming.

It has been widely praised for the impartiality and objectivity of its reports, although this year some experts have said its review process may be too conservative and slow-moving to assess what now transpires to be a fast-moving problem.

This year's is the fourth assessment report since the IPCC was established in 1988 by the WMO and UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

© 2007 AFP

Saturday, November 10, 2007

UK law mandates 60% emissions cuts by 2050

Good effort by the UK Government under Gordon Brown — becoming the first nation in history to put carbon emissions reductions into law.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has committed the UK to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60% before 2050 to help tackle global warming.

While the bill will also enforce reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of between 26% and 32% by 2020, Mr Brown previously said he would consult the new committee to see if bigger reductions were required.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Most of world ready to combat global warming. Someone tell the politicians

A major change in how we tackle climate change is around the corner, if a new BBC Poll is on the money...
the poll suggests that in many countries people are more willing than their governments to contemplate serious changes to their lifestyles to combat global warming.
Overall, 83% of respondents throughout the world agreed that individuals would definitely or probably have to make lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of climate-changing gases they produce.
Graphs showing how many people think lifestyles need to change, and how many people think energy costs will have to increase


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Most ready for 'green sacrifices'

Earth from space
The poll suggests the public are more ready than politicians

Most people are ready to make personal sacrifices to address climate change, according to a BBC poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries.

Four out of five people indicated they were prepared to change their lifestyle - even in the US and China, the world's two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide.

Opinion was split over tax rises on oil and coal - 44% against, 50% in favour.

Support would rise if the cash was used to boost efficiency and find new energy sources, the poll suggested.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

How much scientific abuse can a polar bear?

A favourite deceit of AGW sceptics is to present Bjorn Lomberg as a "scientist." He isn't. His PhD is in Political Science — a humanity.

There are different methodologies between those used in "hard" and social sciences. Social sciences don't really use the scientific method. This is clearly demonstrated through out a recent interview with Bjorn, and was especially telling in the discussion of Bjorn's use of polar bears.

Here is a response to the writer quoting one expert's opinion (a front-line researcher in polar bears).

"OK. But I've talked to a different expert that's up in Greenland, who works for the Danish government, and he has looked over my chapter, and said that it's OK."

If only all experts were equal.

Bjorn's referencing of another expert is supposed to counter the point, but he never makes a commitment on which has the better data and the better hypothesis — a fundamental step in hard science.

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Bjorn Lomborg's new book attacked by a polar bear

31 Aug 07

It seems there may be a bit of last minute damage control over at the Bjorn Lomborg camp.

A heavy piece of the marketing campaign for Lomborg's new book Cool It was the author's claim that polar bear populations are increasing. Lomborg uses this as evidence of his argument the consequences of global warming are more hype than reality.

And the marketing of Lomborg's contentious claim seemed to be working. That is until's Kevin Beger took Lomborg to task over the claim. Beger levels the polar bear claim leaving Lomborg's only defense to say: "OK. But I've talked to a different expert that's up in Greenland, who works for the Danish government, and he has looked over my chapter, and said that it's OK."

Now, Lomborg's book review on Amazon no longer carries any mention of polar bears, but the google entry for Amazon still has the original polar bear claim here for all of us to see. It is too late for a correction.
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Vote 1 — responsible approach to climate change

The main question for me in the Australian Federal Election, with three weeks to go (thank god) is, "who now has the best climate change policy?" Of course the economy is important, but how can anyone not see that the economy is but a sub-system within a larger environment? A failing environment will ultimately cause a failing economy. Health, education — they are all up there for me — but they will nay amount to a hill-o-beans for our kids and grandkids, if we don't arrest the development of more extreme scenarios modelled in IPCC 4.

I predicted that this would be a green election, and thus it has turned out.

It's the 2020 emissions reductions targets, stupid.

John Howard has set targets for 2050, and so has Rudd. Only the Greens have set intermediary targets for 2020.

  • reduce greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2020 (80% by 2050)

Life is a long game. I see a big future for the Greens with policies like that. Howard still hasn't got it. Labor lost my interest when they re-nuanced Garrett's declaration that Labor would not wait for China to sign the Kyoto Protocol before signing.

I have a lot of respect for Garrett, politically, and as the activist musician of yesteryear — it's his call to diverge from his stated principles and stick to Labor's changing party line — but they lose my confidence. I'm pleased that The Greens and Labor have agreed to swap preferences.

Vote 1 The Greens in the Senate

The ideal outcome for me would be to see Labor throw this deceitful government out, with the help of the Greens, who go on to secure the balance of power in the Senate. The preference swap is one step towards this. Don't know who I'll vote for in the house, but it won't be Barry O'Farrell, not that I will make a dent in Bradfield. Wish I still lived in Wentworth, what with all that barristerial battering of the current member. I do like Turnbull for the most part, though, he just picked the wrong party, and approved the wrong pulp-mill in the wrong way.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

10 year old boy masters 10 languages using CD-Roms

One boy's amazing gift keeps on giving — for ten countries so far.
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A boy genius of 10 has stunned teachers by learning to speak 10 languages.

Arpan Sharma taught himself French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swahili, Mandarin, Polish, Thai and the difficult Lugandan language of Uganda. He also learned Hindi from his mum and dad.

The gifted primary school pupil from Oldbury, West Mids, studied using CD-roms.

He learned Italian fluently at seven, German at eight, and Spanish when he was nine.

But he admitted: "Learning Swahili was probably one of the biggest challenges I've faced and Mandarin Chinese was hard too."

Deputy Headmaster Richard Lynn, of Blue Coat School, Edgbaston, Birmingham, said: "Arpan is a language genius, a natural when it comes to listening to an exact pronunciation and repeating it perfectly."

Arpan wants to be a surgeon and work in hospitals abroad and speak each country's tongue.

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Californian dreaming of massive plankton CO2 sequestering

Global warming is going to be fought and solved in myriads of ways, and enterprise is going to be one one the the major players. Here is one possible way to fight global warming developed by a Californian eco-restoration firm, Planktos — by restoring marine plankton levels to 1980 levels.

A Californian firm has found a way of re-oxygenating the world’s oceans, which it firmly believes will help combat global warming. Using the latest technology, leading eco-restoration firm, Planktos, is planning to replenish the sea’s floating plankton forests, which absorb half the Earth’s carbon dioxide and generate half the Earth’s oxygen.

Simply restoring the marine plankton that has been lost since 1980 could sink and sequester billions of tons of carbon dioxide each year. It can also regenerate billions of tons of lost ocean nourishment for collapsing fisheries, birds and whales.
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