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Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

David Roffey

by David Roffey

Four seasons in one day
Lying in the depths of your imagination
Worlds above and worlds below
The sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the domain

Even when you're feeling warm
The temperature could drop away
Like four seasons in one day
(Neil and Tim Finn)

We've previously looked at climate change in Climate Change: where are we at?, and Warming up the energy debate. Some aspects also came up in the Peak Oil debates: Peak oil and our government: what energy crisis?, Horse dung up to our ears and in Rita, Katrina, oil and the economy.

Quite a lot has happened since the June "Warming up -" debate, in terms of studies published that look at the detail of phenomena relevant to climate change, and other relevant developments. Here are some of those things.

June 28, 2005: announcement that the US$10billion project to build ITER (the experimental nuclear fusion reactor) by 2015 will be sited in France;

June 29, 2005: the New Economics Foundation reports that costs for nuclear power have been underestimated by a factor of 3, not including costs for managing pollution and nuclear waste, insuring the nuclear power stations, and protecting them from terrorists.

June 30, 2005: the Royal Society reports on a study they commissioned: "Cuts in emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are the only way to stem the rising levels of acidity in our oceans and prevent potentially damaging consequences for marine life."

July 8, 2005: the G8 Climate Change communiqué, handily described by the New Scientist editorial (16/7/5) as "a disgrace":

Back at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 13 years ago, US president George Bush senior signed up to the proposition that rising greenhouse gases "result in" global warming. Last week, Bush the son conceded only that it is "associated with" global warming. At the very least the statement should have asserted that, to prevent dangerous climate change, concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will have to be stabilised - and that this will require large cuts in emissions in the coming decades. Rio agreed that; why not Gleneagles? The communiqué's 10-page "plan of action" commits nobody to anything substantive. It combines statements of the blindingly obvious with weasel words about "encouraging", "promoting", "exploring", "inviting" and "endorsing". Anything but doing.

Prophesy from the same 16 July issue of New Scientist: "Floridians take cover. The hurricane season is off to an early start. - This year [NOAA] predicts 12-15 named storms -" Outcome as we now know much worse than that, with a record 21st named storm under way, and the season doesn't end until 30 November.

July 28, 2005: the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate pact announced at ASEAN. US, Australia, China, India, Japan and S Korea go for cleaner coal rather than changing the world. New Scientist again:

The Australian prime minister John Howard said the deal would be "fairer" than the Kyoto Protocol, and that it "demonstrated the very strong commitment of Australia to reducing greenhouse gas emissions". But critics point out that Australia pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, having cited it as too arduous, even though it gave Australia a uniquely favourable deal under which it could increase its emissions by 8% between 1990 and 2010.

August 2, 2005: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science publish a study: "Drier summers cancel out the CO2 uptake enhancement induced by warmer springs", that questions the validity of one of the benign feedback loops in the greenhouse models, the thought that warming helps plant growth to take up the excess CO2.

August 11, 2005: Sergei Kirpotin, a botanist at Tomsk State University, Russia, and Judith Marquand at the University of Oxford report that the Siberian permafrost is melting. The sudden melting of a bog the size of France and Germany combined could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Kirpotin describes an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He says that the entire western Siberian sub-Arctic region has begun to melt, and this "has all happened in the last three or four years".

August 11, 2005: Science publishes a series of articles which remove some key planks from the skeptics' arguments against the evidence for global warming by correcting anomalous data from satellite temperature measurements.

August 2005: several US northeastern states join the 185 mayors of US cities who aim to legislate for the Kyoto Protocol limits in their bit of the US, even if the federal government won't.

September 28, 2005: The US National Snow and Ice Data Center reports: "For the fourth consecutive year, NSIDC and NASA scientists using satellite data have tracked a stunning reduction in arctic sea ice at the end of the northern summer. The persistence of near-record low extents leads the group to conclude that Arctic sea ice is likely on an accelerating, long-term decline".

September 12, 2005: University of Wollongong researchers report that a study of Irish bogs knocks out another key skeptic plank: global warming cycles are not related to cycles in solar activity.

September 24, 2005: World Bank ministerial meeting on Clean Energy and Sustainable Development: "We have an opportunity today, to think outside the box and find new ways, practical solutions, to promote the generation and diffusion of low carbon technologies and the integration of climate concerns in development strategies. Let's work together for a climate friendly future." said World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz. (Yes, that Paul Wolfowitz).

October 15, 2005: In New Scientist, William Laurence of the Smithsonian reports that the deforestation of Amazonia is accelerating:

The last three years have probably been the worst consecutive three in the basin's history. And 2004 was the second-worst on record, with a rate of destruction greater even than the severe drought years of 1997 and 1998, when a single fire consumed over 10,000 km2 of forest in Roraima in northern Brazil. The city of Manaus, where I lived, was forced to close its international airport for days because incoming pilots couldn't see through the acrid smoke. At 26,000 km2, deforestation in 2004 was second only to 1995. It is an issue that should concern us all, because as well as being a verdant carpet that covers a third of South America and an incredible refuge for plant and animal diversity, the rainforest is an enormous heat sink that helps drive global weather patterns.

October 17, 2005: a Royal Society meeting hears that the current best estimate climate change models are wrong ­ and that the Antarctic ice sheet appears to be melting a great deal faster than predicted, which could mean trouble for low-lying settlements much earlier than previous predictions.

- and the price of oil -

The oil price went above USD60pb in July and looks set to stay there (unless it goes up): fluctuations come and go by the day, but however 'good' the news, it doesn't go down more than a dollar or two. It is now much more than a year since the "unsustainable" level of USD40pb was passed, and seems to be sustaining itself after all.

October 20, 2005: Kim Beazley announces to a breathlessly waiting world the ALP's Blueprint #3 - a plan to reduce Australia's dependence on fossil fuels by turning LPG into petrol - (or something like that).

Not to worry, wealth creation will solve it all

Meanwhile, a visiting luminary of the panglossian optimists, Johan Norberg, told an audience at the Centre for Independent Studies

Sure, we have big environmental problems ahead of us. But we have even bigger problems behind us, and we managed to deal with them thanks to more wealth, knowledge and technology, and I see no reason why we wouldn't be able to continue doing that. - The long-run prospects are amazing. Today we have more people living longer lives in freer societies than ever, and we have more scientists alive today than lived in all previous periods combined, and they all get an education that is almost as long as a lifetime in earlier periods. Biotechnology, nanotechnology and robotics will create massive improvements. We will be richer, we will live longer and we will be healthier. Continents that we thought were doomed to misery will soon have the living standards we have today.

I hope he's right, but think it more likely that we should be (only slightly) rewriting Tom Lehrer's classic song:

And we will all go together when we go.
What a comforting fact that is to know.
Universal bereavement,
An inspiring achievement,
Yes, we will all go together when we go.

Oh we will all fry together when we fry.
We'll be french fried potatoes by and by.
There will be no more misery
When the world is our rotisserie,
Yes, we will all fry together when we fry.

Down by the old maelstrom,
There'll be a storm before the calm.

And we will all bake together when we bake.
There'll be nobody present at the wake.
With complete participation
In that grand incineration,
Nearly [seven] billion hunks of well-done steak. the updated bit

Oh, we will all burn together when we burn.
There'll be no need to stand and wait your turn.
When it's time for the fallout
And Saint Peter calls us all out,
We'll just drop our agendas and adjourn.

You will all go directly to your respective Valhallas.
Go directly, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollahs.

And we will all go together when we go.
Every Hottentot and every Eskimo.
When the air becomes uranious,
We will all go simultaneous.
Yes, we all will go together
When we all go together,
Yes we all will go together when we go

Greenhouse 2005

For those who are interested in a lot more detail on these subjects, the CSIRO is hosting an enormous conference in Melbourne in November, 13th -17th - Greenhouse 2005 - Action on Climate Change, with around a hundred presenters of papers and panel discussions. I will be there, and hope to report back to Webdiarists each day on what has been said, with a roundup at the end.

The Climate Change 10-point Personal Action Plan

Tim Flannery's new book, The Weather Makers has a list of things you can do that are surprisingly limited in their impact:

  1. Change to accredited Green Power
  2. Install energy-efficient hot water system
  3. Install solar panels
  4. Use energy-efficient whitegoods
  5. Use triple-A rated shower-head
  6. Use energy-efficient light globes
  7. Check fuel efficiency of next car
  8. Walk, cycle or take public transport
  9. Calculate carbon footprint
  10. Suggest a workplace audit
  11. Write to a politican about climate change

There was a much more useful list (though obviously with many overlaps) in the 10 September New Scientist:

  1. Dress for the weather: For the average house in the developed world, notching back the heating by just 1 °C, or setting the aircon 1 °C higher, will cut a third of a tonne off annual CO2 emissions.
  2. Get out of the car: A commuter making a 30-kilometre round trip in a five-door hatchback, for example, will save 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse emissions a year by taking the train instead.
  3. Get into composting: If you live in an average household, you will be chucking out around 3.5 kilograms of food a day. Two-thirds of this could be composted
  4. Fly less, especially short haul: Some air travel is hard to avoid, but many short-haul flights now operate between destinations also well served by trains. Going by train rather than plane on these journeys can reduce your emissions by 75 per cent. Best of all, go electronic and try virtual conferencing to avoid that flight altogether.
  5. Change your driving habits - or better still, your car: Of all our energy-guzzling activities, car driving is the most profligate, accounting for 40 per cent of the average person's greenhouse gas emissions outside work. The upside of this is that simply changing the way you drive can make a big difference. Cruising at 8 kilometres per hour below the speed limit rather than the same amount above it may feel odd at first, but the long-term benefits to your fuel bills will compensate. On a 10-kilometre commute to work, you will also clock up a quarter-tonne saving in greenhouse emissions over a year.
  6. Remember the appliance of science: Tonnes of plastic and metal go into making appliances, and rushing straight out to get the model with the highest efficiency rating wastes all this embodied energy. The trade-off here means that as a rule of thumb, if your appliance is less than 5 years old and still working, hold onto it. Just make sure it is running as efficiently as possible: keeping your fridge coils and door seals clean, for example, can cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 200 kilograms a year.
  7. Avoid flatulent and jet-setting food: Eating less meat and dairy will equate to fewer methane-belching ruminants - a cut of just two cow-based meals a month can reduce your family's annual greenhouse gas emissions by a third of a tonne. More important, though, is where your food comes from. Look at the country-of-origin labels in your supermarket trolley and you will realise that your groceries are better travelled than you are: by eating local produce, you can cut your food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent. For the ultimate travel-free food option, grow your own.
  8. Learn the 3 Rs: "Reduce, reuse, recycle" should be the mantra of anyone who is serious about saving the planet.
  9. Improve your ethics at work: The fight against global warming may begin at home but it needn't end there. Turning a light off has the same planet-saving potential at work as it does at home.
  10. Go green at the final checkout: Death comes to us all, but the trend of defying the process of decay through airtight bronze caskets and earthquake-proof vaults means that, along with our corpses, we also bury huge amounts of concrete, steel, copper and bronze - 1.5 million tonnes of concrete and 100,000 tonnes of steel a year in the US alone. This final testament to your conspicuous consumption can mean an extra tonne of emissions. Reject this world of silk linings and embalming fluid and instead opt for a natural burial, and you can avoid the ultimate climate-warming legacy.

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Action against coal and climate change


    Thursday 22nd December 2005
    4  - 7pm
    Civic Park, Newcastle

At 4pm on the summer solstice, join the Newcastle community protest against coal-fired electricity generation and “shut down the power for an hour”. Electricity production is the major source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, and therefore our largest contribution to climate change.

As a demonstration of the alternatives to fossil fuels, there will be a solar-powered event in Civic Park from 4pm -7pm, with stalls, bands and speakers.

Shut down your hot water system and your air con, or just go straight for the fuse box, and come to Civic Park to protest fossil fuels and celebrate the alternatives.

This event is organised by Rising Tide Newcastle and the Newcastle University Students’ Association, with support from Newcastle City Council, Hunter Community Environment Centre, and Greenpeace.

 - Adrian Whitehead, climate campaigner and founder of futureenergy.org www.fart.fm, will be your colourful Master of Ceremonies.
 - Scott Franks, of the Yarrawalk Aboriginal Corporation and Woronora Land Council, will reflect on the desecration of country in the Hunter occuring at the hands of the coal corporations.
 - Christine Phelps, of the Anvil Hill Project Watch Association, will talk about the importance of the Anvil Hill site near Muswellbrook, and the open-cut coal mine Centennial Coal propose to put there.
 - Geoff Evans, long term activist on human rights and mining issues and a director of the Mineral Policy Institute, will talk on the topic of a Just Transition away from coal for the Hunter
Vanessa Bowden, a member of Rising Tide Newcastle, will talk about energy issues in the Hunter, and Hunter coal exports.

 - Le Minibus: seven-piece Newcastle-based band perfomring a mix of traditional European Gypsy music, French songs, Tangos, Greek, Klezmer as well as American Jug music. They'll take you around the world with your ears, which is a far more ethical way to travel than planes.
 - Repercussion: six-peice Batacuda drum and percussion orchestra. Their music is based on high energy Afro-Brazilian beats, using traditional Brazilian instrumentation.
 - Dhopec: Newcastle's political hip-hopsters.
 - Newcastle Women's Chorus: a chorus of women in Newcastle.
 - Mulloobimba: a Koori dance group from Newcastle High School.

Why climate change? Why coal? Why the summer solstice?
Climate change is happening fast, and the world is running out of time to avoid its most devastating consequences. Unless global greenhouse pollution is cut by upwards of 60% in the next few decades, the predicted effects of climate change include:

• decimation or destruction of iconic ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu Wetlands, the Amazon rainforest, to name a few.

• hundreds of millions of people forced from their homelands due to rising seas, loss of arable land, and increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

• up to half of all terrestrial species extinct within our lifetimes.

In response, a group of Newcastle residents called Rising Tide has organised a community demonstration against the chief Australian cause of climate change: coal.

As midsummer and midwinter are the peak periods of electricity consumption, at 4pm on the Summer Solstice, December 22, participants will switch off their electricity  to protest Australia’s dependency on coal power. Households are encouraged to turn off their hot water systems, air conditioners, or just go straight for the fuse box. All are then invited to Civic Park for a renewable energy powered event with speakers, stalls, and entertainment.

Approximately 85% of Australia’s electricity is produced from combustion of coal, the most greenhouse intensive fossil fuel. In NSW, 98% of electricity is produced from coal, and Newcastle exports more coal than any other harbour in the world. Neither our domestic coal consumption nor our massive exports show any signs of slowing. In fact plans are afoot to build new coal-fired power stations in NSW, and to increase Newcastle coal exports by 60% in the next 5 years. It is clear that our Federal and State leaders are failing to meet their responsibilities to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Here is you chance to take matters into your own hands.

The Summer Solstice action will send a message to politicians and business that the community expects them to get serious about cutting greenhouse pollution. The people of Newcastle will lead by example, and show that all of us can unite to solve climate change.

Ph: 4960 9568

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

The Andrew Bolt / Tim Flannery link.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Gee, and you missed all of Andrew Bolt's recent pronouncements on the issue as well.

David: how could I have missed such a great scientific mind! Care to provide the links, Wil?

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Anyone in Sydney who wants to discuss Climate change and energy with me and John Kaye (UNSW and Greens Senate candidate for NSW) can do so on Thursday night at North Shore Talks at Mosman Art Gallery.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Here's an early update on the Update: the NOAA National Hurricane Centre has named Tropical Depression Alpha, taking us to the new world record for named Atlantic storms. This one is weakening rather than strengthening, so we won't get the record number of hurricanes with Alpha.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

You really have to wonder how Andrew Bolt will reflect upon his dogmatic, scientifically illiterate statements in a couple of decades' time.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

I know that no matter how hard you work to be an abstemious greenhouse gas emitter, one flight to Europe blows your personal stats into the stratosphere. And that's a bit horrible when half your family lives there.

Does anyone happen to know how ship travel compares with air travel in terms of these effects? Not that I'm in a position to take six weeks to travel to Europe, but I am curious.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

"This one is weakening rather than strengthening, so we won't get the record number of hurricanes with Alpha."

You said that like you were sad.

David: (added later): not sad, but - Alpha was never going to make landfall, given it started northeast of Florida and effectively got overrun by Wilma. It is vanishingly unlikely that there won't be another hurricane this season - it would have been better if Alpha was it rather than another Caribbean or Gulf monster.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Fakafeti lasi, Dr Roffey, for your very useful Updating of the global warming literature and the 'state of the debate'.

One document you missed was a report from the United Nations University in September on the security and humanitarian implications of global warming. The blurb from their Web Site says:

New publication series of UNU-EHS is out now: "Studies Of University: Research, Counsel, Education" (SOURCE). The series aims at students, scholars, and professionals seeking more details and in depth background information. The first issue "Threats, Challenges, Vulnerabilites and Risks in Environmental and Human Security" by Hans Günter Brauch is available for download (PDF format) here"

A story about this study moved around Pacific News Service on October 12, 2005:

TUVALU: Named 'Environmental Refugees' By UN Report

Wednesday: October 12, 2005

The small island nation of Tuvalu has been identified in a United Nations report as one of the countries that would be regarded as ‘environmental refugees.’

A deteriorating environment could drive about 50 million people from their homes by 2010 and the world needs to define a new category of “environmental” refugee, the UN University’s Institute of Environment and Human Security said.

Desertification, rising sea levels, flooding and storms linked to climate change might displace hundreds of millions of people, according to the report.

“We're ringing a kind of scientific and political alarm bell,” Janos Bogardi, head of the Bonn-based Institute, said. “We need to act.”


The Guardian, among many other outlets, picked up on this story too, adding it to its excellent 'climate change' portal.

(I refuse to use the term 'climate change' because that's what the Bush regime calls it. Semiotically, 'climate change' connotes it's something benign, not severe or threatening, like the climate changes with the seasons. My own working through some of the story can be found here, and how I did so with respect to Tuvalu seems to be pretty accurate, according to some serious climatologists who have contacted me about this report.)

You just know somebody's taking the issue seriously when the suits and corporates position themselves to leverage the risks and opportunities, as ABC Radio National's 'Background Briefing' recently reported.

One of the things which has always puzzled me was, and remains, why it seems solar power has been all but strangled at birth when we compare the effort that's gone into nuclear power since its inception in the very late 1940s and early 1950s, fully allowing for relevant scientific and technical difficulties which have been steadily overcome.

(OK, I'm not a physical scientist, or an economist, who are really bright people, and I'm not very bright because I'm a sociologist, but I can read longer sentences with some bigger words in them, and research stuff, and think fairly clearly and logically if left alone to concentrate for a while. Not bad for a journalist too... :) But I've been puzzled about this question for most of my adult life.)

I wonder where we'd be with solar power now had the same effort been deployed on solar as has been deployed into nuclear power over the same time frame.

To be sure, solar power is not for everybody, for climatic reasons as much as anything else. (I am well aware of the environmental impacts of solar. I've even read Prof Lowe and Dr Flannery, and, when I was a youngster, read work by Amory and Hunter Lovins too.)

I recall discussing solar power's applicability on one of the ideal locations in every possible respect except finance and some maintainence issues - Tuvalu - while final negotiations were in train with the Japanese Government and Japan Aid to refurbish Funafuti Atoll's ageing and very expensive diesel power plant which drones 24/7 on the eastern side of the atoll across the airstrip from the tiny airport with the best code on the planet, FUN.

The Japanese seemed to have a severe hearing problem because they just did not seem to hear the Tuvaluan government's pleas for at least consideration of a mix of diesel and solar assistance. The Tuvaluans finally just resigenedly shrugged, and redid their budget spreadsheets to factor in the continuing cost of keeping electricity generation on diesel.

This was before the latest hikes in fossil fuel prices, caused by Hurricanes Katrina and cousins, quite probably amplified by global warming, hurricanes which caused massive damage in the areas they struck, to be sure. Similar monsters would obliterate tiny countries like Tuvalu. First-hand accounts of earlier cyclones to hit the country are the stuff of nightmares.

With the Pacific Forum underway in Port Moresby, and Howard firmly stomping on the notion of "guest workers" from the Region coming here - right decision, typically wrong reasons - the idea of Australia accepting environmental refugees is also right off the agenda, though New Zealand has a modest programme for Islanders displaced by global warming (though they don't explicitly describe it in these terms).

There are only two terms which can describe Australia's constantly shifting position on global warming, sea level rise, and environmental refugees - sinful (in its properly understood theological and moral senses, which Tuvaluans understand extremely well) and obscene. It makes me ashamed to be an Australian.

David: děkuji for the promotion, Mark, but Dr Roffey is the more academic female half of the family ...

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Margaret: "Does anyone happen to know how ship travel compares with air travel in terms of these effects?"

The news isn't great Margaret. As I recall, both a 747 and an ocean liner chug fuel at roughly the same rate: about 15 tonnes per hour.

Now, while an ocean liner will typically carry 8-10 times more people, the plane is about 25 times faster.

So while planes are bad news for greenhouse gases, unless you're prepared to cram passengers in much, much more - or use sail power - ships look even worse.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Some of the most important recent insights into the carbon cycle and global warming concern long-term trends already set in motion, and not easily reversible by even the most drastic policy measures.

The pace of mechanisms in the global carbon cycle which redistribute carbon dioxide into the oceans, vegetation, soils, and other natural repositories, mean we will probably be living with the fossil-fuel-derived greenhouse gases we are producing for centuries, possibly millennia. In this respect the fossil-fuel issue is different from other types of environmental "pollution" questions – we cannot just “stop” and be assured the natural systems will absorb the gases quickly.

In particular, the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is driving
acidification in the ocean. This chemical process, with still-uncertain ecological impacts, is inevitable and inexorable. The ocean's buffering mechanisms have long, probably millennial, time scales.

In addition to the long lifetime of carbon dioxide, most of the warming already in place has occurred in the upper layers of the oceans, which are a large heat sink and will retain the excess heat for a long time. Like the long-lived carbon dioxide buildup, the oceanic heating is not easily reversible.

Proponents and opponents of fossil-fuel emissions limitations need to beware of a philosophical pitfall: the assumption that settling the scientific issues will make any particular policy step inevitable. Some in the pro-Kyoto camp labour under the implicit premise that if only policymakers and society at large could be convinced that global warming is real and due to human action, the Kyoto Protocol would be universally ratified and put into action. Not necessarily – climate science is not the only (and indeed may not be the most important) factor driving energy and carbon-emissions policy, and Kyoto is not the only possible carbon limitation scheme. Many solutions to global warming, such as nuclear power, carry environmental risks of their own.

Similarly, many opponents of limitations on fossil fuel emissions seem intent on discrediting the science of global warming as a way of forestalling action. But there are other, more immediate reasons to cut back our dependence on fossil fuels, and these rationales have much more certain science behind them. Examples include local and regional pollution which pose a public health risk. Aside from environmental risks, let's not forget the geopolitical and economic risk posed by dependence on fossil fuels.

For those who oppose steps to reduce fossil-fuel emissions, global warming may be the perfect issue. The uncertainties of impacts, and long time frames, make global warming an easy target for economic rationalist arguments for doing nothing. By making global warming the only issue in the fossil-fuels debate, environmentalists and Green politicians may be unnecessarily and counterproductively limiting the scope of the argument and narrowing policy choices.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

I did a course in energy reduction for domestic use, and at the end of it the teacher told us that as long as the population of Australia continued to increase, and manufacturing increased to feed, clothe and house them, then the energy reduction requirements were not going to be effective anyway as industry is one of the biggest contributors to atmospheric problems along with the major contributor which is the instability of radiated emmissions from the Sun. Now if the Sun is the major contributor, this may explain why the problems with the ozone are greatest at the Poles of the Earth and not above the offending countries. It would also stand to reason why the weather pattern is so irregular, and there are so many natural disasters.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Didn't take long.

Hurricane Beta now heading for Mexico.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

United Nations University predicts that by 2010 as many as 50 million new refugees may be on the move as a result of Climate Change. See Here: http://www.ehs.unu.edu/PDF/051004_final_EHSreleaseENG.pdf

Howard has better get the concentration camps ready; we are likely to be flooded by more refugees than we have ever seen. How can we continue to ignore global warming and at the same time refuse to accept more refugees?

The policies of the Howard government lack common sense.

'Environmental Refugees' are not yet recognized, but the Red Cross now says that more people are now displaced due to climate change than due to war.

We should be preparing now for an increase in our population, it will be impossible to send these refugees back; their homes may be under water or turned to desert.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

See The Neurobiology of Mass Delusion:

History is replete with examples of social organizations, whether a business or a nation, that failed to perceive the realities of a changing environment and didn't adapt in time to prevent calamity. Hubris and a self-reinforced dynamic of mass delusion characterize the waning phases of these once powerful groups. In hindsight we ask, "What were they thinking? Wasn't the situation obvious to everyone? The evidence is so clear!" Here's the question we should ask next: "Is history now repeating itself?"

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

Kim Gritten, ozone depletion is a different, though related, problem to greenhouse-gas-induced global warming.

The spatial pattern of warming (the lower atmosphere is getting warmer as the upper atmosphere cools) is consistent with the GHG-driven warming scenario, and inconsistent with solar variability. Despite many uncertainties, the picture emerging from the growing body of evidence is: the earth is warming, and at least part of the warming is due to human addition of GHGs to the atmosphere.

re: Climate change update 3: Greenhouse 2005

A lot of the climate change we are seeing is the result of burning fossil fuels, so why do we continue to do so?

In a country such as Australia, with around 70% receiving sunlight in abundance, why are we not moving to establish solar energy farms across the outback?

Here in Whyalla, we receive around 330 days of sunshine a year, a number of houses have now been adapted to catch these ultra violet rays and turn them into electricity via photovoltaic panels on their roofs, more would do so if there were no-interest loans made available to those wishing to convert to solar technology, as at around $15,000 per house it gets too expensive for most home owners to convert without assistance.

As a country we also waste fossil fuels by driving large 6, v6, v8 motor cars, cars which generally are used for short trips around the major city centres, where we should be demanding smaller more efficient vehicles.

Daewoo Australia used to sell the Daewoo Matiz in Australia, however, when Holden took over the marketing and selling of these vehicles, the removed all Daewoo Vehicles from the Australian Market.

The Matiz was an extremely reliable and efficient vehicle, it can cruise at the max 110kph speed limit comfortably, seats four adults in comfort and returns approx 16km to the litre of fuel used, even with the air conditioning operating.

What we now get bombarded with advertising for are the cars that return around 8km per litre, cars which no ordinary working family can afford to operate on the average weekly budget.

There are also fully electric vehicles built and approved for import into Australia under the current vehicle guidelines yet we are to unlikely to see them as no one has taken the opportunity to bring them here, the Indian Built G-Wiz might only be a small car, with very few features. However, at the cost of recharging working out at 0.2c per kilometer, a top speed of 90kph and a traveling distance of 60km, it is the perfect car for short trips to work or shopping.

It is up to us to convince Manufacturers and Governments to make these fuel efficient alternatives available. One way to do this is to not purchase the fuel guzzling dinosaurs they are pushing down our throats through advertising and opt for smaller more efficient vehicles.

We should also be demanding that government/s stop purchasing big cars and start utilizing cars like the G-WIZ for all departments for use in our major cities and towns in their fleets.

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