Wooohooo ! AIT wins an Oscar !

26 02 2007

Thinkprogress.org has the video of the announcement.  Be sure to check out Gore’s “big announcement” in the clip further down on the same page.

 A red-letter day.

An inconvenient truth


Tune in to Four Corners tonight.

26 02 2007

The ABC presents a documentary from its sister organisation the CBC on Four Corners tonight.  Entitled “The Denial Machine”, it explores the concerted efforts by a small group of North American scientists and business interests to muddy the waters about the science of global warming. If you miss it, the CBC generously lets us watch it online. Gotta love public broadcasting.   Just click on the tiny red video symbol on this page.

Global Warming Predictions

Ex-journo goes head to head with the PM in his electorate

26 02 2007

Frm my home electorate of Bennelong in Sydney’s northwest comes news that respected ABC journalist Maxine McKew is to run against John Howard in this year’s federal election.  Could be interesting given Bennelong’s increasingly marginal status.  See 2004 results.  She’s got a pretty tough task ahead.

 Here’s the story from the ABC on Windows Media Video (broadband).

 Maxine McKew

Carbon trading must be well overdue !

26 02 2007

Coal Power Plant - Germany

News this morning that Australia’s power companies are pleading for a carbon trading scheme.  Clearly an idea whose time has come.  So what’s the problem?  Who exactly, apart from a handful of federal government ministers, is against the idea (or at least dragging the chain)? 

Here’s the story from ABC online.

The great aviation debate

24 02 2007

trailsThe daily transit argues that air travel offers huge benefits to society and that we should tackle automobiles before touching airlines.

The trouble is that air travel contributes disproportionately to global warming.  A trip from Amsterdam to Phuket for two people by air contributes more to atmospheric CO2 than driving a car for AN ENTIRE YEAR.

Air travel unequivocally needs to be brought within the carbon capping and trading mechanisms.  There is no reason for it to be specially privileged.  To do otherwise is to externalise the cost of flying onto the environment.

I cherish my international travel experieces like most others, but it is absurd to imagine that air travel can continue to grow EXPONENTIALLY into the foreseeable future as is currently the case.

Certainly there are social benefits to travel.  I wonder if there are social costs too.  Perhaps the more accessible a place becomes the more it becomes anywheresville.  Generica.  Easy to get to but not worth visiting.  It’s impossible to visit a place without changing it in some way.  Are we losing global cultural diversity as we all strive to be “cosmopolitan”?  Just a few thoughts.  For my two bobs worth – bring back the romance of train trips and sea-faring !!  Air travel is fun, but not if it costs the Earth.

Mr Howard – the protectionist

19 02 2007

The Sydney Morning Herald paraphrases John Howard in an article from 11th February.John Howard

 “PM:  carbon market will have to protect industry”

What a topsy-turvy way of looking at things.  Surely the PM’s approach should be – a carbon market will have to protect Australian citizens, citizens of other nations and our global environment.

How succesful would we be at limiting global warming if a carbon market had as a key goal the protection of  industry.  We know too that the inference here is heavy industry – coal mining, aluminium extraction, blue chip industries generally.  It certainly seems an odd thing for an economic liberal to talk about protecting certain industries.  He hasn’t worried too much about textiles, manufacturing, agricultural protection in the past, so why suddenly leap to the salvation of industries which, left unrestrained, will bring us all unstuck?

The transcript of the original interview on the Sunday program is here.

Global warming – doubt and uncertainty remain

19 02 2007

…..but not over the reality of global warming.  Rather, whether we are underestimating it’s scale.

This letter in the Age tells us why:

 SENATOR Minchin is right ( The Age, 18/2): there is intense scientific debate about climate change. However, the debate is not about the reality of human-induced climate change; the debate is about whether or not predictions from the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change (and similar predictions by Al Gore) underestimate the likely extent of climate change.

The debate is about such things as the strength of climate feedbacks. Feedbacks are when climate impacts add to the causes of climate change and consequently magnify the human influences on climate. Barrie Pittock, formerly of CSIRO, includes several emission feedback mechanisms in a recent summary of ways in which consensus science may be underestimating the degree of climate change. Over the 21st century, the amount of extra carbon dioxide added by such feedbacks may equal all human inputs over the 20th century as warming and drying trigger processes that emit more greenhouse gases.

Currently these concerns fall short of the IPCC’s criterion of “well-established science”. The IPCC consensus process is slow and cautious. Developing well-established science for climate feedbacks is where the real scientific debate over climate change is taking place.

Meanwhile, the US journal Science is about to publish a study showing that recent years have followed the high end of projections made by the IPCC in 2001.
Professor Ian Enting, former head of the greenhouse gas modelling team at CSIRO, University of Melbourne