Australia to breech international wetlands convention?

22 04 2007

Murray-Darling wetlands

Until it is revealed which Murray-Darling wetlands are to be drained, then we can’t know the answer to this question.   According to this ABC online news article, there are 10 wetlands on the Murray-Darling listed for protection under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

What a tragedy that it has come to this.


Sound familiar?

21 04 2007

Take a look at the tactics listed below, used in a well-known global environmental crisis.  Maybe not the one your thinking of though.

  • Launch a public relations campaign disputing the evidence.
  • Predict dire economic consequences, and ignore the cost benefits.
  • Find and pay a respected scientist to argue persuasively against the threat.
  • Use non-peer reviewed scientific publications or industry-funded scientists who don’t publish original peer-reviewed scientific work to support your point of view.
  • Trumpet discredited scientific studies and myths supporting your point of view as scientific fact.
  • Point to the substantial scientific uncertainty, and the certainty of economic loss if immediate action is taken.
  • Use data from a local area to support your views, and ignore the global evidence. 
  • Disparage scientists, saying they are playing up uncertain predictions of doom in order to get research funding.
  • Disparage environmentalists, claiming they are hyping environmental problems in order to further their ideological goals.
  • Complain that it is unfair to require regulatory action in the U.S., as it would put the nation at an economic disadvantage.
  • Claim that more research is needed before action should be taken.
  • Argue that it is less expensive to live with the effects.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m referring to climate change but in fact these techniques were used to argue against action on the hole in the ozone layer.  The list is quoted verbatim and was put together by a meteorologist at the website below (which covers the issues in detail):

Yee-Ha for Yahoo!

19 04 2007

Yahoo headquarters

Internet giant Yahoo decides to become carbon-neutral.  Their announcement this week appears to carry with it a healthy dose of realism too.  They acknowledge the varying quality and merits of caron offset schemes.  One hopes Yahoo’s promises to reduce their CO2 footprint in addition to paying others to offset emissions is carried through.  It is important to remember that in theory carbon offsets work for at least two reasons.  Firstly there is the CO2 reduction carried out by the offset firm.  Secondly there is the financial incentive to reduce your own emissions.  The more efficient you are, the less you have to pay out (irrespective of whether the offset firm is achieving any true reductions).  One possible problem is that if the offsetting is too cheap, then some people may just “factor it in” rather than actually feeling the pinch and changing their behaviour.

Let’s do it !

13 04 2007

Coal Power Plant - Wikicommons

More good news on the way if the Australian state premiers follow through with their promises.

Although I’d be happier with 90% reduction by 2050, it would be a huge achievement to get the proposed 60% target set firmly in place.

 From ABC news online.

Beattie says emissions scheme will create jobs

Queensland’s Premier says a national carbon emissions trading scheme will lead to more employment opportunities.  The state and territory leaders have stepped up their push for a national plan.  They want the Prime Minister to agree to a 60 per cent reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions within 50 years.   The Premiers and Chief Ministers will raise the issue with John Howard during today’s Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra.   Queensland Premier Peter Beattie says 60 per cent is a tough target, but he is confident jobs will not be affected.

“That time will enable us to transition industries, be competitive, come up with new environmentally sound practices and out of that we’ll maintain jobs in fact in some areas like trees and forests, jobs will grow,” he said.

The states and territories are likely to go it alone if the Federal Government refuses to support their proposal.   South Australia’s Mike Rann says ideally the Commonwealth would be involved, but it is important action is taken.

“This is about the nation’s interests, it’s the interest of the environment. I hope we make some progress with the Prime Minister,” Mr Rann said.

Swim with the frogs

11 04 2007


An article from the Sydney Morning Herald from 2005 that keeps popping into my head.  Makes me daydream of a future home.  But is the thought of frogs and insects too creepy for a backyard pool.  I reckon you’d get used it.  It’s only natural.

Swim with the frogs.

By Nick Galvin
November 24, 2005

Nick Galvin looks at natural pools; a chlorine- and saline-free alternative to the backyard waterhole.

Predictions of a hot summer mean water restrictions may tighten and the regulation of backyard pools will remain an issue. But what if those pools are not chemical-loaded but produce an ecosystem of plants and wildlife that contribute to the wellbeing of the planet?

A little-known alternative to chlorinated swimming pools that has been popular in mainland Europe for the past 25 years is beginning to gain a foothold in Australia. So-called natural pools aim to mimic the conditions of a freshwater swimming hole or mountain stream.

Read the rest here.

Slick ads from UK greens

7 04 2007

In politics, image is everything. Perhaps green parties and movements worldwide can learn from clever ads like this one from the UK.

Thanks to Politique Vert where I first saw this ad.

Young Modern

7 04 2007

Australia’s finest rock act of the present era – I think so.Silverchair 2007

See Silverchair’s new video clip for Straight Lines here as well as other audio samples from the new album.