Oceans of Acid

21 11 2009

Here’s  a nice article from Australia’s Cosmos magazine.  It’s nominated for an Earth journalism award.  You can vote for it here.

Oceans of acid

Pickrell, John
Cosmos Magazine (2009-02-06)
Read the original report (online, press)


As global warming wreaks havoc on coral reefs, evidence is mounting that another problem caused by carbon dioxide is an even bigger threat. But is it too late to fix?

It’s six o’clock on a Sunday morning and I’m sitting on Queensland’s Four Mile Beach. There’s still a night chill to the air. Though the light is dim, a red glow is building on the horizon as the Sun is about to emerge from beyond the Pacific Ocean.

I’m playing with the sand between my toes and fiddling with a small piece of coral rubbed smooth by the tide.

I’ve spent the preceding few days out on an Australian government marine survey vessel snaking its way along the Great Barrier Reef. The trip has given me a lot to think about, both good and bad, and this morning I’m mulling over everything I’ve experienced.

In late July, the CSIRO invited me to join a team of 14 scientists, led by oceanographer Bronte Tilbrook and climate modeller Richard Matear, as they collected data to predict the future health of the reef.

The issue on their agenda is ocean acidification, commonly referred to by those in the know as “the other CO2 problem” – separate, but linked to climate change. Though acidification has had a lot less press, there is mounting evidence to suggest that it will be a bigger problem for marine life than the warming of the oceans themselves.

Our waste carbon dioxide (CO2) is mostly maligned for causing climate change as it builds up in the atmosphere, trapping heat, but for the past 200 years it’s also been quietly dissolving into the oceans, slowly making them more acidic.

Continued here.


Ecology lessons from traditional cultures

15 10 2009

While the term “racist” is a little too loosely thrown about, Ariel Salleh, a sociologist from the University of Sydney, makes the case for a far more radical sustainability discussion to the one that dominates the mass media right now.  Click the link to stream the audio from Radio National.

Is our sustainability science racist?

Coalition cosies up to big business

10 10 2009

The opposition seems to think that we need an emissions trading scheme that keeps big business happy. Funny, I thought the idea of an emissions trading scheme was to SAVE THE PLANET.

MALCOLM Turnbull is likely to get business backing for his emissions trading amendments, which the Coalition is drafting in close consultation with industry groups and major companies.

The Coalition’s strategy to gain business endorsement is likely to shatter the green-industry alliance that had supported the Rudd government scheme, with key conservation organisations vowing to abandon their support for the ETS if the government accepts the business-backed amendments.


You know it must be bad when……..

5 05 2009

Shell urges Turnbull to pass climate scheme

Ian Plimer – Heaven and Earth

24 04 2009

Though the book has only just hit the book shelves, mainstream science is debunking Plimer’s “Heaven and Earth“.   Check out Barry Brook’s early impressions.

New economics

8 04 2009

via: neftriplecrunch.wordpress.com

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “New economics“, posted with vodpod

Kevin Rudd – you are a disgrace

15 12 2008
Three protesters interrupted the PMs announcement today

Three protesters interrupted the PM's announcement today

World leaders gathered this last week in Poland to forge an agreed direction for climate change policies leading to the Copenhagen summit in 2009.  Australia’s ruling centrist political party (Labor) had already deferred plans to announce its intended carbon reductions on a world stage…and now we can see why.

Buckling to intense lobbying from our coal and mineral industries, the Prime Minister announced plans to reduce our greenhouse emissions by an insubstantial 5% by 2020.  There is some form of appeasement in the declaration that this might rise to 15% if there is a global agreement.

Aside from the fact that such a target, if pursued by others, will lead to catastrophic shifts in the Earth’s climate, the decision to reward polluters is particularly evil.  This ABC article outlines the outrageous handouts:

The amount of free permits available to those industries – such as aluminium, cement, lime and silicone production – has been increased to 25 per cent, compared to 20 per cent flagged in the green paper.  That amount would rise to 35 per cent once agriculture is included in the scheme, which is not expected until at least 2015.

Industries now also have the choice of being assessed for assistance via two different tests based on either revenue or the value it adds to the product in the manufacturing process.  If an industry produces over 2,000 tonnes of emissions per million dollars of revenue or 6,000 tonnes of emissions in the value it adds to a product it is eligible for 90 per cent of free permits.

If it produces over 1,000 tonnes of emissions per million dollars of revenue or 3,000 tonnes of emissions in the value it adds to a produce it is eligible for 60 per cent of free permits.  The Electricity Sector Adjustment Scheme will also provide $3.9 billion assistance to coal fired power generators over the next five years.

To put this another way – if a company produces a lot of climate altering pollution it’ll get great wads of cash, if it produce a little bit less, then taxpayers will reward it just a little bit less.  Perverse but true.  As Greenpeace Australia recently said – “it’s like paying someone to be a prick”.

I hope that such a gutless effort will come back to bite Kevin Rudd, a man who is all talk, and no action.  An archetypal politican, but not a real leader.  Here is what commenter Emma had to say in this post on the ABC online website:

A failure on all counts.

A failure of a target.

A failure of a scheme (giving away free permits to polluters, rushing to compensate at 5%, soft entry targets mean much harder targets and higher costs later)

A failure to heed the warning of scientific experts, economists and experienced policy makers and their own independent review, led by Garnaut.

A failure on the global stage – a spectacular diplomatic failure in fact.

A failure to keep an election promise.

A failure to help try to save our children and grandchildren.

A failure for the planet.

A failure of a government.

Many Australians will no doubt agree.