Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cyclone frequency declining while intensity increasing across Australian and Pacific region: CSIRO

New research by CSIRO scientists is showing a trend for fewer tropical cyclones forming off the Western Australian coast, but those that do form may become more intense and potentially destructive. The results apply across the Australian region according to CSIRO in an interview with Dr Debbie Abbs from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research published on December 21, 2011.

Dr Debbie Abbs said there could be a 50 percent reduction in the number of storms in the second half of this century – from 2051-2090 – compared to the period from 1971-2000. The climate model developed by Dr Abbs' team also indicates a distinct shift towards more destructive storms. "Despite a decrease in the number of tropical cyclones, there is a greater risk that a tropical cyclone that forms will be more severe in future," Dr Abbs said. "Even a small increase in cyclone intensity is concerning because of the threat to life, property, industry and agriculture,” said Dr Abbs in a CSIRO media release.

Friday, December 23, 2011

NSW set to hinder wind energy with onerous planning regulations

The NSW Draft planning regulations on wind farms was released on Friday December 23: on the very last working day before Christmas. You don't need to be a cynic to understand the Barrie O'Farrell conservative Government wants to bury news coverage of these draft planning regulations which impose strict limits on wind farm development which are very similar in scope to the draconian Victorian wind farm planning regultions.

"The new wind guidelines introduced today place more rigourous requirements on wind projects than on any other project development in the state." said Lindsay Soutar, national coordinator of the community 100% Renewable campaign. "While coal and coal seam gas get the red carpet, wind power just gets more red tape."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Climate Change: Going Beyond Dangerous - a frank presentation by Professor Kevin Anderson

Listen to this 55 minute webinar (voice presentation with slideshow) by Professor Kevin Anderson, on Climate Change: Going Beyond Dangerous. Professor Anderson is Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and holds a chair in Energy and Climate Change at Manchester University, and is an advisor to the British Government on climate change (see Wikipedia).

Kevin Anderson explains in simple language what we are facing in our climate future - a four degree world perhaps as soon as 2060 and a 6 to 8 degree world by the end of the century. He is brutally honest and straight forward in his assessments of where we are at with mitigation and the options open for humanity. Climate negotiations have dithered since 1992, and have left no easy options for us. The longer we delay, the more difficult it will be to respond to climate change.
It is only through knowing the dire extent of the situation that we can take the actions necessary to possibly avoid the worst climate impacts.


We Don't Want Coal For Christmas! We want a safe climate.

Eight days ago shoppers in Melbourne CBD were treated to Santa on a seven seater bike and elves asking people to sign a petition for Julia Gillard not to fund the HRL coal gasification power station.

"I’m confused", Santa told onlookers. "I thought nobody wanted coal for Christmas. But then why would Victoria have plans the new coal fired power station HRL? Not to mention a new coal mine in Bacchus Marsh?"

We Don't Want Coal For Christmas! from Quit Coal on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Extreme Weather: Flash flooding kills over 1000, displaces 100,000 in the Philippines

Heavy rain and flash flooding on Friday night and Saturday in the Philippines associated with tropical cyclone Washi, known locally as Sendong, has killed 521 people, with many still missing and unaccounted for, and displaced over 100,000 people. The cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were particularly hard hit.

Tropical Storm Washi dumped on the island of Mindanao more than a month of average rains in just 12 hours. According to weather forecaster Leny Ruiz the records show that storms that follow Washi's track come only once in about 12 years. Officials claim it was one of the most destructive calamities in southern Philippines in recent years and struck areas not used to severe flooding. River flooding was worsened by the high tide.

Update 23 Dec 2011 - Latest report from AFP say that more than 1,000 people dead and another 1,000 missing, with about half a million people affected and 50,000 in evacuation centres.
Update 29 Dec 2011 - media release Climate Justice Activists Demand Justice for the Victims of Sendong

Wildfires in Canada approaching threshold point due to climate change

The climate is changing in Canada. New research indicates that large areas of Canada are approaching a threshold value where they may experience a rapid increase in the size of wildfires. Both the area burnt down annually and the average size of the fires would increase, write the researchers of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Michigan who undertook the research.

Wildfire is expected to increase as a result of climate change in Canada with the majority of wildfires occurring in non-fragmented coniferous forests. Recovery from fire usually takes 20 years. If fires or logging occurrs on a frequent basis, this can cause landscape traps in which the ecology becomes permanently changed. (See example: mountain ash forest landscape trap of Victoria, Australia)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Climate sensitivity - paleoclimate record points towards potential rapid climate change

"The paleoclimate record reveals a more sensitive climate than thought, even as of a few years ago. Limiting human-caused warming to 2 degrees is not sufficient," said NASA climatologist James Hansen at the American Geophysical Union meeting on December 6 2011, "It would be a prescription for disaster."

In a press conference at the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting 2011 in San Fransisco climate scientists James Hansen, Ken Caldeira and Eelco Rohling explained that the climate sensitivity may be greater than previously thought. This has implications particularly for action on climate change mitigation and adaptation with major impacts on sea level rise, ocean acidification and many other areas. The latest proposals and pledges from Durban put the world on the path of 4.3°C of warming by the end of the century.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is it possible to decouple economic wealth from carbon dioxide emission rates?

Is it possible to decouple economic wealth from carbon dioxide emission rates? Dr Tim Garrett applies basic thermodynamic physics principles to the economics of wealth, carbon emission rates and civilization and comes up with some very disturbing results.

I came across this randomly chasing youtube links. This talk captured in a 3 part video was given at the Pacific Institute for Climate Studies Seminar May 31st, 2010, University of Victoria in Canada, but only recently uploaded to youtube in December 2011. Dr. Tim Garrett is an Associate Professor of Physics in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, whose main academic work is in cloud physics.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Xstrata Ulan coal mine expansion required to offset greenhouse gas emissions

In a landmark judgement concerning climate change, a judge in the NSW Land and Environment Court has given approval for the expansion of the Xstrata Ulan coal mine near Mudgee in Central western New South Wales, but conditional on the mine offsetting all of its greenhouse gas emissions generated in mining the coal.


The Hunter Environmental Lobby brought an appeal against the $1.2 Billion Ulan West project based upon it's long term impact of exacerbating global anthropogenic climate change, as well as damage to groundwater systems and clearing of critically endangered vegetation communities. The mine expansion proposal includes a 239 hectare open cut mine and approximately 25 square kilometres of additional longwall mining. The environment group were represented by The Environment Defenders Office. (See June 2011 article - Legal Challenge to Xstrata Ulan Coal mine expansion)

In delivering her judgement on the landmark case on Thursday 24 November, Justice Nicola Pain invited the NSW Minister for Planning, Ulan Coal and Hunter Environment Lobby to come to agreement on several environment conditions in the Ulan West project. The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has welcomed the decision saying that this is a landmark legal precedent for coal mines required to offset greenhouse pollution.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Locking in native forest logging: say goodbye to Victorian forest carbon sinks

The Victorian Coalition Government have given a green light to their logging mates by announcing the expansion of native forest logging and locking in to place much longer native forest logging contracts.

In a statement yesterday Agriculture and Food Security Minister National Party MP Peter Walsh released the Timber Industry Action Plan. Under the plan Vicforests would be able to harvest and sell timber through supply agreements of up to 20 years, instead of the current maximum five year period. VicForests will also be given the right to sell timber in a variety of ways, including both timber auctions and other sales arrangements. And contract clauses will be written in to provide compensation if there happens to be a change of government policy in the future (as sometimes happens in a democracy).


Saturday, December 10, 2011

OccupyCOP: Hundreds Protest inside UN climate venue in Durban as talks draw to a close

People's march inside ICCThe Durban UN climate talks - COP17 - are drawing to a close. Ministers and heads of state met through Friday night to thrash out some meaning from these talks.

The sticking point is that developed countries are not taking the lead in initiating the deep emissions cuts of 25-40% as stated in the Bali road map in 2007 and the Kyoto Protocol. Europe, The US, Canada and Australia are responsible for most of the historical emissions in the atmosphere that has caused global warming. The 1% in developed countries are attempting to exploit the 99% of people in developed and developing countries.

At the plenary in the morning on Friday - the last scheduled day - a youth speaker representing civil society, Anjali Appadurai, challenged the conference by calling for deep emissions cuts from developed countries to meet their commitments under the Bali roadmap of the Kyoto Protocol, a flash mob occupyCOP protest occurred in the convention centre foyer which pulled hundreds of people together in solidarity with Africa and small island states; and protesters setup an occupyCOP vigil outside the centre through the long night.

Related: One climate Live Coverage | Adopt a negotiator Flickr photostream | Occupy COP17 video report

Tonga and climate change: Sione Taulo Fulivai "Our people are on the line, our cultures are going to disappear"

One World TV interviewed Sione Taulo Fulivai from the small Pacific Island state of Tonga on the last day of the UN climate negotiations at COP17 in Durban. Small Island states face rising atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, rising sea levels spoiling freshwater reservoirs and agriculture and threatening to innundate their land, and changing rainfall pattens. They are on the frontline of global warming.

Tonga is a nation of 100,000 people with a GDP per capita of US$3711. Tonga and Vanuatu are at the top of a UN list of countries most vulnerable to natural disasters in the Pacific.


Related: Pacific climate change: temperatures rise, sea levels increase, rainfall changing

Friday, December 9, 2011

Youth challenges climate delegates at COP17 followed by mic check

Anjali Appadurai, a youth from College of the Atlantic in the US, gives perhaps the most power speech at COP17 meeting in Durban, South Africa. Following the high level intervention statement on Friday, December 9th, 2011, Anjali and Audience members proceeded to mic check the UN.



Read the full speech below:

Renewable energy in Australia approaching 10 per cent

The Clean Energy Council of Australia announced at the climate negotiations in Durban that 9.6% of Australia's power now came from renewable sources: solar photovoltaic, wind, and large scale hydro-electric. More than half a million household solar power systems were now installed on Australian rooftops – around 35 times the amount just three years ago at the end of 2008.

Clean Energy Council Director Kane Thornton said Australia was on target for sourcing 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

Time to choose Solar

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wave Energy pilot project for Port Fairy receives Victorian Government funding

Efficient energy capture and conversion from Click2it on Vimeo.

Surf coast residents in Victoria may be drawing some of their electricity from the ocean waves that comes crashing into the beaches in the not too distant future. The Victorian state Government has awarded Ocean energy company, BioPower Systems (BPS) $5 million of funding under the Sustainable Energy Pilot Demonstration Program to establish a $14 million pilot demonstration of the company’s 250kW bioWAVE ocean wave energy system at a grid-connected site near Port Fairy, Victoria.

"In developing the bioWAVE technology we set out to address the many issues that have bedeviled most wave energy technologies," said CEO, Dr Timothy Finnigan. The undersea generator is designed to mimic the motion of large sea plants such as kelp under wave action. The critical components have just finished full scale testing at the companies Mascot factory in Sydney and the company is hoping to have the pilot project operational by 2013.

Alcoa Anglesea Coal Mine 50 year lease extension approved by Victorian Government

Anglesea residents presented a petition containing 850 signatures to State parliament on November 23, 2011 calling for an independent study into health impacts of the Alcoa coal mine and power plant, according to a report in the Geelong Advertiser.

In stark contrast to the Government's draconian wind power planning regulations allowing residents a veto if they live within 2km of a proposed wind turbine, approval was granted by the Baillieu Government in late October 2011 to extend the lease for 50 years on the Alcoa Anglesea coal mine which supplies coal to the Anglesea power station for the Alcoa smelter at Port Henry. Residents were shocked by Baillieu coal mine renewal, with Friends of the Earth declaring the decision Ted Baillieu’s worst environmental decision yet. Friends of the Earth claim there are abundant renewable energy options for the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula. Indeed, on November 30 conditional funding of $5million was announced from the Victorian Government to BioPower Systems (BPS) to build a 250kW bioWAVE ocean wave energy demonstration system at a grid-connected site near Port Fairy, Victoria.

Future wind power development in Victoria stifled by draconian planning regulations


The Baillieu Government in Victoria has put in place draconian planning regulations for new wind farms which will stifle rural development and slow shift to clean energy according to Friends of the Earth. These regulations include residents within a 2km distance of a planned wind turbine able to veto the development, and no development within 5km of any town, plus numerous No Go Zones.

In late November the changes to planning regulations were ridiculed by Ditlev Engel, chief executive of Danish company Vestas which builds and operates commercial wind farms in Australia and around the world.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ocean acidification warning to climate negotiators to act on reducing CO2 emissions


Climate negotiators in Durban were urged to consider ocean acidification and changes taking place in the southern ocean due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and ocean researchers released important briefings on ocean acidification and changes taking place in the southern ocean on November 29, 2011.

At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Durban climate talks the IUCN and Ocean Acidification Reference User Group urged that Ocean acidification should no longer remain on the periphery of the international debates on climate change and the environment and should be addressed by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other global environmental conventions. At the same time ocean researchers in Australia also released a position analysis paper that the southern ocean was undergoing major changes in becoming warmer, even at great depths; more acidic; and freshening with a drop in salinity levels.

Related: Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction scientists warn | IUCN - The acid truth about our oceans: experts urge action to limit ocean acidification | ACE CRC - Research shows that Southern Ocean is warming and freshening

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coastal ecosystems suffer 100 fold decrease in capacity to store carbon mitigating climate change

The carbon sink capacity of urbanized river estuary and coastal environments to mitigate climate change has reduced by 100 fold according to scientists from the University of Technology Sydney. The Scientists used core samples from Botany Bay in Sydney to reconstruct the sedimentation changes in the past 6000 years, highlighting the changes in the ecology. The plant samples in the sedimentation changed as rapid industrialisation occurred around Botany Bay during the 1950s.

"We have effectively gone back in time and monitored carbon capture and storage by coastal ecosystems, finding a 100-fold weakening in the ability of coastal ecosystems to sequester carbon since the time of European settlement. This severely hampered the ability of nature to reset the planet's thermostat." said Dr. Peter Macreadie, University of Technology, Sydney Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 hottest year globally with a La Niña event, 10th warmest on record

2011 is likely to be the world's tenth warmest year on record. This is despite a particularly strong La Niña which usually acts to dampen global temperatures, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The WMO has released its summary and status of the global climate and weather for 2011 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks taking place in Durban South Africa.

"Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs. They are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2 to 2.4 degree Centigrade rise in average global temperatures which scientists believe could trigger far reaching and irreversible changes in our Earth, biosphere and oceans," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Attenborough warns of ice shelf destruction in Antarctica

UK Naturalist and documentary maker David Attenborough has warned about the implications of melting ice sheets in the polar regions but emphasised the changes under way in Antarctica "is likely to have the most dramatic effects of all".

His comments were made in a November 2011 article in the BBC Radio Times reported by the Independent newspaper. While the title of the Independent newspaper article - Warning over melting ice at North Pole - places emphasis on processes in the Arctic, the important statement by Attenborough is about the collapse of ice shelves fringing Antarctica and the implications for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pacific climate change: temperatures rise, sea levels increase, rainfall changing

A major new report on climate change in the Pacific Ocean region reports that the region is getter hotter, sea levels are rising, rainfall is changing and equatorial winds have weakened. While cyclone may tend to decrease slightly in the future, cyclone intensity is likely to be greater.

The report launched today - Climate change in the Pacific, scientific assessment and new research - contains 530 pages in 2 volumes with over 100 authors. The research was led by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) with strong input from 15 National Meteorological Services, Geoscience Australia, and from universities in the region. The report includes observations and climate projections for 15 partner countries involved : Cook Islands, East Timor, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grid battery energy storage break-through a promising solution for solar and wind power

Large scale grid power storage for energy may become possible with use of nanoparticle electrodes for batteries being researched and developed by researchers at Stanford University in the US.


The copper compound nanoparticle electorodes are cheap and easy to make for easy scaling for industrial production. This break-through development could lead to building batteries big enough for economical large-scale energy storage on the electrical grid. Such development offers a significant solution to intermittent energy production by solar and wind power.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Climategate 2.0 a storm in a teacup while extreme weather worsens with climate change

See the Bigger Picture, Act on Climate Change - Oxfam

More emails by climate scientists have been publicly released from the break-in to the University of East Anglia servers two years ago. The theft was dubbed Climategate, and although climate sceptics argued that the emails showed scientific misconduct, a total of nine separate independent investigations exonerated all the climate scientists. Climategate was all about throwing mud at climate scientists in the hope that some would stick; about sowing doubt broadly among the public in denigrating science, and in particular climate science.

The real story is the way the media sensationalised reporting of Climategate and the lack of investigative journalism in reading the stolen email excerpts in context and follow up with reporting any inaccuracies found in the peer reviewed climate science and reporting it honestly to the public. I don't remember seeing any reports of a scientific study being discredited by a review due to climategate. And the climate science since Climategate only gets stronger. The recent IPCC report on extreme weather events associated with climate change highlights a growing public concern.

The release of these emails, all appearing to be from the same theft, appears to be timed to disrupt the public perceptions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Durban negotiations of COP17 starting in late November.

Extreme weather, risk management and adaptation in a warming climate - latest IPCC report

Over the weekend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). There were no surprises for anyone who follows climate science, and the report succinctly integrates a discussion of vulnerability, risk management and adaptation strategies for extreme weather disasters.

The report looks at the evidence for each extreme weather event and gives an assessment of probability and confidence value of each weather event assessment and the future trend. It involved some 220 expert authors from 62 countries and involved more than 18,000 review comments.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The carbon economy of logging native forests and CO2 reduction

An interesting seminar was held at the Australian National University on November 10, 2011 on logging of native forests and the timeframe for dealing with CO2 emissions for climate policy. The seminar was given by Dr Judith Ajani, an economist at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society and the author of The Forest Wars (MUP 2007). She examines both sides of the debate regarding logging of native forests and whether native forests should be used for bioenergy or biodiversity.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Logging East Gippsland old growth forests destroys wildlife refugia in a warming climate

Environmental activists have been out in old growth Forests in East Gippsland this week attempting to stop more rape of our natural environment and protecting important refugia habitats for endangered species. Logging operations on Survey Rd on the Errinundra Plateau were halted by a tree-sit attached to five logging machines and suspended 40 metres up in the tree canopy.

"In the face of recent Baillieu government moves to weaken the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, conservationists have again taken their message to logging sites where important wildlife habitat continues to be logged for woodchips", said Ms Amelia Young, spokesperson for the conservationists of the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) (Facebook).

Intact native Forests mitigate bushfire in a warming climate

As Australia's climate warms up we are facing increased bush fire risk. Old growth forests trap moisture and provide an important bulwark against bushfires, while previously logged forest regrowth with trees of the same maturity will tend to burn at a much higher intensity.

Chris Taylor from Beyond Zero Emissions and Melbourne University has done an extensive bushfire data analysis that proves intact native forests mitigated the 2009 Victorian bushfires. He was speaking at the Australian Forests and Climate Forum 2011 held in August


Maybe it is time to stop logging our native forests for woodchip and protecting them as important bushfire management zones as well as important refugia for biodiversity in a time of global warming. Forests also play a major role as carbon sinks according to scientists with Victorian forests are amoung the world’s most carbon-dense which should be preserved and protected.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BBC short changes Climate change in overseas sales of Frozen Planet nature documentary

The BBC has relegated the seventh and final episode of the Frozen Planet series presented by Sir David Attenborough to an optional extra. The seventh episode - On Thin Ice - deals with how climate change and global warming is impacting the polar regions and how it affects us all. The final episode is heavily narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Managers at the BBC decided the series would sell better by making the seventh episode and a behind the scenes documentary available as optional extras which broadcasters could choose to take or leave. Evidently 30 networks across the world have already bought the series but a third of them have opted not to take the seventh episode on climate change and the behind the scenes documentary episode. DVD versions of the series will include all episodes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sea Surface Temperatures around Australia remain elevated, La Niña builds slowly


The Sea Surface temperature Anomaly around Australia in November 2011 remains elevated. A slow cooling in the tropical mid Pacific indicates that La Niña is also slowly building. A persistently warm Indian Ocean is also a main driver for forecast wetter conditions in Australia this summer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Victorian Environment and Climate going backwards under Premier Ted Baillieu

Stop Taking Us Backwards, Baillieu panorama - marching backwards under Baillieu rally

Victorian Environment groups gathered to protest the Environment and climate actions of the Baillieu Victorian State Government on Sunday November 13, 2011 on the steps of State Parliament. To highlight the direction the Government is taking Victoria's environment, the protesters marched backwards to the Treasury Gardens.

Related: Flickr Photos from Friends of the Earth | Takver

Background: Coalition’s 2km wind farm veto sets a risky precedent | Retreating on climate policy - Victorian Government stops discussions on Hazelwood closure | Victorian Government needs to come clean on plan to achieve 20 percent emissions cut by 2020

Thursday, November 10, 2011

IEA: Bold change of direction needed globally to meet climate commitments

Safe Climate - Get on with it - Close Hazelwood

A Bold change of direction is needed to limit global average temperature rise to a 2 degree limit as per the commitment made in Copenhagen in 2009 and re-affirmed in Cancun in 2010, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook for 2011.

Related: Record increase in Greenhouse gas emissions for 2010 | Carbon Emissions need to peak this decade to meet 2 °C temperature goal warns new study | 4 Degrees or More? Climate Change: The Critical Decade - a speech by Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to use a bikelock to save the Great Barrier Reef - protest halts Gladstone dredging

Derec Davies used a bicycle U lock to attach himself to a dredger in Gladstone Harbour this morning. The direct action was taken to protect the Great Barrier Reef against the development of Gladstone harbour liquefied natural gas facilities on Curtis Island to export Coal Seam Gas. Massive Dredging of the Gladstone harbour is occurring which fisherman and environmentalists say is causing turbidity in the water and causing illness of fish effectively closing down the local fishing industry. Development is endangering the World Heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef.

Related: In 2010 Conservationists criticised government over coal ship grounding on Great Barrier Reef near Gladstone | Capricorn Conservation Council: The LNG invasion of Curtis Island | ABC TV Four Corners: Great Barrier Grief | Getup! petition to Save the reef

Sunday, November 6, 2011

CO2 Supply chain study recommends carbon price at point of extraction

An in depth study of the CO2 supply chain by scientists argues that enacting carbon pricing mechanisms at the point of extraction could be efficient and avoid the relocation of industries that could result from regulation at the point of combustion.

Most of Australia's contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions comes from the export of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. But because we export this, the CO2 emissions are counted against the country where it is combusted, even though much of it may be used in the manufacture of goods imported back into Australia.

Global Warming in Antarctica: Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers accelerating, West Antarctic Ice Sheet losing mass

Scientists have been studying the climate change impacts on ice shelfs and glaciers for some time in Antarctica, and particularly around the Antarctic Peninsula where there is substantial warming occurring increasing ice shelf melt and the speed and discharge of glaciers. The most recent studies predict a faster retreat for the Thwaites Glacier and that warm ocean currents are already speeding the melting of the Pine Island Glacier and Ice Shelf and Getz Ice Shelf. A NASA Icebridge flight detected a major new rift in the Pine Island ice shelf on October 14 - the start of the calving of a massive iceberg. A recent paper in Nature Geoscience discusses the Stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet in a warming world and the likelihood of collapse that would raise sea level by more than three metres over the course of several centuries or less.

Related: The Wilkins ice Bridge collapsed in April 2009 as Polar regions felt the heat of climate change. I reported as far back as 2004 that warming in Antarctica was cause for concern with ocean food chain crashing due to Antarctic warming. More recently in April 2011 I discussed Penguin numbers suffering with krill decline due to Global Warming.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Record increase in Greenhouse gas emissions for 2010

Greenhouse gases increased 6 per cent during 2010, one of the largest annual increases on record according to the US Department of Energy. In 2010 about 512 million metric tonnes more of carbon was emitted to the atmosphere than in 2009. Total emissions for 2010 were 30.6 Gigatonnes, 5% higher than the previous record year in 2008, according to an International Energy Agency report in June 2011.

The latest figures put global emissions on track with the worst case projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report.

Figure 1: IEA global human CO2 annual emissions from fossil fuels estimates vs. IPCC SRES scenario projections. The IPCC Scenarios are based on observed CO2 emissions until 2000, at which point the projections take effect.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Climate change, Water Security and drought in the Mediterranean region


A new study by NOAA - the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - has highlighted that climate change is a major contributor to more frequent Mediterranean droughts. According to the study in the last 20 years, 10 of the driest 12 winters have taken place in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Water security, food security, and increasing wildfire frequency and intensity has the potential to destabilize the region producing conflicts over use of increasingly scarce water resources.

"The magnitude and frequency of the drying that has occurred is too great to be explained by natural variability alone,” said Martin Hoerling, Ph.D. of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, lead author of a paper published online in the Journal of Climate this month. “This is not encouraging news for a region that already experiences water stress, because it implies natural variability alone is unlikely to return the region’s climate to normal.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Climate change, fractional attribution of risk and the Russian Heat Wave

Climate scientists using statistical modeling have estimated an 80 percent chance that climate change was responsible for the July 2010 Russian heatwave.

The paper by Stefan Rahmstorf and Dim Coumou from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research - Increase of extreme events in a warming world - was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 25, 2011 notes:

"For July temperature in Moscow, we estimate that the local warming trend has increased the number of records expected in the past decade fivefold, which implies an approximate 80% probability that the 2010 July heat record would not have occurred without climate warming."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greenland melting in 2011 well above average with near-record mass loss

Professor Marco Tedesco from the City College of New York reports that extreme melting continues from the Greenland Ice sheet this year with close-to-record simulated surface mass balance, bare ice exposure, albedo and runoff anomalies. He warned that glaciers could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be difficult to halt.

Related: Record summer melting in 2010 | Greenland sets a new melt record in 2010 - sea levels to rise

Monday, October 24, 2011

Carbon Emissions need to peak this decade to meet 2 °C temperature goal warns new study

Limiting global average temperature rise to 2 °C may be slipping from the world's grasp without urgent action this decade on emission reduction to combat climate change according to new review of climate modeling of emission pathways by a team lead by Dr Joeri Rogelj.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Temperature Study funded by climate sceptics confirms rate of Global Warming


'Global Warming is real' declares new scientific work from an independent group of researchers called the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study. The research team is at least partially funded by the Koch Brothers who fund several climate denial groups. The team was setup to identify flaws in the climate science of global average temperature trends, but has confirmed the analysis undertaken by NASA, NOAA and the Hadley Centre that about 1 degree Celsius of global warming has occurred since 1950.

The study confirmed that "We are seeing substantial global warming" and subtantially eliminated arguments that heat island effects, temperature station quality, and the risk of data selection bias had more than a very modest or marginal impact on the trend for increasing global average temperatures.

Related Commentary: Nature Different method, same result: global warming is real | Climate Progress Hot Dog Bites Skeptical Man: Koch-Funded Berkeley Temperature Study Does “Confirm the Reality of Global Warming”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Engineering Professor: Install solar panels to combat Global Warming rather than paint roofs white

A Stanfoord University Professor of civil and environmental engineering has suggested that installing solar photo-voltaic panels on your house would be a better contribution to reducing global temperatures than the geo-engineering solution of painting vast numbers of urban roofs white to combat the urban heat island contribution to global warming. "There does not seem to be a benefit from investing in white roofs," said Professor Jacobson. "The most important thing is to reduce emissions of the pollutants that contribute to global warming."

Cities and urban areas release more heat to the atmosphere than rural areas - this is known as the Urban Heat Island effect. Climate skeptics have used this to argue that surface temperature data is contaminated by the location of data collection in urban areas. A new scientific study by Stanford University researchers has quantified the contribution of the heat islands on a global basis for the first time, showing that the contribution to global warming from urban heat islands is modest compared with what greenhouse gas emissions contribute.

Related: Skeptical Science: Does Urban Heat Island effect exaggerate global warming trends? | RealClimate: The Surface Temperature Record and the Urban Heat Island

Scientists Estimate Sea level Rise for next 500 years

Rising seas are one of the more long-term catastrophic effects of global warming that will not end at 2100, even with the most drastic emission reductions, but will continue for centuries. Researchers based at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen have calculated the long-term outlook for the next 500 years for rising sea levels in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the atmosphere using a climate model calibrated against actual historical measurements of sea level rise.

The change in sea levels is driven by massive inertia in the earth's climate system. With anthropogenic global warming melting the Greenland ice sheet and mountain glaciers and warming the oceans, the processes causing sea level rise are now underway and accelerating. Increasing Groundwater extraction for agricultural and mining use is also a small but notable contribution to sea level rise.

Caption: The graph shows how sea levels will change for four different pathways for human development and greenhouse gas pollution. The green, yellow and orange lines correspond to scenarios where it takes 10, 30, or 70 years before emissions are stabilized. The red line can be considered to represent business as usual where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing over time.

Related: Sea Level Rise and Australia | Report assesses climate risks of sea level rise for Australia | Impacts of rising sea level a wake up call on climate change | Scientists confirm Rising Sea Levels may exceed one metre this century | The risks of Sea Level Change - Dr Peter Ward | NASA Climatologist Predicts Disastrous Sea Level Rise

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Health and military professionals call for urgent action on climate change

A statement calling for urgent action on climate change has been issued by doctors, health professionals and military personnel participating in a London conference on the health and security implications of climate change convened by the British Medical Journal.


Professor Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at the University College London and Director of the UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance, talking to OneClimate at The Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change conference that he helped to organise in London, 17th October 2011.

Related: A Stark Choice between climate justice and climate war where Canadian journalist Naomi Klein discusses militarism and climate change - Peoples Conference on Climate Change, Bolivia, April 2010.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

World Food Day: Global Warming too hot for chocolate? Cocoa farming and Climate Change

Do you fancy a bit of chocolate every now and then? Perhaps a hot cup of drinking chocolate and milk before going to bed? or a few small pieces of a bar of chocolate while watching TV? Maybe a fancy imported Swiss or Belgium chocolate with coffee and liquers at the end of a dinner party? or maybe some cool chocolate icecream on a hot summer's day? This could all become a thing of the past as chocolate becomes an extreme luxury item due to global warming.

Most western people have a bit of a sweet tooth and enjoy the pleasure of indulging in chocolate, either in small amounts, or sometimes less moderate binges. For dentists it provides a continuing customer base. I admit it, I am partial to the odd bit of chocolate. So I am dismayed with the latest reports that climate change will decimate cocoa farming and chocolate production with the decline noticeable as soon as 2030 with a major impact by 2050. The price of chocolate is also escalating as western taste for this luscious indulgence spreads to more people in developing countries.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Passage of Australian Carbon Pricing legislation may influence UN Climate talks

Julia Gillard don't cave in to pressure from big polluters - Melbourne World Environment Day 2011

Could our carbon pricing package be a "game changer" at the next UN climate talks to be held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November - 9 December 2011? Australia's climate change ambassador, Louise Hand thinks it is possible. But first a look at the passage of the legislation through the House of Representatives and some community reactions.

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed the Government's carbon pricing and clean energy legislation with the support of Independent members Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie, and Greens member Adam Bandt: the vote was 74-72. The legislation passed despite a vociferous campaign against climate change science well orchestrated by right wing talk back radio identities like Alan Jones and supported by the Liberal and National opposition parties led by Tony Abbott, who in the past has denied climate change and also advocated a carbon tax.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Logging of Victorian mountain ash forests increases bushfire risk


New scientific research published in September 2011 highlights that logging in Victoria’s mountain ash forests is increasing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. The cycling of logging and wildfire is creating a landscape trap where the wet forest ecosystem is being permanently converted to a new landscape replaced by other species, particularly wattle, increasing the frequency and intensity of bushfire risk.

"These changes will significantly impair ecological functions like carbon storage, water production and biodiversity conservation," said Professor Lindenmayer. "This is historically unprecedented and is beginning to dominate the mountain ash landscapes we see today."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Earth relay action on climate change entertains Sydney Road motorists


Motorists, pedestrians and tram passengers were entertained by environmentalists from Climate Action Moreland during Saturday mid morning shopping traffic snarl on Sydney Road, Brunswick. Wielding a huge blow up planet earth, the activists asked motorist to honk for climate action, cyclists to ring their bell, and pedestrians to sign a petition against the proposed HRL coal fired power station. See Images on Flickr

Abbott's 'Community Forum' in Bendigo neither open nor community focussed

On Wednesday October 5 Tony Abbott attended a 'community forum' at the Capital Theatre in Bendigo (See Report in Bendigo Advertiser - Bendigo forum a chance for some sticky questions). Attendance was by a selected audience of about 190 who attended by invite only. Unfortunately the 'community forum' was neither representative of the community nor very open. About 100 people, mainly younger families with children, were not allowed to enter and had to make do holding up a few placards outside the hall. (See Report in Bendigo Advertiser - Abbott gives Bendigo party the slip).

Tony Abbott, cheered by the largely elderly audience inside the hall, was driven around to enter and leave the event from a backdoor. His minders were too afraid for him to confront people who disagree with his policies on tackling climate change.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Philippines calls for progress in climate talks in Typhoon devastation aftermath


Filipinos are fighting for survival amid worsening climate change according to the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) round of talks in Panama. The main island of Luzon and the national capital Manila have been blasted and battered in late September and into early October by two consecutive typhoons which have killed at least 76 people and caused at least US$200 million in damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

"Millions of Filipinos are already suffering yet we are only seeing initial climate change impacts. Progress must be made in the climate treaty negotiations," said Commissioner Naderev “Yeb" Saño of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) in a media statement. "We are here in Panama to tell the world that climate change is a matter of life and death for the Philippines," Saño said.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flooding rains now burning plains - Bushfire risk and climate change


Grass fires and bushfires are starting already, and it is only early October - with bushfire season officially still nearly a month away. The extremely wet season Australia had at the end of 2010 and start of 2011, brought on by one of the strongest La Niña on record, has stimulated vegetation growth and is set to cause great concern as it dries and cures in the summer heat with the onset of the summer bushfire season.

Bushfire CRC | CSIRO - Climate change impacts on fire weather

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sea Level Rise and Australia


Average global sea level is rising at the fastest rate in 2000 years according to scientists, and north and western Australia is copping more than double the global average in sea level rise. The rate of increase has accelerated in the last 20 years which has been attributed by scientists to thermal expansion, small glacier melt and accelerating ice sheet loss from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps caused by climate change and global warming. A peer reviewed scientific study published in June 2011 from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has shown the rate of Sea level rise is connected to global temperature rise.

According to the CSIRO (PDF) "From 1870 to 2007, the global average sea level rose by close to 200mm. Sea levels rose at an average of 1.7mm per year during the 20th century and about 3.0mm per year from 1993-2009. These levels are global averages and because of the differing movements of ocean currents around the globe, results vary from place to place. This is true for Australia where since 1993 levels have risen 7-10mm per year in the north and west, and 1.5-3mm in the south and east."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thousands attend Moving Planet Climate change actions in Australia and globally

Did you miss the action over the weekend? Thousands of people around the world from Cairo to Canberra participated in events to move the planet beyond fossil fuels. There were over 2000 events in more than 175 countries with more than 40 Moving Planet events taking place across Australia from the Blue Mountains, Hobart, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Sydney and Melbourne joining the thousands of events taking place around the globe.



Melbourne photos by Takver | Moving Planet

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Smears on integrity of Polar wildlife scientist a prelude to Arctic Oil Drilling



A misconduct complaint has been filed against the US Interior Department on behalf of an Arctic scientist who has been under investigation since the start of the year. The scientist, Dr. Charles Monnett, PhD, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) formerly known as the Minerals Management Service, has not been told why he is under investigation or what the allegations are against him, although a record of interview from February this year seemed to question his scientific integrity by focussing on a 2006 scientific paper co-written with Jeffrey Gleason - Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea.

Related: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility - Arctic Scientist protests witch hunt on polar bear paper

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tim DeChristopher jailed for two years and fined $10,000 for climate civil disobedience

On July 26, 2011 in the Salt Lake City Federal courthouse Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years prison and a $10,000 fine for making false bids as 'Bidder 70' in disrupting auctions of public lands by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in December 2008 in the final days of the Bush Administration. DeChristopher was successful in 22 bids amounting to $1.8million and caused the prices to be bid up on many other parcels in bidding among the oil companies.

DeChristopher even offered an initial payment within two weeks to the BLM, but this was refused. Many of the parcels of land auctioned were subsequently ruled invalid by the Obama Adminstration, which underlines the injustice of this indictment.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Impacts of Climate change on the NSW South Coast and Illawarra Regions



A new report by the Climate Commission says the Illawarra region and South Coast of New South Wales highlights the increasing risks of the impacts of climate change. These impacts include an increase in the likelihood of large and intense fires as temperatures increase, rising sea levels causing coastal flooding of buildings and infrastructure, changing rainfall patterns and more intense storms increasing the dangers of severe flooding, and impacts to the regional biodiversity.

Professor Will Steffen, Climate Commissioner and author of the report, said "The evidence for climate change is overwhelming and clear. This report shows that the NSW South Coast and the Illawarra region are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lethal heat wave hits the United States



Over fourteen hundred maximum temperature records have been broken or tied across the United States so far this July as a heatwave lingers from the mid-western and southern states and expands to encompass the eastern states. High humidity accompanies the high temperatures making the heat further unbearable. Little relief is being found overnight with highest minimum temperatures recorded also breaking new records: with 1,951 new records and 1,421 tied records to 21st July.

Related: Human health limits of heat stress with climate change | The US 'normal climate' just got hotter | Higher Temperatures and Crop yields in the US

Platypus feeling the heat of Climate change



Some of Australia's most iconic animals are feeling the heat of climate change and global warming. Scientists have already reported that Koalas face starvation, extinction due to climate change and now it seems the Platypus is under threat due to increasing summer temperatures.

The video above of a platypus seen feeding mid-afternoon surrounded by half a dozen people watching is unusual. Platypus are generally nocturnal and shy creatures usually glimpsed at dawn feeding in streams and rivers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Deforestation in Sarawak and Climate Change


Caption: Comparison of absolute forest area and deforestation rate trends for peat swamp forest (top) and all forest in Sarawak including peat swamp forest (bottom) during 2005-2010. (Sarvision 2011)

A report by Wetlands International in February reported on the Borneo Orangutan Survival website reports "Two thirds of Sarawak's peatlands were until recently covered by thick, biodiversity-rich rainforest. Between 2005-2010 almost 353,000 hectare of the one million hectare peatswamp forests were opened up at high speed; largely for palm oil production. In just 5 years time, almost 10% of all Sarawak's forests and 33% of the peatswamp forests have been cleared. Of this, 65% was for conversion to palm oil production. (2011; Sarvision, Impact of oil palm plantations on peatland conversion in Sarawak 2005-2010.)

Marcel Silvius from Wetlands International said: "As the timber resource has been depleted the timber companies are now engaging in the oil palm business, completing the annihilation of Sarawak's peat swamp forests."

Conservationists arrested protesting logging in Tasmania and Sarawak by Malaysian Company Ta Ann



Conservationists have today participated in a protest on Hobart's wharf, where a vessel is being loaded for the Malaysian logging company Ta Ann. The protest highlights the ongoing loss of high conservation value temperate forests in Tasmania and the rapacious logging of tropical rainforests of Borneo and destructon of habitat for Orangutan and dispossession of the indigenous Penan people from their ancestral forests and lands.

"Four conservationists have attached themselves to the vessel, we are participating in today's non violent protest to highlight the ongoing loss of high conservation value forests," Huon Valley Environment Centre's Jenny Weber said.

Youtube video | Photos of the action

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Forests play a major role as carbon sink say scientists

The world's forests remove over one quarter of current annual human carbon emissions from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of about 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon according to the latest published scientific research. An international team of scientists, including from the US Forests Service and the Australian CSIRO, have quantified the greenhouse gas carbon sink provided by the world's tropical, temperate and boreal forests.

"This is really a timely breakthrough with which we can now clearly demonstrate how forests and changes in landscape such as wildfire or forest regrowth impact the removal or release of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)," says Dr Pep Canadell, CSIRO co-author of the paper: A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World's Forests. "What this research tells us is that forests play a much larger role as carbon sinks as a result of tree growth and forest expansion."

Friday, July 15, 2011

4 Degrees or more? - Science into Policy: Securing a Clean Energy Future for Australia - speech by Greg Combet

In an early morning session on Thursday the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, addressed the Four degrees or more? conference and spoke on the scientific imperatives driving the Government to price carbon and outlined the Government's carbon pricing policy and addressed some of the consequences of that policy for science and innovation.

Despite the policy failing to match the emissions reductions that are needed to close the Global Emissions Gap to limit temperatures to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, most of those present saw the policy as necessary first steps and were impressed with the multifaceted comprehensive features which will help to decarbonise the economy and drive innovation towards clean energy to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Here is a transcript of his full speech.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

4 Degrees or More? Climate Change: The Critical Decade - a speech by Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber


This was the 1st keynote address to the Four degrees or more? conference Australia in a hot world which is currently meeting in Melbourne. After a day and a half of listening to climate scientists detailing the present climate impacts and future projections, understandably I, and many others, felt a little depressed.

But most of these scientists and other delegates are possessed of a human optimism that the challenge can be overcome. That human society has the technical and engineering capability to avoiding a 4 degree or higher world, to limit global warming to 2 degrees celsius as agreed to in Copenhagen in 2009 and affirmed in Cancun in 2010.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Australian Carbon pricing policy a small start to tackling climate change

On Sunday the Gillard Federal Government announced it's carbon tax at $23 a tonne of carbon to be imposed on the 500 largest carbon polluting companies starting from July 1st, 2012. More than half the money raised will be returned to low and middle income earners, pensioners and retirees as compensation. Additional packages include $10 billion renewable energy and low emissions technology fund, substantial assistance packages to 'trade exposed' industries, $1.9 billion to fund carbon geo-sequestration in the land sector, and a $1 billion biodiversity fund.

The initial rate of $23 a tonne will be indexed at 2.5% for 3 years before an Emissions Trading Scheme is introduced in 2015 with a cap and floor price set by the Government. An independent Climate Change Authority will be established to recommend targets when the emissions trading scheme commences to take some of the politics out of the process. A target of 80% emissions reduction from 2000 levels by 2050 will be set.

See also: Carbon price in a nutshell according to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Full Details are available on the Government compensation package and of the carbon price modelling from Treasury Department.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Carbon price in a nutshell according to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC)



Australian Prime Minister Julia Guillard announced the major details of the carbon price (carbon tax) at midday today flanked by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and Treasurer Wayne Swan. The package entails substantial compensation to middle and low income households, taxpayers, pensioners and self funded retirees. It also establishes a $10billion renewable energy fund. More on the details and responses later. Here is a short video from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition explaining the policy in a nutshell.

"Using the latest in Power Point technology, the AYCC communications team has been up all night preparing this short explanation of how the Gillard Government’s announced carbon price will work." explained Glen in posting this video on the AYCC website.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Scientist: Less rain across southern Australia a long term climate trend

Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is increasing atmospheric temperatures changing the dynamic of the sub-tropical jet stream and thus the number and intensity of storms bringing autumn and winter rainfall to southern Australia, according to CSIRO climate scientist Dr Jorgen Frederiksen. He was addressing the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics conference in Melbourne this week regarding recent research on changes to atmospheric circulation, storm intensity and reduction in winter rainfall in Australia.

Warming Arctic air temperatures causing less snow, more rain, faster ice melt

Arctic air temperatures are warming faster than anywhere else on Earth. Although the level of precipitation is remaining unchanged, there is reduced snowfall in summer which is being replaced by increasing rain. The loss of summer snow and increase in rain is resulting in a positive feedback mechanism increasing warming and melting of the Arctic ice.

We are already witnessing an increase in the Albedo feedback mechanism - loss of reflectivity in the arctic leading to more warming and greater ice melt. Research published early in 2011 revealed Loss of reflectivity in the Arctic is double the estimate used in climate models. With the change in precipitation we have a further feedback mechanism contributing to Arctic warming and melting of snow and sea ice.

Friday, July 8, 2011

'The carbon tax' launches on Sunday - satire by Clarke and Dawe



Some satirical commentary by comedians John Clarke and Brian Dawe on the launch of the Carbon tax for Australia. Originally aired on The 7.30 Report on Thursday July 7, 2011.

The US 'normal climate' just got hotter

For the USA the 'normal climate' just got warmer. Every decade the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updates a range of climate measures averaged over the previous 30 years. These measures are called the climate normals.

From July 2011 the latest climate normals will be for the 30 years from 1981 to 2010. Climate measures for the 1970s has been dropped and the first decade of the 21st century, the hottest on record has been added. This has resulted in both maximum temperatures and minimum temperatures being about 0.5F warmer on average in the new normals. "The climate of the 2000s is about 1.5 degree F warmer than the 1970s, so we would expect the updated 30-year normals to be warmer,” said Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., National Climate Data Centre director.


Caption: Comparing average temperatures year round, every state experienced warmer temperatures in 1981–2010 compared to 1971–2000. Image by NOAA.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tony Abbott arguing for a carbon tax in 2009



This is Tony Abbott in 2009, denying climate change, arguing against the 'complex' CPRS scheme and arguing for a 'simple carbon tax'. At least former leader Malcolm Turnbull was approaching climate change action in a bipartisan way. Abbott doesn't even have the intellectual rigour to appreciate climate science and the impacts already being felt in a warming world.

Victorian Government needs to come clean on plan to achieve 20 percent emissions cut by 2020



On July 1st 2011 the Victorian Climate Change Act became law. It was passed last year with bipartisan support. The Act sets into law that Victoria will cut the state's emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 based on year 2000 emissions baseline and empowers the Environment Protection Authority to regulate emissions from industry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Winter ramble - Exploring Galada Tamboore grasslands in Campbellfield

Merri Creek Gorge - Galada Tamboore Grasslands, Campbellfield


Sunny winter day...to good to spend inside. Stop reading the latest scientific reports on accelerating climate change, or arguments over the carbon tax. Quickly hang up the washing and it was time to head out exploring the bike paths of Melbourne's northern suburbs and the magic of Merri Creek. I wanted to visit the Galada Tamboore grasslands up in Campbellfield.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Solartopia - Pete Seeger sings a vision of a wind and solar powered world



A friend sent me the link to this youtube video song - Solartopia - produced in 2010. It was good to see Pete Seeger still singing such topical and empowering songs. Songs easy to sing along with and be motivated by. An positive climate change anthem with a vision for a better future for ourselves and our children.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction scientists warn

A report issued last week from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) has strongly warned of the damage to the health of the world's oceans and marine life and that if the current business as usual trajectory of damage continues "that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history."


Dr. Alex Rogers, Scientific Director of IPSO and Professor of Conservation Biology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, gives the overview of the main problems affecting the ocean — and some suggested solutions.

Related: International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) | The Ocean in a high CO2 world | Frontline - World's oceans in crisis: What can be done?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Climate change blamed in extreme shift from drought to flood in China



An extreme shift in weather in June across much of southern and eastern China has been put down to the effects of global warming and climate change. Usually light rains start in June in the middle and lower Yangtze valley leading in to the summer monsoonal rains and typhoon season, but this year torrential rains and storms struck on June 3 and have continued unleashing devastating floods, the worst in over 50 years.

Chen Zhenghong, senior engineer at the Meteorological Bureau of Central China's Hubei province, said the sharp shift between drought and flood in East and Central China was a result of global warming, according to a Xinhua News Agency report in China Daily on 17 June.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ferguson and Gillard feeding HRL's coal gasification technology in Melbourne



Just as Australia is about to get a price on carbon, the Federal Government is funding a new coal fired power station for Victoria. On Monday a little bit of street theatre for the media was enacted in Treasury Place outside the Prime Minister's Melbourne offices.

Report from Indymedia: Look at Fergo and Gillard did!

Afforestation no substitute for reducing CO2 emissions



A new scientific study published in Nature Geoscience says that major afforestation will have little impact on slowing global warming and that "afforestation is not a substitute for reduced greenhouse-gas emissions".

Cape Grim Greenhouse gas website launched by CSIRO



The CSIRO and Australian Bureau of Meteorology have launched a website showing the monthly data for greenhouse gases measured at the windswept Cape Grim Station located in the path of the roaring forties on the west coast of Tasmania. Cape Grim is one of three important baseline atmospheric stations for measuring background greenhouse gases, the other two being Mauna Loa in the middle of the Pacific and Alert Weather Station on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. About 15 other stations around the world also collect and track atmospheric emissions data.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Missouri River floods endanger nuclear power plants



Large parts of the US midwest are experiencing heavy rainfall and flooding, not unlike what Queenslanders saw in December and January this year when Brisbane was inundated. A major problem with urban infrastructure on flood plains is the risk of innundation during flood events, flood events likely to become more frequent with climate change. In Nebraska two nuclear power Stations are threatened by floodwaters.

The Climate Show 14



An engaging radio show from New Zealand discussing the latest on climate change. This episode discusses the latest Christchurch earthquakes, ash clouds from Volcanoes in Chile and Eritrea disrupting flights, extreme weather in the US and the impact of La Nina, massive flooding in the Mississippi, drought impacts on France's nuclear plants most of which are located next to drought affected rivers, warmest May on record for New Zealand, new UN report on black carbon and how a reduction could cut future warming, Australian climate scientists cearing up the climate debate, Summer predictions for Arctic sea ice, John Cook from Skeptical Science on John Christy's climate crocks and an interactive history of climate science and large reductions in the cost of solar panels in the USA to the point where solar may be cheaper than fossil fuels in the next few years much more.

Read more at the Climate Show website.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bonn Talks Conclude: "You Can't Negotiate with Science"

carbon markets 1
Guest post from the Daily Kos

As the Bonn Climate Talks sputtered and choked past the finish line today, the general consensus was that immediate high level political intervention on the part of Northern developed countries is mandatory to the success of international climate negotiations tasked with cutting GHG emissions to less than 2 degrees by 2020.

Related: Ambassador of Bolivia on UN climate talks in Germany | Bonn: World Bank dirty investments fueling climate change claims report | Oxfam - Developing countries pledge bigger climate emissions cuts than world's richest nations

'Drawing that line in the Arctic ice' - Greenpeace CEO arrested on Arctic oil rig

In the chilly waters of Iceberg Alley off the Greenland coast a little drama played itself out today between Greenpeace and oil explorer Cairn Energy over deep sea oil exploration in the pristine Arctic environment rapidly warming through climate change. Greenpeace are demanding the oil spill response plan for the rig should be made public. Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director of Greenpeace, personally boarded the oil rig Leiv Eiriksson today with another Greenpeace activist, Ulvar Arnkvaern to deliver this message, with both being arrested.

Related: Arctic Deep sea oil: Cairn Energy oil spill response plan missing | Greenpeace: Help us protect the Arctic

Friday, June 17, 2011

Judge rules in favour of Hunter Valley coal protesters

Charges were dismissed against 49 climate activists under a section 10 ruling by an East Maitland Court magistrate yesterday. The protesters had committed non-violent civil disobedience at a climate camp against a new coal fired power station being built in the Hunter Valley in December 2010. The section 10 ruling means they have no conviction recorded, no criminal record and their fines dropped.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Major drop in solar activity will slow global warming minimally



Image: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research


The latest buzz by global warming skeptics is the announcement of a Major drop in solar activity predicted at the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division conference. But the effect of a weakenng sun would hardly slow global warming according to modelling by climate scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Their research shows global warming may be reduced by only about 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2100 by a new period of extensive solar inactivity.


You can read the best of the climate skeptic analysis and reporting of the press release and images and further analysis on Anthony Watt's Watt's Up With That blog. There is mainstream media coverage of this in National Geographic and the Sydney Morning Herald, Science Magazine or read other climate blogs on this at Climate Denial Crock of the Week and Climate Progress.