Week ending 1 July 2012
|The U.S. surface temperature map from Unisys at 4 pm, June 29, 2012, shows 100° temperatures stretching almost continuously from California eastward to the Carolinas
PICKS OF THE WEEK
While Colorado burns, Washington fiddles
Bill McKibben, Guardian, 29 June 2012
Drought, wildfires, storms, floods – climate change is happening, but the real disaster is our Big Energy-owned politicians’ inaction
US wildfires are what global warming really looks like, scientists warn
Reuters/Guardian, 29 June 2012
The Colorado fires are being driven by extreme temperatures, which are consistent with IPCC projections
Massive ‘Debilitating’ Heat Wave Expands Eastward
NBC Meteorologist On Record Heat Wave: “If We Did Not Have Global Warming, We Wouldn’t See This.”
Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Nearing Critical ‘Tipping Point’
Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, 29 June 2012
The Greenland ice sheet is poised for another record melt this year, and is approaching a “tipping point” into a new and more dangerous melt regime in which the summer melt area covers the entire land mass, according to new findings from polar researchers.
AEMO slashes energy demand forecasts by nearly 10 per cent
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 29 June 2012
The energy market game-changer, falling demand: Developers and network operators can tear up their business plans. And so can some renewable hopefuls too – the era of solar PV and price-conscious consumers is here.
Why residential electricity demand is not growing
What can our protected places teach us about saving the Arctic?
Joe Smyth, Grist, 28 June 2012
Our national parks have been called “America’s best idea,” and Americans are proud of the special places we have protected for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations. But protected areas from Florida to Alaska face new challenges on a warming planet, and melting sea ice means that a newly vulnerable area – the Arctic – is increasingly threatened by offshore oil drilling and industrial fishing.
Adapting to climate change: Necessary but difficult and expensive
David Roberts, Grist, 22 June 2012
So: it’s mitigation, adaptation, and/or suffering. Some of the latter two are unavoidable, but if we care about the health and well-being of our descendents, we’ll maximize the first, starting today.
AUSTRALIA’S CARBON PRICE COMMENCES
Climate Spectator Carbon Tax Special
Another day, another carbon price beat-up
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 26 June 2012
The front page stories in today’s mainstream media about bailouts for Australia’s biggest brown coal generators are not quite what they seem.
To a morning sunrise of raised expectation and lowered fear
Ross Garnaut, SMH, June 30, 2012
When we wake up tomorrow, Australia will have carbon pricing. How will its effects compare with those expected a year ago, when I produced my Climate Change Review for the Federal Parliament’s multiparty committee?
Carbon tax a job half done
David Day, The Age, June 27, 2012
Coal is the great contradiction in government policy on climate change. There are good reasons for slowing and halting coal mining.
Rich, polluters, miners brace for July 1
Colin Brinsden, AAP/SMH, 29 June 2012
The well-off, polluters and the mining industry will be the targets of three hard-fought federal tax initiatives due to start from July 1
Australia’s carbon price
Frank Jotzo, Nature Climate Change, 17 June 2012
Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism leads the way with innovative design in price management and revenue recycling but could fall victim to partisan politics.
Shift minds on a tax? Unlikely
Ross Gittins, SMH, June 27, 2012
People who feel carbon tax is terrible will continue to think this way, whatever the reality.
After Rio, we know. Governments have given up on the planet
George Monbiot, Guardian, 25 June 2012
The post-summit pledge was an admission of defeat against consumer capitalism. But we can still salvage the natural world
End of an era, So now what do we do to defend life on Earth?
George Monbiot, Guardian, 25 June 2012
It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth’s living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations – the US, the UK, Germany, Russia – could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue “sustained growth”, the primary cause of the biosphere’s losses.
Rio+20 Draft Text Is 283 Paragraphs Of Fluff
George Monbiot, 24 June, 2012
In 1992, world leaders signed up to something called “sustainability”. Few of them were clear about what it meant; I suspect that many of them had no idea. Perhaps as a result, it did not take long for this concept to mutate into something subtly different: “sustainable development”. Then it made a short jump to another term: “sustainable growth”. And now, in the 2012 Rio+20 text that world leaders are about to adopt, it has subtly mutated once more: into “sustained growth”
ENERGY AND INNOVATION
Coal plants: Filthy, dangerous, and now a terrible investment!
Justin Guay, Grist, 28 June 2012
Despite what the coal industry would have you believe, the days of affordable coal-fired power are over. That’s the conclusion of the Sierra Club’s recent ”Locked In,” a report that analyzes the wide array of financial risks coal plant investments face.
AEMO: Electricity prices depressed for years
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 29 June 2012
AEMO has massively downgraded its forecasts of electricity demand, which suggest consumers will win, but coal power stations will be badly squeezed through carbon costs combined with depressed prices caused by renewables and energy efficiency.
How to power a continent with wind and solar
Giles Parkinson, ReNew Economy, 27 June 2012
Of all the most ambitious renewable energy projects around the world, the European Desertec Industrial Initiative ranks right at the top – some would say it’s fantastic in both the true and the modern sense of the word.
Victoria’s Brown Coal Boondoggle
Julien Vincent, New Matilda, 28 June 2012
Looking for signs of the Carbon Tax apocalypse? How about taxpayer dollars being used to both shut down and keep open the same brown coal power station? Julien Vincent on the latest in the HRL saga
“Millenium Challenge 13: Smart energy demand and renewable supply”
Mark Diesendorf, The Conversation, 26 June 2013
In part 13 of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Mark Diesendorf argues that it is high time we got smart about power: how we generate it and how we deliver it.
NSW announces end to CSG ‘royalty holiday’
ABC News, 24 June 2012
The New South Wales Government will end its so-called “royalty holiday” for CSG miners and start collecting royalties from day one of production.
Solar Insights: How to build utility-scale solar with no subsidies
Giles Parkinson, ReNew Economy, 25 June 2012
German firm Solaria has released more details about how it plans to build a subsidy-free, 60MW solar PV facility in Spain – one of the first of almost 1800MW of such projects in a country that cut all subsidies earlier this year.
How we can pursue 100% renewables
Mark Diesendorf, The Conversation, 26 Jun 2012
In part 13 of the multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Mark Diesendorf argues that it is high time we got smart about power: how we generate it and how we deliver it.
Game Over: Hoffert On Unconventional Gas & Oil And Unconventional Self-Destruction Of Civilization
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, June 28, 2012
Can we preserve a livable climate if we exploit any significant fraction of unconventional oil & gas resources? The CEO of ExxonMobil, which has been a major funder of climate disinformers, says it will be “manageable” through adaptation. Actual climate scientists disagree, as does the recent scientific literature.
POLITICS AND POLICY
Exxon CEO Thinks You’re All Overreacting to Climate Change
Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones, 28 June 2012
ExxonMobil has never been a big fan of climate science. The largest oil company in the world has been caught funding bad science on climate, and CEO Rex Tillerson has claimed previously that there are “too many complexities around climate science for anybody to fully understand all of the causes and effects.”
What The World’s Richest Woman Gina Rinehart Thinks About Climate Change
Graham Readfearn, DeSmogBlog, 27 June 2012
She is the richest woman on the planet with a personal fortune approaching $30 billion thanks to her coal and iron ore businesses.
Future of polluting power stations remains unclear
ABCNews, 29 June 2012
The future of two of Victoria’s biggest power plants continues to hang in the balance.
Libs to take axe to climate agencies
Sid Maher, The Australian, June 25, 2012
The opposition has unveiled plans to scrap at least five major climate change agencies and dozens of programs as part of its removal of the carbon tax if Tony Abbott wins the next election.
Palace protest arrests
SMH, June 25, 2012
Four climate change activists have been arrested after scaling the gates of Buckingham Palace and chaining themselves to the railings. Three men and one woman who said they represented the Climate Siren group locked themselves to the centre gate and south centre gate, wearing T-shirts bearing the words ”climate emergency. 10% annual emission cuts,” and wielding megaphones.
SCIENCE AND IMPACTS
Cities as Hot as Death Valley
Jon Erdman, weather.com, Jun 28, 2012
You may have heard of Death Valley, Calif. This is typically the nation’s hottest location in the spring and early summer. The valley’s “Badwater Basin” sits 282 feet below sea-level, the lowest elevation in the U.S. That lack of elevation and its location in the Desert Southwest allows it to heat into the 120s at least several times each summer.
Global carbon emissions rise is far bigger than previous estimates
Simon Rogers and Fiona Harvey, Guardian, 21 June 2012
New analysis by the Guardian shows the world emitted a record 31.8bn tonnes of carbon from energy consumption in 2010
Gleckler et al Confirm the Human Fingerprint in Global Ocean Warming
Dana Nuccitelli, Skeptical Science, 27 June 2012
Although over 90% of overall global warming goes into heating the oceans, it is often overlooked, particularly by those who try to deny that global warming is still happening. Nature Climate Change has a new paper by some big names in the field of oceanography, including Domingues, Church, Ishii, and also Santer (Gleckler et al. 2012).
Arctic find could cause major shift in climate debate
Michael Richardson, SMH, June 25, 2012
Two years ago, a Canadian research team alarmed climate scientists when it published the results of a survey of the oceans. The researchers reported that the world’s phytoplankton – tiny, plant-like organisms that grow in seawater – seemed to have been disappearing at a rate of about 1 per cent a year for the past century.
Arctic ice turns to the dark side
Nicola Jones, Nature Climate Change, 26 June 2012
It is well known that the minimum summer Arctic sea-ice cover has shrunk by about a third since 1979, at an average rate of more than 10% per decade. Less well appreciated is the fact that the proportion of thick, old ice that lasts from one year to the next is shrinking even faster, at about 15% per decade