Climate clippings

In this post I have included a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. It doesn’t preclude treating any of these topics in a separate post.

It can also serve as an open thread.

Greenland ice melting faster than ever

It seems that the melt rate of Greenland ice has increased significantly in the past few years (2006-2008), to reach 273gt per year. That’s the equivalent of 273 cubic kilometres. The question is whether this marks the beginning of nonlinearity in the decay of the Greenland ice sheet. If it does we are in for interesting times.

Climate change risks to Australia’s coasts

This item has been all over the news, with reports of 250,000 homes endangered, mostly in NSW and Queensland. The report on Australia’s coasts has used an anticipated sea level rise of 1.1 metres by 2100 to assess vulnerability. This is from the Executive summary:

Recent research, presented at the Copenhagen climate congress in March 2009, projected sea-level rise from 75 centimetres to 190 centimetres relative to 1990, with 110–120 centimetres the mid-range of the projection.

Based on this recent science 1.1 metres was selected as a plausible value for sea-level rise for this risk assessment.

They then go on to say that it is important in risk assessment to consider worst case scenarios. Why then would they pick the midpoint?

Sydney and Brisbane airports are endangered at 1.1 metres.

Tim Flannery is to chair a group to look at the implications of the report.

Gary Sauer-Thompson has more at Public Opinion.

Brazil pledges deep emission cuts

Brazil is taking a proposal for voluntary reductions of 38-42% by 2020 to the Copenhagen climate change summit. Half of this is to come from a reduction in deforestation, which is to be reduced by 80% by 2020.

Brazil and France have put out a joint statement following Lula’s visit to Paris. The purpose of this seems to be to put pressure above all on the US and China.

China, I heard on our ABC was responsible from de-fanging the APEC statement by removing the numbers from the targets, which had been inserted by Singapore.

For all Obama’s frenzied diplomacy, prospects of passing the US climate change bill are looking shaky.

There is a suggestion that the climate bill will be on the backburner also that the US will patch together an interim position for Copenhagen.

Further to the north Stephen Harper of Canada reckons climate change was an international priority for which he has a long term plan to cut 2006 emissions by 20% by 2020 (I think 2006 was a mere 38% up on 1990). But his short term plans don’t include going to Copenhagen.

The Future of Coal

On Saturday Extra Geraldine Doogue hosted a forum on the future of coal.

Greg Combet was impressive, as you’d expect. He argued that a carbon tax may be fine, but politically impossible, so forget it. He also seemed not impressed with the coal miners who weren’t interested in getting with the program.

I think it was Paul Gilding (I was multi-tasking at the time) who suggested that we should only export coal to countries that had implemented CCS.

I think it was Bill Mitchell who suggested a rule-based approach rather than the market solution of the CPRS. For example, tell the coal power stations that they had to wrap up operations by 2020 if they didn’t have CCS.

The TRUenergy bloke told of plans to make brown coal as energy efficient as black coal. Beaudy!

British opinion survey on climate change

There has been an opinion survey in Briton on climate change. The results are too complex to summarise here, but the headline result was that only 41% of Britons believe that humans are causing climate change.

125 thoughts on “Climate clippings”

  1. Thanks for the updates Brian. A general comment: a lot of the hoo-haa about CPRS negotiations will shortly be overtaken by international developments anyway. I do hope the CPRS is robust enough to cope with a MASSIVE increase in the lameass and irrelevant targets being discussed here.

    The sooner global action slaps a reality check on Canberra the better.

    Im all for direct citizen action, and I might have a word with 350.org on citizens petitions – direct accession, committing their country to more ambitious targets. eg Id like to see 3 million Australians and 30 million Yanks sign up to 20% by 2020, 50% by 2050. Put a bit of internal pressure on Washington and Canberra! Raise the spectre of illegitimacy! If you decide to represent big carbon, we start dealing directly with the world!!

  2. Most informative.

    At some time in the relatively near term, we will get some (probably half-arsed and shambolic) international agreement that will sweep over whatever plans we’ve made domestically, rendering much of our febrile national discussion moot.

  3. This report on what a political agreement at Copenhagen could look like is probably of interest. I see a big part of the role of such an agreement would to to send a message to the US Senate that the rest of the world is doing something and they need to pass legislation before the next major meeting (probably in 6 months time).

    I am more optimistic about the US Senate passing legislation (eventually) than the LA Times article. It might not look much like the Environment and Public Works Committee version of the Kerry-Boxer Bill. This article in Grist seems to suggest that some of the conservatives in the Senate don’t like working with Senator Boxer because she is not an old man. But it seems like Kerry, Graham and Lieberman will agree on something, and Graham has commited himself to doing that. Other Republicans worth watching are Murkowski, Snowe and Collins.

  4. The ABC is reporting that negotiations for a comprehensive, binding agreement at Copenhagen have collapsed, and the parties are now trying to agree on a relatively short, non-binding motherhood statement.

  5. No meaningful policy on climate change will come into effect until it is far too late to be effective.

    Impossible. If it is far too late to be effective then the policy is, by definition, not meaningful but moot. You utter a paradox.

    That said, I suspect that you could have been right if you’d stopped at “effect” or reworded to say:

    No policy on climate change that would be meaningful if enacted now will come into effect until it is far too late to be effective.

  6. LE @ 6, I don’t know whether it is that bad. What I heard is that a ready-to-sign treaty was impossible (we’ve known that for some time) and that Copnhagen would be a step towards achieving such a treaty within 6 months from then.

    Re your comment @ 1, more power to your arm. I think 2050 should be at least 80% but in a sense 2020 is the more important one. 20% is about the minimum for countries like Australia and the US, both with rising populations, but IMHO only if that is genuine reductions and not credits purchased elsewhere. As you would know I’d like to see zero by 2030, but no-one is going to sign up to that unless they get the pants scared off them. If economies like the US and Oz achieve 20% by 2020 they would be well on the way to a low-carbon economy and the rest might be achievable, given an appropriate sense of urgency.

    There was a 300.org launched earlier this year, pretty much a one-man effort by Dr Gideon Polya, it seems. Not sure how they are travelling.

  7. Brian, has any-one found chart showinth rate of changeof the Greenland ice cap?
    Meltwater will form lots of deep fissures in the ice andincrease the surface area, result should be an increase in the rate of melting.
    Huggy

  8. An earlier comment of mine got caught in the spam filter, here is a version without links:

    There is a report today on the website of The Australian on what a political agreement at Copenhagen could look like is probably of interest. I see a big part of the role of such an agreement would to to send a message to the US Senate that the rest of the world is doing something and they need to pass legislation before the next major meeting (probably in 6 months time).

    I am more optimistic about the US Senate passing legislation (eventually) than the LA Times article. It might not look much like the Environment and Public Works Committee version of the Kerry-Boxer Bill. An article by David Roberts in Grist seems to suggest that some of the conservatives in the Senate don’t like working with Senator Boxer because she is not an old man. But it seems like Kerry, Graham and Lieberman will agree on something, and Graham has commited himself to doing that. Other Republicans worth watching are Murkowski, Snowe and Collins.

  9. Brian @10

    I think 25% below 1990 by 2020 is the starting point for serious action for Australia. I don’t mind if there are offsets purchased elsewhere as long as they are accurately audited and not double-counted (i.e. they are ringfenced from whatever the other country’s obligations are). If they want to call this “aid” I’m OK with that.

  10. Peter W your comment with links is now @ 3. Hard to see why Askimet took a shine to it.

    Huggy @ 11, the most recent chart I’ve seen of Greenland (and Antarctica) is at Skeptical Science. It should be reliable, but it shows the 273gt as applying probably to 2006, with things going well south from there. Antarctica is also not pretty.

    But I’d like to see either the original paper of the report I linked to or an additional commentary from a reliable source.

  11. Fran @ 15, offsets are well and good and I’m not against them as such. I just want to see a genuine change in the carbon orientation of our economy as a high priority if we are to be well-placed to mitigate a situation turning rapidly pear-shaped, should that eventuate.

  12. One committed soul endorses your initiative, Lefty.

    Climate strike

    Meanwhile, on the lawns outside Parliament House, a climate change hunger strike has entered its 10th day.

    It is being organised by 29-year-old Melbourne university student Paul Connor.

    “I’m getting pretty thin, getting pretty lethargic but apart from that it is a good feeling to be making a stand for what you believe is right,” he said.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/16/2743484.htm

    Brian, have followed them all; really appreciate your work on the biospheric destruction of our spaceship earth. In the same way that civilised people don’t tolerate others using their homes as tips or sewers, there is no reason to tolerate the asphyxiating behaviour of Big Carbon & Allied in their greed-addled rush to globalise the Black Hole of Calcutta.

    Eight freakin’ days of over 100 degree temps in Adelaide IN NOVEMBER, and morons like S.A.’s COALition Senator Minchin can’t see why anything needs to be done urgently because he claims, there is no evidence that global heating is “man made”.

  13. Brian@17

    I just want to see a genuine change in the carbon orientation of our economy as a high priority …

    So do I, and as a matter of practice I suspect that is what would happen with a 25% target. Not putting CO2 into the environment in the first place is better than trying to lock it up in soils, waterbodies and biota.

    OTOH funding good programs that restore lost vegetation, protect the integrity of rainforests etc and allow those who are the immediate stewards of these programs to make a living at it in some LDC also ticks lots of boxes.

  14. Further to the north Stephen Harper of Canada reckons climate change was an international priority…

    No-one takes Canada seriously. They ratified Kyoto then spent billions developing the Alberta tar sands, the most emissions intensive way of producing oil apart from coal-to-liquids.

    I think it was Paul Gilding (I was multi-tasking at the time) who suggested that we should only export coal to countries that had implemented CCS.

    Er, that would be no-one then.

    Like Canada, how much credibility does Australia have when we’re madly investing coal mines and new infrastructure to get our coal to export markets faster?

  15. Can’t say I’m at all surprised that Copenhagen has been declared a flop before it even starts. I never expected our world “leaders” would do anything else.
    I don’t know how long it will be before the masses start to revolt over this, but I’ll give it about two years. By then we’ll start seeing fully Green governments + in some places (not here) a couple of revolutions. Of course, by then it will all be too late.
    Welcome to the Tipping Point.

  16. Fran @ 19, I think Peter Wood has recommended a limit on the use that can be made of purchasing off-shore credits, I can’t remember whether it was 15% or 25%. That makes good sense to me.

    But a reasonable compromise would be to have a 25% target and a limit to off-shore credits of say 25%.

  17. Thats right Paul – serious risk of backsliding calls for mass popular global action against our own useless governments. Series of hugely embarrassing mass actions which demonstrate they DONT represent their own people in these craven capitulations to big carbon.

    Also more of the international pressure like the France/ Brazil statement earlier. Germany’s playing grown-ups on the issue, where’s Japan? (*cough* here’s ya big chance for full redemption over WW2 by saving world from self *end cough*)

    And China – go on then, show us how a command economy takes command etc.
    And US – you arent going to let those Authoritarian commos win the reductions race, are ya?

  18. Brian suggested:

    But a reasonable compromise would be to have a 25% target and a limit to off-shore credits of say 25%.

    I’m not sure you need to write in a measure like that. I doubt that in practice, anyone would go above that level. It’s not as if there’s a competition amongst countries to aid LDCs.

    The key thing is to ensure integrity of the accounting, however it is done.

  19. On offshore credits, I am a fan of what is sometimes called “discounting”, at least for offsets. With discounting, if you want to offset one tonne of emissions, then you need to buy more than one tonne of offsets. With the US legislation, you need to buy 1.25 tonnes of international offsets for each tonne offsetted. A higher discount factor would probably be more appropriate.

  20. Er, Paul @ 22,

    You are aware that skepticism is *growing* are you not? For most people it isn’t even on the radar.

    Lefty @ 26. Good luck with that. The last global call to action, the ‘350’ day was a giant fizzer.

  21. As part of the public debate we have to find ways to get things through to people who are probably much less informed than we ourselves are. I wonder if the issue of community sporting and recreation activities might be another avenue to shift some people’s thinking?

    I was talking to a colleague at work the other day about the impact that climate change is going to have upon sports like Cricket in the next thirty years. He currently coaches his son’s district cricket team. Given how many games currently get cancelled, I suggested that Cricket could be all but dead within this timeframe, as the junior grades will basically not be able to play in the afternoon during Summer as what we currently consider extreme weather events are going to become more and more common.

    Even in my own sport which is played mostly during the evening, we will routinely get at least two or three games cancelled out of a 14-16 week Summer season, I can see games having to be put back to starting at 7pm to avoid 38 degreee plus temperatures leading to the majority of games being cancelled. I would not be surprised to see our national tournaments which are usually played during the day (if they continue to exist if travel becomes severely restricted) shifting to morning and twilight events with a siesta in the middle of the day.

  22. Thanks Peter! Millions of people attended 5,200 events in 181 countries on October 24.

    How are those denialist rallies going? Still 12 whackos crowded around a fake PhD, talking solar flares and wearing tin hats, like its 1999?

    Good luck with that. 🙂

  23. scepticism anout our leaders doing something slightly gutsy about global warming or scepticism about global warming itself? (i have come across a climate change septic yet who is’t either slightly mad or completely bonkers.
    Ooops. I meant sceptic.

  24. Hat tip to Mark Byrne at Deltoid for this one, but skeptical science has an excellent and accessible account of the net radiation flows, showing the energy balances that underpin CO2 climate forcing.

    Satellite measurements of infrared spectra over the past 40 years observe less energy escaping to space at the wavelengths associated with CO2. Surface measurements find more downward infrared radiation warming the planet’s surface. This provides a direct, empirical causal link between CO2 and global warming. skeptical science

  25. I don’t know how long it will be before the masses start to revolt over this, but I’ll give it about two years

    Are you high?

    The only person I’ve met recently who is really passionate about climate change is a guy with a low lying house close to the beach, and he wasn’t so much angry that nothing was done to reduce emissions, but p*ssed off at the Council for refusing to repair services in an area likely to be inundated.

    95% of the population couldn’t give a flying f***. Sure they’d like to see government spend other people’s money on more wind farms and solar panels, but they sure as hell don’t want to spend more on electricity or petrol.

  26. We don’t need to worry about running out of water, we can bring back ice from the moon. Technology will overcome yet again!

  27. This stuff just makes me hot under the collar(and everywhere else at the moment).

    A bit of advise please: is it worth going solar, water and electicity, using the govt subsidies/grants. Do I help at all by doing this? Thanks in advance.

  28. Well said Carbonsink. You must live in the real world. I wonder where all the other people live.
    I have only ever met one person who has got rid of their car because of global warming. Surely if you really really believed in it you would get rid of your car! And aeroplane flights. And electricity. In fact if everybody who beleived cut their emissions to zero…. problem solved.
    Or is there something else going on?

  29. Seriously though folks, the campaign to stop building wind farms to protect the rare orange bellied parrot was led by the daughter of Brian Loton [chairman of BHP at time of wind farm]. A reading of ‘The Big Fella, the rise and rise of BHP’ leaves me in no doubt that BHP has a lot to gain by derailing efforts to move to a constrained carbon economy.

    DebbieAnne @ 37 – I have installed insulation and am getting a solar panel to send a message that we need renewable energy.
    The 1 KW limit is inadequate to power a modern house, with 2 or 3 computers, modem, TV, stereo, fridge, etc and if there is a power blackout you can’t use the electricity generated on your roof either.
    Insulation in the ceiling isn’t a counter against floor to ceiling windows facing the wrong way.
    I would install a solar hot water service if I had an unshaded northern roof.

  30. Well said Carbonsink. You must live in the real world. I wonder where all the other people live.

    Buggered if I know. Outside of the parallel universe that is lefty/green blog land, most people I know are struggling to the bills, flat out with the kids and work, and living for the next holiday.

    Real, effective action on climate change makes the bills more expensive, and probably outlaws the holiday.

    Over the cliff we go!

  31. Carbonsink said:

    Outside of the parallel universe that is lefty/green blog land, most people I know are struggling to the bills, flat out with the kids and work, and living for the next holiday.

    Yeah, because no one commenting on this blog could possibly be earning the median income or less, have one child or more and not own their own home.

  32. Chrisl@38

    I have only ever met one person who has got rid of their car because of global warming. Surely if you really really believed in it you would get rid of your car! And aeroplane flights. And electricity. In fact if everybody who believed cut their emissions to zero…. problem solved.

    The trouble is that that simply isn’t possible as a matter of practice. The configuration or contemporary infrastructure would not allow the bulk of 6.8 billion people to live a carbon neutral existence. You can’t hav e organised work without transport and water and therefore power. Producing food and building materials and medicines and refrigeration all requires power. Presenting this as if it were simply about 6.8 billion choices is seriously fatuous.

    Yes we first worlders could sharply cut our emissions if we all consistently lived a lot more simply. Also there are about 3 billion other worlders who deserve to live a lot better than they are now whose consumption will need to rise if they are to live with a modicum of dignity, so it wouldn’t be “problem solved.”

  33. Hey, this post has just appeared on a Google Alerts feed, the second time that’s happened in a week. Given some of the crap that comes through, that’s not necessarily a recommendation!

  34. The trouble is that that simply isn’t possible as a matter of practice. The configuration or contemporary infrastructure would not allow the bulk of 6.8 billion people to live a carbon neutral existence.

    No, it can’t happen in most of the West because of our infrastructure and town planning laws. But I have spoken to women from Sweden and Germany who stated that in many cases one does not need a car, in Sweden they love their bicycles and have obviously geared their infrastructure to promote a lifestyle and does not demand having a car or needing to spend 4 hours a day going to and from work.

    We have done the exact opposite, our societal structure demand we remain coal burners. Our goal has been more towards creating a productive environment that encourages coal burning rather than an environment that than one that reduces our dependence on private and public transport. If AGW risks and consequences keep reaching ever higher, we’re stuffed.

  35. Here’s my climate clipping:

    California’s renewable energy mandate requires the state’s private utilities to procure at least 20 percent of electricity from renewable resources by 2010, which is only weeks away. However, utilities are only procuring about 13 percent from renewable sources – less than in 2003.

    Oh well, another target missed.

  36. “Can’t say I’m at all surprised that Copenhagen (already) has been declared a flop”……

    Paul, and everyone else bemoaning reports in the MSM in these last crucial weeks before Copenhagen as if it is a fact that nothing will be achieved there – don’t you think that we are all being spooked intentionally by those same media forces which have done their worst best for decades to counter the man made global warming case.

    I’m more inclined to think like Brian @ 10 and Peter Wood @ 12. There is more to hope for than the greenest amongst us believe! For god’s sake even a political formula to which the US, China, Europe and Russia can give even nodding agreement is a giant step forward, not only on climate either. I hear Rudd’s cautions in terms of the pragmatist and strategist who plans to bring home more than the public will have been led to expect.

    On another thread we have been chewing over Peter Abetz’s inept invocation of Hitler in the Legislative Assembly here in Perth. Seems not to have excited the MSM nationwide. I wonder how that will compare with Clive Hamilton in Higgins likening of climate change sceptics to holocaust deniers?

    Paul @ 33 – Freudian slip there, but they do live in a septic tank of excremental thought processes, don’t they!

  37. John H said:

    We have done the exact opposite, our societal structure demands we remain coal burners. Our goal has been more towards creating a productive environment that encourages coal burning rather than an environment that than one that reduces our dependence on private and public transport.

    Well not exactly as very few cars run on coal, though of course steelmaking does require it. Your broader point is correct though. It would be possible through redesign of urban systems for Australians to get down to about 80Kwh per person per day (maybe even 60) without a serious loss in lifestyle. Of course, what people call “serious” is a matter of debate on which I suspect there would be division.

    Of course these days we Aussies have chosen to reject the option of nuclear power that we choose, essentially due to an aesthetic preference for coal and gas, but nuclear power and a highly grid-based transport system could get our emissions down even further perhaps down around 30 kwH per person per day.

  38. oops … let’s try that last para one more time:

    Of course these days we Aussies have chosen to reject the option of nuclear power, essentially due to an aesthetic preference for coal and gas, but nuclear power and a highly grid-based transport system could get our emissions down even further perhaps down around 30 kwH per person per day.

  39. lefty @ 14, what if we boycotted new cars….?!? Wouldn’t that not be akin to engaging more powerful players and… well… and then….

  40. Consensus seems to be we are all stuffed. Brilliant, really ficken brilliant. I reckon we need a different strategy because obviously the truth and prediction of doom aren’t working. I think the only suitable course of action is to give up completely, plug in the heaters, turn on the lights, buy the big screens and get a hummer. Go with the flow and lets crash this party. It’s only the fight that we lose, the planet will be a lot better of once it warms up a bit and sorts out the rich from the poor.

    Of course we could try this (my fave) but I reckon there’s a perfectly good reason why it never happens. Maybe we should corporatise the world, then we could put a price on everything.

  41. You’ll have rephrase that Keithy, I cant imagine what the question is.

    Denialists, here is your challenge: you have to convince people not to believe in *science*. Again, good luck with that. 🙂

  42. Lefty E @ 52

    The ‘deniers’ (love that word!) don’t have to do anything, least of all organize a rally or two. Meanwhile the hysterics (you lot) have to convince the world to turn on a dime. Can’t and won’t happen.

    I’ve said it before but I will repeat: I doubt if you will ever convince a majority in the west to fundamentally change their lifestyle and you have a big problem of the rest of the world wanting what we’re having and are going to great lengths to get it. This means that the worlds energy use will increase – dramatically – over the next 50 years. I mean 5 – 10 times.

    Energy really is the key to everything. With essentially unlimited energy ( mainly electricity) you can produce as much fresh water as you want. Whole rivers full if you like. And pump it to the deserts to grow food. You can extract metals from increasingly poor deposits and produce as much liquid fuel ( for aircraft ) that we can all ( 9 billion of us ) travel where ever we want when ever we like.

    So we will want lots of energy. That means nukes. Plain and simple.

    The small minded, hysterical thinking of so many here is really quite mind boggling – and amusing. I fully expect a few of you to blow a fuse in the near future.

  43. I have played around with 2007 population and “emissions from burning fossil fuels for energy” data from here. A few key points:
    1. 99.5% of the world lives in countries that have a lower per capita emissions (see def above) than Aus.
    2. Aus per capita is about 4.9 times world average.
    3. 49% of people live in countries with a per capita below world average.
    4. 19.5% in countries below 20% of world ave.
    5. 12.5% in countries below 10% of world ave.
    6. A 68.3% reduction in 2007 emissions is equivalent to a 50% reduction of 1990 emissions.

  44. The only people blowing fuses are the denialists in the coalition – silly old men seeing their certainties …slipping away.

    It will happen, probably mid next year. A world agreement involving the US China and EU is inevitable, even if it doesnt happen at Copenhagen. That will render all the denialists bleatings even more impotent than they presently are.

    And you know TEH MOST EVIL AND CUNNING part??!!! People will still make money, capitalism will roll on, countries will still develop, people will still get wealthier over time – only with less carbon.

  45. Peter, your complete ignorance of ecology is to say the least, staggering.

    Because lots of fresh water, solves, like, everything.

  46. Peter #53,

    darn right. I’m researching a new kind of water – capitalist water. It only rains where there is a demand, and only on private property.

  47. David_H @ 51. I liked the suggestion about re-afforesting deserts like the Sahara. Wise farmers all over Australia, even here in WA, have been trying that voluntarily and successfully for decades to deal with salination. Surely it’s time to persuade all our farmers to comply with a national re-afforestation program, even, if necessary, require it as an alternative to resumption of title.

    PS to my comment @ 47 to Paul Burns about his slip on “septics”. Brevity being the soul of wit I should simply have pointed out that ‘septics’ is an anagram for ‘cesspit’. Where is Ambigulous today?

  48. On my pessimism about our politicians achieving anything worthwhile in dealing with global warming. One general conclusion I’ve come to studying Australian, American, English,Medieval and various other histories (including, a long time ago two pretty intensive courses on Chinese/Japanese/Korean history) is that the political class almost always gets it wrong and then has to come back and fix up the damage. Now, that might be okay in the normal course of human events, but when it comes to global warming we don’t have ten or fifty or a hundred years to let the confusions of the past sort themselves out.( e.g. the Catholic Church is still sorting out the stuff ups of the Great Schism and the Reformation, FFS, though I do admit they’re pretty glacial.) In fact, I suspect we don’t have any time at all.
    Of course, in good faith, I should caution you all about my pessimism. Its a natural adjynct of being a historian. And a Capricorn.

    Patricia WA,
    I like climate septics. As you pointed out fits their mindset precisely.

  49. Peter @ 53:

    I agree that it will be impossible to convince the majority of Westerners to change their lifestyles. I believe it will be even more difficult to convince developing nations that they should slow growth in energy usage and carbon emissions. I also agree that a massive global nuclear program is inevitable.

    On everything else I disagree.

    The biosphere, the thing that sustains us, has spun out of control due to our actions and its very unlikely that we will correct it (or create an artificial biosphere) that can support all 9 billion of us. Yes its certainly possible that with unlimited energy we’ll able to support millions (perhaps billions) of people artificially. But its a race against time. We still rely on the biosphere for everything, and will do so for several centuries.

    Of course, being a ‘greenie’ I question whether a world where the natural world has been completely destroyed would be one worth living on. But even if you place no value on that, I doubt we can get to your unlimited energy utopia fast enough that there won’t be serious consequences in the meantime.

  50. Dj @ 56

    Actually i did ecology at uni, probably before you were born. Or are you worried about the ecology of deserts? Fresh water solves a hell of a lot.

    Roger @ 57. You *are* aware, are you not, that 70% of the earths surface is water?? Unlimited cheap energy from nukes + sea water = unlimited amounts of fresh water. Pump it through a thing called a pipe ( using e n e r g y ) and you can have it anywhere you like. The Saudis do it ( wastefully ).

    The alternative is to reduce the worlds population by 90%. Forcibly. Like many a control freak here advocates. (Even you dj, I bet).

    PB I am a capricorn and optimistic. Your problem is you took the wrong pill ( communism ) so long ago you have forgotten what its like to be happy. Enjoy your miserable old age!!

  51. Actually i did ecology at uni

    What happened? Are you at all concerned about loss of biodiversity, deforestation, decline in fish stocks? Do these things matter to you at all, and how do they fit into a world with 9 billion humans all with Western standards of living?

  52. Carbonsink @ 63

    Of course I am ‘concerned’ about these things. They are *all* solvable.

    Biodiversity: A high energy society allows people to group together ( intensive farming over a smaller area, use deserts for farming, large cities). A low energy society forces them to spread out (India) and use *more* of the land, collect firewood etc. and kill wild animals for food or extra cash.

    Deforestation: Are you aware that there are more forests in the US now than 100 years ago? A high tech, high energy society uses things like concrete, steel and plastic. Low tech, low energy ones use wood, animal dung and other ‘natural’ products.

    Fish stocks: Last I heard, over 1/3 of fish eaten these days is farmed. This will increase ( currently 8% per year). I know fish farming has its own problems but these are easily solved – with more energy and tech.

    The thing is, like it or not, there *will* be 9 billion or so people (for a while – then it will decline slowly). They *will* want a western style life. To top it off, people *do* want to live longer ( and will – the average person born in the last 20 years in the west will live to 100 or more ). So you may as well get used to it and start advocating policies to cope with this. This means nukes and Capitalism ( with a big, fat ‘C’ ). Socialism is a proven killer and is totally unworkable.

  53. Kunstler’s latest compares us (well, Americans specifically) to yeast people.

    As any brewer will tell you, after a fermenter (closed system) runs out of nutrient, the yeast autolyses.

    Peter, you’re wrong, as a little reflection would tell you.

  54. Er, no David, you are. Last time I looked people are not yeasts. Hard for you to understand, I guess but as people get richer they have fewer children. Yeasts are also incapable of exploiting asteroids, figuring out how to generate unlimited power from, say, thorium, how to clean up their environment, mine low grade ores, recycle etc. In short, they have a brain. Please use yours.

  55. Peter@65 asserted:

    Socialism is a proven killer and is totally unworkable.

    And as soon as we can point to an example opf socialism, we can begin exploring this unsupported claim. In the interim, we will have to make do with evaluating the various iterations of capitalism for their associated efficacy and morbidity.

    I hear Somalia is a libertarian capitalist paradise — no government since the 1990s and you can buy a diplomatic passport for $50 that looks real. I’ve heard, and no doubt Peter will confirm this, that the people there are so happy that on a whim, they can rip their kit off and start hugging at random in the street, and are occasionally struck dumb at the idea that anyone would want to live anyplace else. They are so free and happy they don’t even need nukes, and talk like a pirate day can happen every day of the week. Doubtless this is why one never hears of Somali refugees.

  56. Peter: desalinating ocean water for agriculture is an economic non-starter without fundamental breakthroughs in technology, even assuming the use of nuclear energy on a massive scale.

    A 1 GW nuclear power plant puts out around three gigawatts of heat. Let’s assume that all of this energy is used directly in a multi-stage flash desalination plant. A MSF plant uses about 25 kilowatt-hours to produce 1 cubic metre of water. When you crunch the numbers, and assume the plant operates 90% of the time, you get about 950 GL of water annually from it.

    Median annual surface water from the Murray-Darling is about 11500 GL.

    So even before you consider the boilers, pumping and so on, that’s a dozen nuclear reactors devoted to desalination.

    Do you really think that you could pay for that kind of infrastructure from the sales of agricultural products?

  57. A high energy society allows people to group together … A low energy society forces them to spread out

    Nonsense. What is the population density of Bangladesh or India, compared with the US, Australia or Canada? If anything, population densities are higher in low-energy societies.

    A high tech, high energy society uses things like concrete, steel and plastic. Low tech, low energy ones use wood, animal dung and other ‘natural’ products.

    Concrete and steel are very carbon intensive, and plastic is made from that well known inexhaustible resource: crude oil. Plantation timber OTOH is sustainable and locks up carbon.

    The thing is, like it or not, there *will* be 9 billion or so people … They *will* want a western style life.

    That I agree with, which just makes me despair. Sadly I am not a devout follower of Julian Simon and his cornucopian libertarian nonsense. Sometimes I wish I was.

  58. Well, I dare say, until the Right comes up with a low carbon free market solutions, they will continue to lose ground to those who favour state intervention. Why? Because the public is already convinced global warming is a gigantic problem, and only the left is proposing to do anything about it.

    So, you can keep you head in the sand, pretend it isnt happening and LOSE, or get off yer fat lazy arses and come up with some solutions you can live with ideologically.

    Incidentally, Id welcome the latter.

  59. To summarise Robert @ 71:

    Nature provides these services for free. Shouldn’t we try to preserve these services instead of replacing them with monumentally expensive man made equivalents?

  60. Lefty @ 73: In case you hadn’t noticed, skepticism is growing. Your left vs right schtick is tiresome. The only thing the left is proposing to do is waste gobs of money of useless programs and chuck sand in the global economy.

    CS @ 72: With enough energy you can make as much petrochemicals as you want. If you see concrete and steel as causing a carbon problem you can use energy to offset that. Good luck with that wooden skyscraper.

    Robert @ 71: According to my reading the theoretical minimum energy required to desal 1ltr of water is .66 kcal. This translates to 660kcal/m3 and according to wolframalpha 1kcal = 0.0012 kwh. ie about 0.8Kwh /m3 (.66 x 1000 x .0012). Correct me if I am wrong. This site says it currently takes about 14Kwh per 1000gals or ~4Kwh/m3 with current tech. This sounds about right as Israel desalinates water for about 60 cents/m3. The process has already doubled in efficiency in the last decade and will doubtless improve more.

    CS @ 75. Not possible.

    Fran@70 Clueless about Capitalism as ever. According to this list, Somalia doesn’t even register. I note your socialist paradise of Zim is at the bottom of the list, while Pauls – Venezuela – is also near the bottom. Note just *why* much of Africa is such a basket case, and then tell me with a straight face that capitalism is the problem.

  61. [straight face] Capitalism (or more accurately colonialism) is the problem.

    Jesus, Peter, go away and learn some history.

    Cornucopians really shit me.

  62. No, I hadn’t noticed, Peter – since ALL the polling suggests otherwise. In any case, if YOU hadnt noticed, that battle was lost by skeptics years ago, as evidenced by the fact that now were on to the point of negotiating the SECOND binding international agreement on emissions reductions; and the serious opposition comes from those who AGREE with the science, but dont want to do anything anyway, cos it might cost money.

    I mean, seriously – how much more badly could you guys lose a debate? You’re not even among to the top two protagonists in the stoush. 🙂

  63. Peter@74

    Somalia has no effective government or legal system but “a healthy informal economy” according to the CIA Factbook.

    Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia has maintained a healthy informal economy, largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. […]Somalia’s service sector also has grown. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money transfer/remittance services have sprouted throughout the country, handling roughly $2 billion in remittances annually. Mogadishu’s main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate and are supported with private-security militias …

    If that’s not libertarian capitalist, it’s hard to see what would be. Silly wiki references trading on your preferred mythology don’t cut it. I’m not sure why you mentioned Zimbabwe. That has nothing whatever to do with socialism. But back to capitalist Somalia … why don’t we ask the von Mises people to comment on Somalia?

    Stateless in Somalia (and loving it) (really you have to say this like Maxwell Smart from Get Smart)

    But why read when you can check out the travel video?

  64. Fran, if that video (blocked at work) is the one I’m thinking of, it’s a hoot! “I’ve got cholera!”

    I don’t know how libertarians can still take themselves seriously after that (or I wouldn’t if I didn’t know they’re mostly too dull to have a sense of humour).

  65. That’s the one DI(NR) …

    Still, it’s telling to see what would happen if the rightwing libertarians had their wish granted.

    I’m always reminded on these occasions of that epic entrepreneur, Crassus, Rome’s first fireman …

    Rome’s First Fireman

    […] The rest of Crassus’ wealth was acquired more conventionally, through traffic in slaves, the working of silver mines, and judicious purchases of land and houses, especially those of proscribed citizens. Most notorious was his acquisition of burning houses: when Crassus received word that a house was on fire, he would arrive and purchase the doomed property along with surrounding buildings for a modest sum, and then employ his army of 500 clients to put the fire out before much damage had been done. Crassus’ clients employed the Roman method of firefighting—destroying the burning building to curtail the spread of the flames.

  66. LeftyE @78: “serious opposition comes from those who AGREE…”

    For some reason this reminds me of Rudd’s current pretzel manoevres:

    (a) We are NOT treating the Oceanic Viking people differently to other refugees.

    then followed by,

    (b) OK, we are treating them differently, but that is because it is a special circumstance.

    So consequently they have to keep them separated from other disgruntled refugees, who it appears don’t accept explanations (a) or (b).

    And if you don’t like explanations (a) and (b), they’ll just rustle up another “reason”…

  67. Driving home from my place of employment this evening (near Elizabeth), I saw a shitload of fire trucks heading east into the hills, fast, with lights and sirens.

    It’s not just Northern SA, LeftyE.

  68. How anyone could look at our contemporary weather patterns (including sheers number of natural disasters) and decide “no problemo” is frankly beyond me.

  69. Lefty E: perhaps I’m putting my foot in it, but that “catastrophic” rating covers places like Coober Pedy. Perhaps I’m missing something, but to represent a truly “catastrophic” there has to be some organic material present to burn, a material that’s in rather short supply in that part of Australia.

    Seriously, it’s not my part of the world, but how much of either part of South Australia has a significant fuel load – and, from the other side of the fence, where the hell are people in those remote aeras going to evacuate to that’s significantly safer?

  70. Well, true, but its not quite the point Rob. Catastrophic fire warning anywhere in the country in *November* is quite concerning – for say, next February.

    Southern Australia: uninhabitable by 2050?

  71. Victoria is going to issue a report than the one released by the Feds. It is also going to consider 80cm and 140cm scenarios as well as 110cm.

    Meanwhile Thailand is losing land to the sea.

    The Seychelles are worried also, according to President James Michel:

    Describing the “vicious circle” affecting the Seychelles, he said rising sea levels kill off coral, robbing fish of their habitat and causing tuna to migrate.

    Tuna fisheries account for some 40 percent of the Seychelles’ economy, Michel said.

  72. Lefty E:

    I think my further point is that “catastrophic” conditions in that part of the world aren’t that unusual, and furthermore don’t represent the kind of catastrophic risk they might in an area with substantial vegetation.

  73. How anyone could look at our contemporary weather patterns (including sheers number of natural disasters) and decide “no problemo” is frankly beyond me.

    Lefty, I think William Kininmonth is trying exactly that strategy, at least as reported here.

  74. wilful, Barry Brook is a very competent climate scientist and has done a good job in that post in revealing the difference between the noise in periodic cycles and meaningful trends.

    Lefty E, there is good logic behind limiting emissions at the consumption rather than the production end, but no practical way of doing it. We had a look at carbon labelling and it just doesn’t seem practical.

    Eventually the carbon should be in the price, which could be achieved when every country comes within the ambit of a world-wide ETS, which I see as part of our eventual toolbox, but we are a long way away from that.

  75. Huggy @ 91, I haven’t had time to check out the latest on the Gulf Stream. There is some stuff in Chapters 2 and 3 of this report, with the proviso that Roger Jones reckons the report was put together in some haste with perhaps inadequate checking that it represented the source documents.

    A quick skim seem to indicate that it is raining more at higher latitudes, as predicted by climate models, which means that more fresh water is flushing into the Arctic Ocean. Maybe this could have an effect on the ‘overturning’ function that drives the thermohaline. In any case increased transpolar winds are flushing more ice out into the warm northern Atlantic, meaning there is more young ice in the polar cap. So there is unusual stuff going on up there.

  76. given this thread is a general sharing of CC related info, I wanted to draw people’s attention to the fantastic effort of the Run for a Safe Climate team. They arrived at parliament house on Monday evening, and it was pretty inspirational to meet a group or fire-fighters, police and ambos, who have all given up a month of their own leave to do this run. They are supporting the call for 350ppm, and their personal statements on the website of why they are doing this are really moving.

    It’s hard to think of better ambassadors for the science and urgency of climate change for rural and regional Australia.

    They had a briefing on the climate change science here at parl house; I was saddened by how very few parliamentarians bothered to come and meet them or attend that briefing.

  77. A large amount of the pre-Copenhagen rhetoric has been of the apocalypse now or at least much sooner than previously expected variety – tipping points, 50 days to save the world, etc.

    Logically therefore, as several commenters above at least imply, if Copenhagen fails as appears certain to produce a meaningful global agreement, then surely it must be concluded that it is too late for mitigation efforts, which will be merely extremely costs for minimal or no outcome, and that the attention (and the funding) must turn urgently to adaptation.

    Will this happen? Bet your life it won’t. The mitigation industry which has control over the climate change debate will airbrush the lack of real world outcomes from Copenhagen from the record and continue its merry way – even more funding for renewable energy rent-seekers supported by new taxes like the CPRS (no quibbles; it is effectively a tax), further ramping up the apocalyptic rhetoric, etc.

    A major reason IMHO why surveys across the western world show populations becoming increasingly cynical about AGW is the perception that the rhetoric is not only getting more than a tad hysterical, it is also increasingly internally inconsistent.

  78. Fran @34

    My understanding is that it not just a matter of outward radiation at the wavelengths at which CO2 absorbs. Because most of the projected warming comes from positive feedback mechanisms, not just the direct effects of CO2, it is the consistency of outward radiation across the board with IPCC models that is the issue, and there are considerable doubts about whether satellite observations are so consistent. Which is to say a number of claims about significant inconsistency.

    I am not suggesting that the claims are necessarily correct; my limited understanding is that the jury is still out. It is still possible in my view though to hold the position that some AGW is happening as one would expect from the simple fact that greenhouse gases are, well, greenhouse gases, but that there are doubts about the modelling of the feedbacks and therefore of the more extreme projections of eventual temperature rise.

  79. Robert @ 86, recall that we had a reasonably wet (well, compared to recent years) winter in SA this year, and enough water in Cooper’s Creek to reach Lake Eyre, so there’s probably a fair bit of fuel around Coober Pedy. (Just guessing, as I’ve not seen it.)

    In fact, even in dry years, there’s more burnable stuff than you’d expect in outback SA.

    On a different theme, bloody Fran Kelly was wittering on about “Hasn’t there been recent cooling?” to a climate scientist this morning. As far as I can tell, he put her back in her box without actually assaulting her, but Jesus! isn’t there some way to get her to stop lying on national radio?

  80. Wait until the bodies start piling up. Seriously.

    We’ve had record temperatures in the midst of some of the lowest solar output in a century, and during a strong La Niña. The El Niño this summer might kill a few more people. It’s going to get hotter, and even drier.

    If we have this CPRS debate again in February, I suspect the public mood for change will be more intense.

    Until then, Bernard Keane’s comments are about right: Take your CPRS and shove it.
    http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/11/16/keane-im-sick-of-the-cprs-to-hell-with-you-all/

  81. David, there was a lot of water from the north that came down to Lake Eyre and the Channel country in the western rivers came to life. Certainly there was rain also around Adelaide.

    I think this leaves Cobber Pedy much as it always is, but what that is I don’t know.

  82. Brian, Coober Pedy itself is a moonscape, because of all the holes in the ground and associated spoil heaps, but the country around it is typical Australian desert. That is, there’s a fair bit of vegetation.

    I must admit I wasn’t following the rainfall in the far north of SA particularly assiduously this year, but my impression is that it was wetter than it has been for quite a while.

  83. Wozza, I recommend you read Poles Apart by Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal. Their information is up-to-date to December 2008 and didn’t have access to the most recent information on the heat uptake of the oceans, as indicated in Figure 6 in this post.

    Also in his Bjerknes Lecture of December last year James Hansen reckoned that climate sensitivity had been pretty much nailed to 3C plus or minus half a degree, from short term feedbacks only. This took into account uncertainties relating to aerosols and clouds and was based on paleo evidence.

    There was no link or reference, from memory, but Hansen in my book has a lot of credibility as a scientist. There is a tendency to downgrade his science because of his political activism, but to do this is foolish IMHO.

    The bottom line is that there is great uncertainty about what is going to happen in the next decade or two but little doubt about the longer term legacy we are leaving future generations.

  84. Where was that DI(NR)? She only spoke to COmbet tghis morning.

    She is an astonishingly vacuous person for a supposedly serious on-air commentator — of that there is no doubt.

  85. The other morning Fran Kelly was trying to express atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in “parts per metre” and temperature rises under “2%”.

    You have to laugh or you’d cry.

  86. It was a bit earlier than the Combet piece. (I missed most of that because I was feeding the chooks and watering some seedlings.) I can’t remember the bloke’s name, but he’s with the CSIRO. He very patiently explained that there hadn’t, in fact, been cooling and tried to get the distintion between signal and noise through her thick skull, with little success that I could hear.

    I suppose if he’d exploded and called her a bimbo it wouldn’t have been a good look, but I wouldn’t have blamed him.

  87. Thats a great piece by keane, George D. I agree: about the only thing that sickens me more than the “climate denialists who make a virtue out of their own intellectual and emotional disabilities”, and the pathetic, whining industries with their hands out permanently, is the useless crappy camel that the CPRS has become – especially after negotiating with category a and b above – people who are either too daft to understand the science, or too compromised to act on it.

    And i think this point of yours bears repeating: “We’ve had record temperatures in the midst of some of the lowest solar output in a century, and during a strong La Niña.”

  88. Brian @103, thank you for the reference, but Hansen’s credibility is about zero. He may once have been a good, respected scientist, but he has taken too many clearly partisan positions for that to have been the case for several years.

    I could quote you Lindzen on the earth’s radiative budget and its implications for the modelling (“From 1985 until 1989 the models and observations are more or less the same – they have, in fact, been tuned to be so. However, with the warming after 1989, the observations characteristically exceed 7 times the model values…..implying strong negative feedback”, And he quotes four supporting papers.)but I suspect you would take the same position on him as I do on Hansen, and I would even understand why.

    Exchanging experts at 20 paces won’t give us a definitive conclusion, and I stand by my view that at the very least the jury is still out on this particular part of the evidence.

    Fran Kelly’s major problem is that she never interviews the other person, she interviews herself. She cannot ask a straight question; she has to load it with suggested answers (or, as this morning, a suggested position for the interviewee to attack).

  89. Here’s a really interesting development:

    http://www.copenhagencommunique.com/signatories

    Check out the two page list of recommendations. Not bad, for a bunch of self-interested CEO’s with remuneration packages that reward short-term thinking!

    Check out also that long list of companies, including some you would never think of signing off on this communique. Even RioTinto has signed up – steaming coal mines for sale, bargain prices, perhaps?

    Good grief, whatever next! I’m almost contemplating abandonning cynicism, in the face of what looks like forward-thinking leadership.

  90. Further to the list of companies @110, RioTinto has signed, but it seems that the CEO’s of BHPBilliton and Xstrata have declined to offer support.

    Some oil companies, including British BP, German RWE, Spanish Repsol, and the two biggest Norwegian oil companies Statoil and Norsk Hydro have signed, but not Woodside or Santos.

    Unsurprisingly, ExxonMobil and Shell are absent – perhaps they are content to jawbone about their green credentials in glossy ads, rather than put their names to anything requiring a change from BAU?

    Woolworths has signed but Coles hasn’t.

    Interesting list, don’t you think?

  91. Thanks, Peter.

    Wozza @ 109, ignore Hansen at your peril. But nah, I’ll leave it there. Experts at 20 paces 🙂

    Elise @ 111, Coles is owned by Wesfarmers, who own a few coal mines. That might have something to do with it.

  92. Pilmer in Australian today: “the more energy a country uses the richer it becomes”..?????…the guy is insane and the Australian takes him seriously…we have a long way to go.

  93. Brian @113: “Elise @ 111, Coles is owned by Wesfarmers, who own a few coal mines. That might have something to do with it.”

    Yes, indeed! I looked for Wesfarmers too.

    The curious point is that RioTinto has coal mines also, but they have signed. There is of course a distinction between steaming or thermal coal used for coal-fired power, and metallurgical or coking coal used for making steel.

    That is why I had the comment @110 “Even RioTinto has signed up – steaming coal mines for sale, bargain prices, perhaps?”

    Does anyone know the ratio of coal deposits (thermal versus coking) for RioTinto, BHPBilliton and Xstrata? It might go some way to explain the difference in their support for the Copenhagen Communique. That is, if RioTinto has mainly coking coal deposits, then the loss of a coal-fired power market might not be such a threat to them.

  94. why wouldn’t they sign if they are in line for massive amounts of domestic compensation in their fiefdoms countries of operation?

  95. Peter @ 65: Capitalism didn’t get us to the moon! Where did you get your education?!? {Was your Dad a spun-out real-estate agent by any chance?!!!?} You sound a little pushy to me so I’m going to start calling you a Fascist if you don’t watch it!

  96. Oh, Peter, @ 62 you’re talking about taking the ‘communist pill’ as if giving tax-payers money to banks is the holy-grail…. hand over the drugs NOW!

  97. Seriously, it’s not my part of the world, but how much of either part of South Australia has a significant fuel load – and, from the other side of the fence, where the hell are people in those remote aeras going to evacuate to that’s significantly safer?

    I pondered the last part myself, especially when I heard the school at Ernabella was going to be closed. But Robert, you should check that country out sometime, get on yer bike….well maybe not a road bike, but a bike, and go for a ride up the track [prickle guards required], it’s great country, and for the most part quite vegetated. There would be a lot more vegetation if it weren’t for the grazing too. There is a LOT of really stunning ancient native pines around Roxby Downs…see it while it’s still there!

    Mulga makes the best damper for it’s slow, consistent burning, so I would say the Mulga Scrub could be a pretty intense fire. Those slow growing, dense desert woods would definitely create some heat.

    On a side note, I saw a great presentation by some of the older women from the APY lands on mosaic burning of the spinfex and scrub country in north west SA at the Ecology conference I went to, it was interesting to learn that the women took responsibility for that.

    I guess a big part of the problem for the CFS is just the size of those fire ban zones in the north, they’re huge, so advice for one area may be quite redundant for another, but what else can they do?…micromanage every town?

  98. “Plimer in Australian today: “the more energy a country uses the richer it becomes””

    Yes – in the short term, Plimer – but in the long run we’s all dead, mate.

    The 80s and 90s were boring. You had to content yourself with reading about the fall of civilisations. Today we get to participate. That’s heaps more fun.

  99. South Korea has announced voluntary cuts of 4% in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020.

    In per capita terms their GPD is $27,700 (PPP), just behind New Zealand, so some effort of this kind is not out of place. It would seem that they have matched what the US might do.

    I guess om balance in the circumstances it’s welcome – just!

  100. A study from the Queensland Department of Agriculture. A”Climate breakthrough” no less.
    But for the actions of the 4th estate ( in this case Queensland Country Life ) apparently it would have been suppressed by those inveterate “Bush Bashers” the Bligh government.( Note the great job for the family member- shades of a Tripodiasation going on ???)
    Lo and behold 2 minutes later the report IS released.
    .
    The first story
    http://qcl.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/climate-breakthrough-cattle-carbon-neutral/1681718.aspx?src=enews
    .
    The story’s releases occurs! Hooray!-http://qcl.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/mulherin-releases-report-into-beefs-net-carbon-emissions/1681764.aspx
    .
    The link to the summary and the report itself.
    http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/27_15803.htm

  101. murph, I had a bit of a look at that one last night. Firstly, it’s hard to see why the Bligh Government ever saw it as appropriate to hide the report from the public.

    Second, it looks like a pretty thorough study.

    What it means, I think, is that Qld graziers, where restraints on tree clearing have saved the nation’s bacon in terms of conforming (somewhat) to our Kyoto undertakings, can now more properly claim such restrictions as cover for their own economic activities.

    Taken with a couple of other possible developments, the report puts a whole new perspective on the beef industry. I’m still planning a post on the issue, hopefully early next week.

  102. The politics of fear is a very potent weapon! Well, change is scary so it harmonises well and can so easily be used… I would have to say these reasons dictate why the debate is as lame as it is! Once the metrosexuals lose some skin then we can expect to see an acceleration toward Renewable Energy! I think a graffitti campaign at this point in time would do wonders myself: Abbott acknowledged that the election race is now on…..!

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