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.
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.