Climate clippings 28

Joplin tornado

Link between tornadoes and climate change

Recent bad weather in the US, for example the tornado which mashed Joplin, Missouri, has led to many many stories speculating about the link between the intense tornado season and climate change. Joe Romm at Climate Progress takes a measured view:

1. When discussing extreme weather and climate, tornadoes should not be conflated with the other extreme weather events for which the connection is considerably more straightforward and better documented, including deluges, droughts, and heat waves.

2. Just because the tornado-warming link is more tenuous doesn’t mean that the subject of global warming should be avoided entirely when talking about tornadoes.

Joe Romm’s substantive post Tornadoes, extreme weather, and climate change is well worth a read and has lots of comments and links about extreme weather in general as well as tornadoes.

Hot … and Wet

Tamino at Open Mind tells us that there is about 4% more water vapor worldwide in the atmosphere than a few decades ago.

It’s a direct result of global warming: warmer air tends to hold more water vapor. It’s also one of the main feedbacks in global warming, since water vapor is also a greenhouse gas, so increased water vapor due to global warming will amplify global warming.

He then split up the map of the US into a grid pattern and charted the precipitation from 1900 to the present for each grid. The increase in precipitation in the north-east and mid-west is quite noticeable.

Colombia’s rain goes under the radar

I must say I was completely ignorant of the surfeit of rain in Colombia, affecting 3.4 million people and 1,030 out of the total 1,120 municipalities throughout the country. Since April 2010 452 people have died from the floods. For perspective, the country’s population is 44.7 million.

I found out courtesy of a post at Climate progress. Joe Romm says we are going to see more of this with global warming and it highlights the need developing countries have for adaptation assistance.

The law of the jungle

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest proceeds apace. One of the reasons is that forest activists are likely to be shot for their troubles.

Brazilian activist Joao Claudio Ribeiro da Silva has long said that he could be shot at any time. Now it’s happened to him and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo. No-one knows who did it, but they’d received death threats from loggers and cattle ranchers because of their attempts to defend the Amazon.

The task of controlling the place seems beyond the Brazilian government, so the law of the jungle applies.

Peak cars?

The use of cars appears to have peaked in 2004 in cities all around the developed world. The reasons given may be summarised as follows:

“the phenomenon of peak car use appears to have set in to the cities of the developed world,” due to a combination of technological limits; growth in transit and re-urbanisation; aging populations and the emerging culture of urbanism; and rising fuel prices.

All fine and good, but the reasons given appear not to be based on actual research.

Green energy costs are lower than officially estimated

That’s what we are told, according to new University of Melbourne research, commissioned by the the government’s own Garnaut climate change review.

“Massively overestimated”, to quote the exact phrase.

The implication seems to be that we could skip using gas as an interim technology and go straight to renewables. Marn said they would take note.

Is natural gas cleaner than coal?

Climate Progress revisits this topic.

A recent study by Robert Howarth of Cornell University found that shale gas was potentially as big a contributor to climate change as coal, taking into account fugitive methane emissions during mining. Now the National Energy Technology Laboratory have done a study showing that the greenhouse effect of gas is about half coal.

The case is not straight forward, however, and Joe Romm’s verdict is:

It looks like Howarth’s claim that natural gas vehicles may not have lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum-fueled vehicles may hold up. It would be good to see industry provide more data and a credible independent group do a more comprehensive analysis.

He suggests a National Academy of Sciences review.

I think I commented last time that shale gas mining processes may be very different from coal seam gas in Australia. Certainly we have far less fracking.

No man is an island, but…

Here’s the poem.

Climate Progress looks at the record Mississippi floods

Mississippi floods

and suggests the bell is tolling.

67 thoughts on “Climate clippings 28”

  1. Brian,

    On the costs of renewable energy, the key message from the report you cite seems to be that the rate of decrease of costs is much faster than previously anticipated. That would seem to me to be a good reason to delay implementing renewable generation rather than advancing it.

    As an analogy, if you learn that the price of a new, whizz-bang TV is now $2000 rather than $4000, you might be interested in purchasing it. But if you also learn that the price is projected to reduce further by 50% per year, you may well hold off for a few years.

    The report also emphasises the importance of “learning” in cost reductions. However, these seem primarily around manufacturing rather than installation. Since these are global technologies, the influence that Australia has may be limited (although it should, nevertheless, contribute its fair share of the burden).

    The commercial life of a CCGT is twenty years or so. Judging by the cost projections in the report, 2031 might be a better time to be installing renewables (especially solar) than 2011.

  2. Thanks, I&U. What do you think are the implications for setting and escalating the initial price on carbon? And on how long we stick with a fixed price before moving to an ETS?

  3. Brian,

    I think that in the short to medium-term, the carbon price needs to be high enough to promote a switch from coal to gas. There have been various numbers bandied around for this: typically around $30 to $40/tonne. It doesn’t need to be at this price from year one (it takes several years to get a project up and running anyway), but by year 5, say.

    Investors in gas generation would need confidence that, under an ETS, the carbon price would not fall below this level, so perhaps a floor price is needed. If the carbon price fell below this, the government would need to lower the targeted emissions quantity and perhaps buy up excess permits. This might be done by an independent institution, just as the reserve bank buys and sells bonds to manage interest rates.

    So, perhaps rather than an abrupt change to an ETS, there might be a gradual change from a fixed price to a bounded price, with the bounds progressively widening over time.

  4. That’s an amazing picture of the house inside it’s own protective dyke.

    Hard to tell of course, but it looks like that sort of clapboard prairie house could be replaced for (say) $40 000. While the construction and demolition of the berm would cost more than that.

    I simply cannot believe that “peak cars” exists, not for Melbourne. This data wouldn’t hard to find (though I gave up after 30s on google).

  5. I&U @2: I agree that there is a strong case for the gas transition unless we are talking about completely cleaning up electricity in the next 10 years. The arguments advanced for this approach included:
    1. No problem fitting CCGT into existing power distribution systems. CCGT with variable compressor blades has the added advantage of being able to vary output rapidly with little loss of efficiency.
    2. Time for untested alternatives, such as hot rocks or advanced nuclear to prove themselves.
    3. A low cost way of getting a significant start to emissions reduction. (About 60% reduction to power related emissions if all coal fired replaced by CCGT.)
    4. Provides back-up for clean power sources with variable output (such as wind/solar) and thus defers the need for massive storage systems and/or surplus clean power capacity.
    Complete replacement of coal fired with CCGT would add less that 2 cents/kWh to the price of electricity if competitive tendering for the supply of CCGT power was used to drive the investment.
    The economic analysis indicates that the best return on CCGT investment will be obtained by those who get CCGT on line early. (The analysis assumes that all alternative plans will produce the same reduction in power related emissions over the next 40 years.)

  6. Hmm 4% more water vapour is a lot of energy added to the system.
    The oscillations in the system are proportional to the energy in it so we should expect more extreme weather events.
    CCGT’s have big efficiency advantages, I am amazed that they are not more widely employed any-where there is a gas resource.
    Now couple them with a derivative of this

    You have a really great 100% ACF solar power plant.

  7. The problem is John D, the science tells us reasonably clearly that Australia has to reduce it’s emissions by 85% or more by 2050. The best new CCGT isn’t going to get us there, we will still be too polluting when our national carbon budget is lower than that. No, we need to move to non-polluting energy sooner not later.

    Unless you disagree with the science (and can explain why, and which bits), there’s no other way.

  8. I&U @4: A carbon tax is particularly in appropriate for driving investment in CGGT since there are both upside and downside tax setting risks over the time that it takes to recover the investment. If the tax becomes too low the investment is no longer justified. On the other hand, if the tax rises too much CCGT will be replaced by clean power before the CCGT has operated long enough to justify the investment.
    The use of competitive tendering to set up long term contracts avoids these investor uncertainties while allowing government to specify how long it may be before CCGT is replaced by clean electricity. Avoids future claims for compensation.
    If anything, an ETS simply adds to the problem since it is anyone’s guess what will happen to permit prices given permit price sensitivity to how well investors guess what is required to meet the ETS target..
    An ETS also creates problems for current investors in renewables. Reductions in the price of renewable power may actually drive the price of ETS permits down, at least until the clean-up of power generation is close to completion. Once again, a contract based approach will give more investor certainty and more competitive tender submissions.

  9. Wilful @8: I was talking about a gas transition on the way to full replacement by clean power before 2050. I am talking about gas running for the full time equivalent of 15 to 20 years during this 40 yr period AS LONG AS the CCGT plants come on line by 2015 to give reductions in power related emissions for the 40 years of more than 70%.
    It is worth noting that the price of CCGT power is not all that sensitive to plant life since the present worth of power sold near the end of plant life is quite low after discounting

  10. Wilful,

    2050 is a long time away. Plenty of time for 2 generations of power station development: ie gas and then renewable. CCGTs have lower capital costs than coal-fired power stations and don’t need to run for 40 years to be economic.

    I thought that the “carbon budget” was telling us that a progressive (rather than immediate) reduction of 90% by 2050 was feasible.

  11. Good lecture (50 mins, on youtube here) from a couple of academics from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the ANU discussing how space science can help constrain our understanding of climate.

  12. That’s an amazing picture of the house inside it’s own protective dyke.


    the science tells us reasonably clearly that Australia has to reduce it’s emissions by 85% or more by 2050.


    its, wilful. its.


  13. Thank you pedant. I am glad that I am not the only one to find this irritating. Maybe it’s because for a split second I read it as ‘it is’ when it’s its.

    I’m sure that clears it up.

  14. @19, it will do me too, especially as the bikini babes need to stay indoors. Can’t have them blocking the sun.

  15. I&U @12: Part of what the carbon budget is telling us is that what counts is how much we emit over the next 40 years is what counts rather than emission rates (tonnes CO2/yr) reached by particular dates.
    The carbon budget also tells there are attractions in doing the easy things first. A 50% reduction now will have the same effect as a 100% reduction in 20 yrs time. It is one of the reasons I am keen to see rapid investment in CCGT to get that early drop in emissions while maximizing the time that CCGT plants could run without upsetting the carbon budget.
    Not sure what % of medium term power should come from CCGT to get the reliable power from a mix of wind, solar and CCGT. Any figures?

  16. The real force of the carbon budget approach comes into play if the countries of the world divided the trillion tonnes of permissible emissions on a per capita basis. How this would affect a sample of countries is illustrated in Figure 4 of my earlier post.

    The US, for example, would use up its budget in a mere 6 years. Australia would be worse.

    China also has a problem as their budget would be gone in 24 years, India is better placed at 88.

    The bottom line is that as high per capita emitters we have a responsibility to cut hard early. Otherwise we are limiting what developing countries might be able to do.

  17. There was an interesting segment on photovoltaics on Catalyst this week.

    Martin Green of the UNSW reckons second generation photovoltaics are going to become very inexpensive. He’s thinking they’ll be competitive for large scale plants, not so much roof tops.

  18. Martin should be a bit more careful with his language, either that or he is God!

    this way of creating energy is perhaps the only one that is capable of generating energy in the quantity required and without pollution

    Creating energy, like wow man you can just create energy….no wonder he’s waxing lyrically about solar it’s “a bit magical you know”.

    Sometimes the production of a slick media image interferes with what’s at stake, but does Green really believe in creating energy and magic?

    It would oh so kool if he did 😉

  19. A more relevant comment in relation to tornadoes from the NCDC here
    What does the NCDC say”The bar chart below indicates there has been little trend in the frequency of the strongest tornadoes over the past 55 years.”
    Brian how can you put the headline “Link between tornadoes and climate change”?????? Please substantiate the headline.
    Do you write what LP readers want to believe??

  20. John M, I expect LPers to read beyond the headline at the very least, if not follow the links. The point of the whole thing is that the link is somewhat tenuous at best. I agree I could have ended the headline with a “?” or begun it with a “Possible”.

    Thanks for the link.

  21. Dave,

    Your being unnecessarily pedantic. Green goes on to say

    “(it) is a bit magical you know – sunlight just falls on this inert material and you get electricity straight out of it”

    …clearly converting energy from one form to another.

    Do you think that, “like wow man”, nit picking words adds anything to the discussion?

  22. Brian: With solar PV there are a lot of advantages with the rooftop option. It delivers close to the point of use and much of the structure is already in place. However, expansion of roof top would be helped by a number of changes:
    1. Moving away from the small householder owned installations to larger installations per house possible owned by power companies who lease roof-space and use larger, more sophisticated systems for conversion to AC with a single system serving a number of houses.
    2. Set-ups that allow power to continue to be fed to the home during blackouts – this gives a more robust power supply than we have at the moment.
    3. Competitive tendering for the supply of PV power so that we:
    – Minimize price.
    – Avoid the stop start we get when simple feed in tariffs and/or carbon taxes are used to drive investment.

    This doesn’t mean large scale solar PV won’t be part of the mix but we need to keep challenging the “power should be produced in large, centralized power stations” paradigm – and not just for solar PV.

  23. BiiB it’s “you’re” by the way not “your” and I did add to the discussion @18 in case you didn’t notice but I guess that being pedantic.

    If Prof Green doesn’t believe in creating energy and magic he should avoid using those terms. If those terms are used to create some kind of media mystique then I reserve the right to ridicule the medium with terms like ‘wow man”.

    For the record I’m a big fan of solar, however as you also have so cleverly observed, I am also pedantic. To quote Prof Alan Smith who is linked to by Jess @13 “…the first thing is scientists should stop speculating and stop saying it could be terrible the world is falling because after a while we know what the effect that has on everybody…they should stick to the facts…stick to the data, that’s the trick, scientists should show a certain integrity…”

    That’s Prof Smith @53:50 on the youtube clip. If that’s too specific for you go and watch the whole clip.

  24. If you look at the definitions of ‘create’, there is nothing wrong with ‘creating energy’ as in ‘give rise to; produce’ energy.

    I was wondering why those 2nd gen solar cells need to be on glass. If the silicon is so thin wouldn’t it bend and so be able to be applied to plastic?

  25. Well, Dave, if that is y0ur skill then y0u sh0uld immediately th0r0ughly study the J0e R0mm Climate Pr0gress link as I saw at least 3 missused w0rds therein and there are certain t0 be m0re.

  26. Inspiring story from yet another of australia’s technological innovators who left the country because we couldnt spot an industry with a future if we fell into it face first.

    “…he is perhaps most proud of his work with Makani Power, a company creating airborne wind turbines that soar like kites, up to a kilometre into the atmosphere, and harness strong winds to generate electricity.

    “He said it was unlikely he would ever move home to Australia to work because of the lack of resources and an aversion to risk in the technology sector here.”

    Read more:

  27. Salient Green,

    The problem is likely to be to do with differential expansion of materials silcon over glass being equal to 1). Having said that the glass substrate may not have to be very thick, and then a polycarbonate supporting plastic layer could work very well. Then there is the long history of these materials super wizzes coming up with all manner of contradictory yet complimentary material combinations, so many things could be possible.

  28. dave @25,

    Well, you can create energy without being god. Nuclear power does it. E=mc2 and all that.

  29. John D @22,

    Well, if we have 40 years to sort it out, that is plenty of time to install CCGT and be working on cost-effective solar. I can’t see wind providing more than around 30% of MWh generated with existing storage technologies, albeit CCGT will become increasingly flexible as Salient Green notes @17.

    But even 70:30 CCGT:wind will reduce carbon intensity by almost two-thirds (you would need quite a lot of OCGT capacity too, but this would not generate much in the way of MWh).

  30. For an interesting tale on why ethics is so important to climate science, read the fallout from the Wegman Report on the
    hockey stick controversy. Took much longer than I’d bargined for to write, so readers appreciated.

    Meanwhile, your ABC headlines the story on this weekend’s carbon price negotiations with the opposition’s line: Business carbon price ‘a vote of no-confidence’. May as well give Rupert the keys to the Ultimo building, I reckon.

    Business carbon price reveals naked self interest

  31. I&U I would refer you to wikipedia

    The law of conservation of energy is a law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in a system remains constant over time (is said to be conserved over time). A consequence of this law is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed:

    but that would be pedantic. Anyway it could derail the conversation about what might happen in 40 years time…

  32. I&U @39: You might have 40 yrs but, for a particular carbon budget target, there are real benefits in terms of emission reduction and/or max CCGT life if you get the CCGT in place as quickly as possible. (Don’t ramp in do it all as quickly as practical.) Ditto building some clean power at the same time as CCGT.

    Did some quick series discount calcs for a discount rate of 15% (Common figure used for evaluating investments in the eighties and nineties for coal and iron ore mining investment.) If a 20 yr life was reduced to 10, the selling price of power would have to be only 25% higher for the 10 yr to give the same present worth.

    My assumption is that you would instal enough CCGT to be able to avoid the need for energy storage due to lack of wind/sunlight until the emissions per kWh target had dropped below say 80% (Average 25% of power coming from CCGT) Investment in storage would be needed to go to pure clean power.

    My other assumption is that you would use the CCGT too fill the gaps rather than invest in OCGT.

  33. That is a good article, RogerJ, and Quiggin has some comment on that as well.

    Following the various links around I came upon this quote from Elizabeth Kolbert for which I have added the context

    “But for those interested in the real climate science story of the past year, let’s review a couple dozen studies of the most important findings. Any one of these would be cause for action — and combined they vindicate the final sentence of Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.””

    And it occurred to me that it IS the more technologically advanced, or rather the wealthier and more advanced members or our society who are refusing to accept the reality of the failures of our way of life. There is a correlation here between the most extreme of (advanced) Islam and their reaction to the Satanic Verses. In both cases there is complete rejection of the substance of the challenge to reality, negative philosophy and negative climate impacts, followed by a determined effort to “kill the messenger”. Why is this so?

    To my thinking the commonality is that in both examples there is a body of intense vested interest in the hands of highly self interested individuals who are prepared to use every instrument at their command to protect their status quo, and maintain their hold over their subjects.

    We have all witnessed how the religious example plays out, but we are still living out the Climategate play through. But looking at one in the aura of the other there are remarkable similarities. Murdoch’s role immediately becomes clear as the “Ayatollah” protecting the interests of the wealth mongers who manipulates his “Newscoran” to control the masses and drive an anti climate awareness jihad. They say that there is nothing new under the sun, and when it comes to manipulating people and maintaining extreme wealth, it certainly seems to be true.

    And while I am on that vein, sun/wealth/religeon, imagine how different our world would be if the Ancient Egyptians had access to silicon solar technology in place of gold with which to clad their pyramids and temples. Imagine the reaction of Ramses, freshly revived from his many thousands of years cryo sleep, to what his empire has become.

  34. Roger J @ 40, your post makes several important points very effectively that need to be made – the need for consistent rules in science, consistently applied, and the treatment of PhD students. But what continues to amaze me is this point:

    In the case of the hockey stick, a number of independent studies have now shown the result to be robust, even though the original method contained flaws.

    That after all the effort made to discredit the hockey stick. Unfortunately sceptics/denialists consistently refer to "the discredited hockey stick" and it is routinely referred to a notch in the belt of McIntyre.

  35. John D @42,

    You will need some OCGT, as CCGT is simply not flexible enough to fill all of the gaps. Conversely, if you limit yourself to CCGT, you are unnecessarily limiting the amount of wind power that the grid can accommodate.

    The OCGT will be dispatched relatively infrequently and so any additional carbon emissions that it does produce will be more than offset by the higher quantity of wind generation.

  36. I&U @45: You may be right about OCGT developments, developments in CCGT, smart power, geothermal etc. may have considerable influence on future OCGT requirements. During the next 15 to 20 years the main function of CCGT will be to take over the role currently being filled by coal fired power.

  37. Biib – I know, it’s pedantic but do you see any significance in the fact that the story you linked to is almost 12 years old?

    You might also find this 2008 youtube clip interesting, despite the rather over-the-top production technique.

    The basic idea seems very do-able, so if it’s been around for a while I’m wondering what’s holding it back.

  38. What is your problem, Dave, got nothing better to do? The item I heard on the radio I believe was a current interview. The article that I linked to was under a year old (Oct 2010). The idea is not new. So why now?

    It almost certainly is about need. To cultivate 1 billion saplings to drop from an expensive to operate aircraft, is an all up very expensive proposal, so there has to be a reason to do this. Planting out hundreds of thousands of hectares of waste land is something that scientists would like to do, something that needs to be done, but perhaps you, Dave, can suggest who is going to front that bill!

  39. Low cost PV – like nuclear fusion – has been 5 years away for at least the last 25 years. Martin Green should know as he is one of the people who have neen telling us this for the last 25 years.
    Unless the cells are > 20% efficient the cost of mounting them will be dominant.

  40. Good article, Jess. I agree fully with the thrust of the article and its final conclusion. However I have a range of different solutions to those of Newman. Having lived for 17 years in a near perfect city now sadly in ruins, Christchurch, I have experienced living with the ultimate convenience of a compact city. And it is a good experience. Sydney was already a hell hole when I moved away in 1980 for all who did not have beach or harbour access, and nothing improved thereon.

    I am opposed to the densification of Sydney. What we need are more cities up to 500,000 people, but built in a more compact higher density format. Only in that way will efficient attractive cities arise.

  41. BilB: I suspect that the densification of Sydney and other metropolitan will continue to occur whether urban planners want it or not. The dream of the quarter-acre block with the station wagon doesn’t hold much promise for younger generations, and (for a lot of them) they’re more than happy to live in a shoebox if it means that great sushi place is at the bottom of the stairs, with the good coffee shop around the corner, and no hour-long commute from the ‘burbs.

    The problem for planners is how to use this new meaning of ‘a liveable city’. They tried (here in Canberra) to make lots of little shopping areas within each suburb, but the result is boarded up shops and empty streets because everyone drives to town to visit the shopping mall. Maybe something on a larger scale would work.

  42. Huggy @50: Nuclear fusion has been held by the technical problem of passing the first hurdle. On the other hand, Garnaut pp18 reports that “New South Wales PV system costs per kW of installed capacity (2010 dollars, excluding rebates)” have fallen from $17,000 in 2002 to $6000 in 2010″ and is continuing to fall.
    Support structure is expensive at the moment because solar PV is installed above the existing roof. There is no practical reason why this cost can’t be avoided by using the panels to replace the roofing material.

  43. Jess I think the “old” Canberra model with lots of little shopping areas was premised on a lifestyle that didn’t necessarily include a car for everyone and their dog but I agree the town planners (the original NCDC) were pretty well set on the suburban shop model. Today the convenience of car based personal transport in Canberra is still a major lifestyle selling point. It used to be 10 minutes from anywhere by car and although its now more like 1/2 an hour, that still compares favorably with Sydney and Melbourne.

  44. jumpinmcar: There is a lot of interesting research going on in the climate action field that could make a dramatic difference down the track I am optimistic that we can make dramatic reductions in emissions without destroying the economic world as we know it.


    What can one do but shake one’s head?

    ‘Cate debate’ not only about climate change


    Advertising executive Dee Madigan doesn’t think the carbon tax campaign will work but not because people are alienated by Cate Blanchett.

    She says the ads shouldn’t have been aired until after the Prime Minister released details of the carbon tax. And Dee Madigan says it was a mistake that the ads never actually use the word tax.

    I’m going to pass over the obvious point, and simply observe that neither “Dee Madigan” nor anyone else attempted to make this case.

    DEE MADIGAN: What people really want to know about the carbon tax is how it’s going to affect their cost of living. And the ad doesn’t talk anything about that. So actually at the end of it, it doesn’t really tell us anything.

    So the ABC gives a free kick to the Murdochracy again. If the ABC is an umpire, he’s getting kickbacks. Griffiths had another go though …

    MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: With part of this backlash against Cate Blanchett has it been this tall poppy thing?

    Fortunately, this time her respondent, an RMIT academic called the vacuous reporter to task.

    NOEL TURNBULL: Well hang on let’s just get the thing about the backlash right. The backlash that we’re talking about is fundamentally a media creation.

    On the first day there were two people that spoken about it – the Australian Family Association and Barnaby Joyce. I understand Barnaby Joyce has now apologised for what he said.

    I don’t think the backlash is as great. The backlash has been in sections of media which would have been opposed to the carbon tax ads if they’d been endorsed by the Dalai Lama and the Pope.

    Small mercies and all that …

  46. Fran,

    Your term “vacuous reporting” is very much the real issue. I find myself yelling at the radio or tv as the current crop of “reporters” fail to ask even the most basic of questions on substance.

  47. Australia Has Set It’s Price…

    After a meeting of the Prime Minister’s multi-party climate change committee*, Greens leader Bob Brown seized on a report to be released today suggesting a carbon price of $40 a tonne may be needed to force electricity generators to switch from coal to gas. [*the so-called multi-party climate change committee includes everyone except those who actually count, the Liberal and National Party Coalition that will replace the current disaster sooner rather than later and who are committed to resist or repeal any “carbon price”]

    But Climate Change Minister Greg Combet declared after the meeting that “from the government’s standpoint, it’s going to be well south of $40 a tonne and no matter what the starting price, there will be generous household assistance”.

    From (

  48. If you want a laugh, here’s a link to Media Watch’s takedown of Alan Jones’ interview of David Karoly.

    Jones can’t even get his numbers right, and here’s what 2GB had to say:

    …this particular statement made by the presenter is more a hyperbolic gesture to elucidate this opinion, rather than as a statement of scientific fact.

    — 2GB, 23rd May, 2011

    When will 2GB and AJ get pinged for libel over their ‘hyperbolic statments’ regarding Prof Karoly? I’d be pretty pissed if someone directly accused me on air of fraud, particularly Alan Jones, fraudster extrordinare.

  49. dave – I agree. Although I notice that the ACT Leg. A. has changed their tune, and are now actively pushing for higher density development in Civic/Woden etc. There are a huge number of new high rises/apartment blocks beside my walk to uni. This can only be a good thing for Canberra in terms of vibrancy in the centre city I think.

    P.S. I live 30 ks from the uni, and its a 40 min bus ride + walk in the morning, and probably 35 min by car. It’s def better than Sydney, that’s for sure.

  50. The higher density accommodation model that most impressed me was in Reading near London. This was a “Close” of about 14 off 3 storey houses, townhouse fashion, with common walls and all facing the entry street with a courtyard like roundabout for vehicle and pedestrian access. Each of the houses had a small back yard but all shared access to a strip of common land behind. It is a brilliant formula which addresses each of the essential residential needs in the most efficient manner. It was a great experience to sit in the living room of this residence looking out to the common and squirrels do their thing in the trees beyond.

    My brother owned a house in Canberra, before moving to Melbourne, which had some of these features with parkland and cycle pathways behind. But the Canberra formula is not very efficient from a high housing density point of view, though it is delightfully liveable.

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