Climate clippings 29

Planet earth

Take a look at where we are heading

This was linked on a previous thread, but I want to emphasise that 2010 saw the worst ever carbon emissions.

There’s a link in that article to five scenarios of temperature change by Mark Lynas. The scenarios are derived from his book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet which was favourably reviewed at RealClimate.

A rise of 1°C is unacceptable. For example, at that level the coral reefs of the world are under threat. At 4-5°C, which is where we’re heading if the do nothing brigade had their way, we have nightmare territory.

World must face ‘inconvenient truth’ of emissions rise

And without fatalism, says the UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres.

The figures showing that efforts to control greenhouse gases have had little effect are likely to stretch already strained relations between developed and developing countries over climate change to breaking point in the next two weeks in rows over who is responsible for the fastest ever rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

The timing of all this is important because of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany from 6 – 17 June 2011. The program shows preliminary meetings of subgroups over 6 days from 31 May. These subgroups include the Least Developed Countries (50 countries), the Small Island Developing Countries (38 countries), the G77 (currently 131 countries), and the African Group, with much overlapping membership. That’s a lot of talking.

UN chief challenges world to agree a 1.5C target for climate change

Figueres said she had the support of the group of about 40 small island states – many of which are in danger of disappearing as sea levels rise – as well as most African countries and other, least developed countries. She pointed out that at Cancun, governments had agreed to review the 2°C target in the light of a new scientific study on the effects of climate change.

“I’m not saying this is going to be easy,” she said. “The argument I am making is not about feasibility but an argument of social justice. We can’t have as our goal something that we already know does not guarantee the survival of low-lying states and sub-Saharan Africa.

“If we already know that, in my book there is no way we can stick to the goal we know is completely unacceptable to the most exposed [countries].”

Good to see someone is not asleep at the wheel.

Contemplating a 4°C world, which we may face by 2060

Temperature projections

Joe Romm at Climate Progress posts on a Royal Society special issue on a 4°C world. Some quotes:

In such a 4°C world, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world. Hence, the ecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved.

2°C now more appropriately represents the threshold between dangerous and extremely dangerous climate change.

Told you the 2°C ‘guardrail’ was a nutty idea!

Canada greenwashes tar sands

Canada is making a sterling effort to achieve a 4°C world.

In reporting to the UN they “deliberately excluded data documenting a 20 percent increase in annual pollution from Alberta’s tar sands industry in 2009.

Further than that they have formed a team to “aggressively undermine European environmental measures” in an “oil sands advocacy strategy”.

James Hansen warns that if we burn all the oil in tar sands and shale, in addition to the traditional sources of oil and coal, runaway warming and the Venus syndrome become a “dead certainty”.

Oxfam warns on food shortages

Rising food prices are tightening the squeeze on populations already struggling to buy adequate food, demanding radical reform of the global food system, Oxfam has warned.

By 2030, the average cost of key crops could increase by between 120% and 180%, the charity forecasts.

It is the acceleration of a trend which has already seen food prices double in the last 20 years.

Half of the rise to come will be caused by climate change, Oxfam predicts.

It calls on world leaders to improve regulation of food markets and invest in a global climate fund.

See also Mark Lynas, Oxfam’s Grow campaign and the Oxfam report.

Creating a new vision of economic growth

Professor James Gustave Speth outlines the problem, catalogues the woes and lists what we must do. He’s no doubt right, but I can’t see a practical way forward in what he says, apart from the usual urging. I did like this quote from Thomas Homer-Dixon:

“We can’t live with growth, and we can’t live without it. This contradiction is humankind’s biggest challenge this century, but as long as conventional wisdom holds that growth can continue forever, it’s a challenge we can’t possibly address.”

Bhutan has been pursuing the growth of happiness rather than GDP since 1972, but
this article reckons their secret of happiness is actually GDP growth “spurred by giant hydropower projects that India has been building in Bhutan for two decades.”

Europe’s dry spring

A pattern of dry springs seems to be emerging in Europe, raising food prices and possibly leading to blackouts as nuclear and hydro power production are affected. River transport is already a problem with ships being forced to sail 50-80% empty.

No mention of climate change in the article.

France is shovelling out the dosh to stressed farmers.

Planet earth wants to get rid of a vermin species

From the humour department, planet earth is telling us:

“Get the fuck out of here. I want you to leave now.”

77 thoughts on “Climate clippings 29”

  1. Here is the interim report by Joseph P. Reser, Nick Pidgeon, Alexa Spence, Graham Bradley, A. Ian Glendon & Michelle Ellul on Public Risk Perceptions, Understandings, and Responses to Climate Change in Australia and Great Britain, which has been reported on in the media this morning.

  2. Thanks for that Paul. Climate change seems to have impinged on the experience of Australians more than the Brits.

    There was talk earlier this week of a report from the Productivity Commission on what other countries were doing, but I haven’t heard of its release yet.

  3. Very interesting reading from paul’s link:

    Despite dramatic differences in geographic regions, climate, climate change exposure, and recent histories of extreme weather events, the findings across most risk perception and concern domains were remarkably similar.

    Public concern levels with respect to the threat and perceived impacts of climate change were very high.

    Australian respondents viewed climate change as a more immediate, proximal, and certain threat to their local region and nation, than was the case for British respondents, for whom the problem was perceived to be more distant, uncertain, and less familiar in terms of anticipated consequences.

    As with the findings from many overseas surveys, a distinctive minority of Australian respondents, approximately 5.8%, could be characterised as being disbelievers or strong sceptics with respect to the reality of current climate change and/or the causal role of human activities and environmental impacts, with these strong views disproportionately influencing overall survey findings. The comparable figure for British respondents who could be characterised as being disbelievers or strong sceptics was 5.1%.

    Where oh where do the Australian and the worse half of the Coalition get their mojo from?

  4. wilful, no mojo just commercial interests that amplify the 6% noise for their own reasons. I spell it out, shit loads of $ are there to be lost and gained with the new co2 regime. I don’t think the industrial strength droning will stop until the big shots are adequately ‘compensated’ for the incoveniance of saving humanity.

  5. Katz @ 3, I hadn’t seen that particular graph, but I’ve posted others with the same information. I think it’s right to think in terms of reciprocal causality between CO2 and temperature. Another way of putting it is that they will always find an equilibrium over time.

    The real stunner in the link is what it said about climate sensitivity, the temperature equilibrium that will result from a doubling of CO2. It says:

    An estimate from the tropical ocean, far from the influence of ice sheets, indicates that the tropical ocean may warm 5°C for a doubling of carbon dioxide. The paleo data provide a valuable independent check on the sensitivity of climate models, and the 5°C value is consistent with many of the current coupled climate models.

    The oceans will always be warm less than land and the poles will warm more than the equator. So when Hansen came out a few years ago and said that full climate sensitivity was 6C, and the the 3C midpoint commonly quoted (as in the last IPCC report) only took account of short term feedbacks, it seems he may have been right. What a surprise!

    The relevant section in The Critical Decade report (16 on the counter) is very conservative. It mentions a recent study that places climate sensitivity at 4C.

    This study looked at 3 million years ago and came out with a figure 30 to 50% above the conventional value.

    This study looked at 4.5 million years ago, when CO2 levels were between about 365 and 415 ppm. Temperatures back then were about 3–4 °C warmer than preindustrial values.

    Once the ice sheets are seriously in play you are likely to get about 15m of sea level rise long term for each degree of temperature rise.

    2C is looking like a really silly idea, and Hansen’s notion that we should get concentrations down to 350ppm (currently 390) ASAP looks sensible to me.

  6. Brian,

    “Hansen’s notion that we should get concentrations down to 350ppm (currently 390) ASAP looks sensible to me.”

    How would we do that? On what timescale?

  7. Dave C @5,

    The writer is a NSW Liberal Senator!

    Where do they find them? Unbelievable.

  8. I&U @ 10: That wasn’t an article, it was part of a speech that is now on the Hansard of NSW. I think the Drum published it in the same mode as Pharyngula’s Graeme Bird memorial thread.

    Still maybe he’s onto something – why would we spend years studying a subject if not to gain control of the nation and satisfy our pinko leninist lust for statist society?

  9. Oxfam are underselling it, and if climate change really starts screwing with food production on land we wont be able to eat too much fish…

  10. Peter Phelps’ enormous intellect was on display during David Shoebridge’s epic filibuster last night.

    At one point just before midnight Mr Shoebridge described the legislation as “draconian”.

    It prompted the Liberal MLC Peter Phelps to leap to his feet with a point of order, telling the house that Mr Shoebridge was mistaken because “there are no dragons involved in the industrial relations situation of NSW”.

    Phelps has a thing for dragons. Four weeks ago, he compared climate change to the existence of dragons:

    I foresee a future where dragons are made responsible for global warming. Perhaps dragons should be investigated even more deeply into their role in climate change… because it has the same sort of scientific relevance as carbon dioxide has.

    (NSW Legislative Council, 11 May 2011)

  11. “Hansen’s notion that we should get concentrations down to 350ppm (currently 390) ASAP looks sensible to me.”

    How would we do that? On what timescale?

    I&U, my general approach would be to aim at about 50% emissions reduction by 2020, 100% by 2030 and net minus zero during 2030-2050. In the first tranche I’d concentrate on direct action of the kind you yell at John D over – mandate no coal-fired electricity, change coal to gas, mandate only renewables for additional capacity etc. etc. Within those virtuous rules the market can do what it likes.

    In the second tranche, I’d consider cap and trade, with a rapidly falling cap to squeeze the rest of the carbon out. For the third, we’ll need large scale carbon sequestration. We can start now, but there is a lead time for developing technologies.

    Hansen has some ideas, but practical mitigation beyond “stop burning coal and oil” is not his long suit, I think.

    David Spratt and Philip Sutton with their concept of a ‘safe climate’ were actually ahead of Hansen by some months in calling for 320ppm. They have a crack at what to do in Climate Code Red. The guts of their stuff was published online in 2007 in response to the Arctic melt of that year, under the heading The big melt, from memory.

    Hansen delivered his 350ppm verdict in December 2007 at an American Geophysical Union meeting as the UNFCCC meeting in Bali was in progress. Hansen was in fact answering a question put to him by Bill McKibben, who on that basis went off and organised, linked by wilful @ 11.

    You could take a look at Beyond Zero (plans on the left), who aspire to zero emissions in 10 years.

    Joe Romm at Climate Progress is less ambitious in aiming at 450ppm stabilisation through a series of wedges. He thinks that aim is doable, just, and by the time we reach that we should have a better idea about where we need to go from there and how to get there.

    Hansen says exactly the same thing about 350ppm, BTW. He thinks the earth’s surface is more reflective than it was pre-industrially, so we may not need to go to 280ppm or even to 320.

    In 2006, George Monbiot had a crack at 80% for the UK and wrote about it in Heat. From memory, that was on the basis of the notion that the planet’s sinks could absorb 5gt of carbon (18.5gt of CO2) safely, a common idea at the time.

    I&U, practical mitigation is not my long suit either, but that’s the best I can do at this time of night.

  12. Kevin Rennie @ 13, I did see a link to that Brazilian dam, but yours is better. To build the dam

    two huge canals 500 meters wide by 75 km long will be excavated, unearthing more land than was removed to build the Panama Canal. Belo Monte’s two reservoirs and canals will flood a total of 668 km2 of which 400 km2 is standing forest. The flooding will also force more than 20,000 people from their homes in the municipalities of Altamira and Vitoria do Xingu.

    dave @ 14, I think the overall thing is that we are rapidly depleting stocks of all the fish big enough to eat. There was a piece of research a couple of years ago saying they’d all be gone by 2048.

    In addition, we are scooping up fish too small to eat and feeding them to fish in fish farms.

  13. #18 Brian – I’d like to clarify that SOME farmed fish require fish protein in their diets, not all. And of those that do, not all farmers source their protein from natural sources. Of course it would be better if none did. Artificial growing systems, including aquaponics and hydroponics, are frequently more sustainable than traditional farming, and are likely to be the future of food when the planet goes to cactus. Not the reason it did.

  14. Brian,

    The technologies that will have the biggest impact on CO2 emissions are not visble in the market yet, and they will remain invisible until the denialist influence has been eliminated. Typically the very elements that Abbott argues to be the solution and so the basis of his “policy” are prevented from being fully developed by his (and all of those like him) presence and influence. Meanwhile, Europeans, who embraced climate science have been steadily building the elements of the solution for their part of the world .

    The ridiculous part of this entire anti carbon pricing argument is that those who are perceived at risk are the ones who have the most to gain by early uptake of climate change action. And I think that the problem is that in the rush for higher profits our business exective is entirely filled with business commerce related “talent”, and there is a technology and innovation vacuum at the decision making level. ie business cannot see the solutions because that is not their skill.

  15. BilB,

    “I think that the problem is that in the rush for higher profits our business exective is entirely filled with business commerce related “talent”, and there is a technology and innovation vacuum at the decision making level. ie business cannot see the solutions because that is not their skill.”

    You will see that change as disruptive technologies emerge, as we saw when technologists and innovators led the dot com companies.

    Profit-seeking is not the problem; it is an important part of the solution.

  16. I&U,

    I think that you are a little naive on business structures. Profits is what we all strive for, but good business is dependent on a perpetual flow of product improvement. It is the bell curve of product life. That is why institutional investment (lazy investment) clings to utilities and property ie perpetually renewable demand, and also why climate change is such a threat to this belief structure.

    But here is a prime example of what I am saying about Europe

    There are so many layers to this technology which are not even on Australia’s technological radar. The NBN is a good start which the Coalition will kill off in a second if they get the chance.

    I’ve just spent a week exhibiting our product in Melbourne at the NMW2011 machinery exhibition. Ours was one of 3 products based on my original invention, but my business partner noticed how few fully Australian products were on offer at this show. In an earlier thread there was a list of the changing pattern of employment in Australia. Noticeably most of the growth employment categories were in the “overheads” categories of the balance sheet. ie we are bleeding declining production profits to feed our growing population. This is not a new trend, it has been going on now for some decades. So it is a bit rich for Abbott to out of the blue start “defending Australian jobs”, particularly as his every policy is structured to kill them off.

  17. Jesterette @ 18, thanks for the information. My source was Alanna Mitchell’s book Seasick (2008) which is a well-researched book, but the author is a journalist and it wouldn’t surprise if she didn’t get everything right.

  18. Brian @17 No argument, what really worries the crap out of me is the combined pincer movement of totally depleted wild food reserves and climate induced agricultural failures on a large scale. Without food we are stuffed.

  19. @BilB #21

    The gadget you linked to is just a low power, low bandwidth adaptation of the homeplug standard for “ethernet over power”. It’s obviously targeted at signalling, monitoring and control applications. All it does is transport IP packets to/from your home router. No more/no less. It is the sort of standard that I would call both obvious and inevitable. Nothing wrong with that.

    But I really don’t think this is indicative of forward thinking Europeans and backward Australians. Neither it or EVs are going to produce the necessary emissions cuts any time soon. Emissions in electricity generation are the key, and while there is merit in this sort of stuff, it is all too easy to be distracted by sideshows.

  20. dexi, it goes with the territory. The reactionary right have succeeded in their campaign to make climate change an “issue” rather than a fact, and the more simple minded are directing their murdochian fueled angst towards the intelligentsia. The retreat to violence is a clear threat to the rule of reason and law.

    The local rag has a bit more detail.

  21. Quokka,

    …and that would be the opinion of our policy makers,…also missing the point.

    Intelligent appliances are one of the key adaptability technologies. The article talks about the communication technology to make better use of fluctuating electricity supply while minimising cost to the consumer. This is a huge area of improvement which Australia has not even begun to think about, although various aspects of the technology have been available for several decades.

  22. The Canberra Times article that Dave linked to is very good. Beeby broke the story. The worst threats are violent and misogynistic threats to family, the “i know where you live” crap and suchlike.

    I haz comment, and also some detailed analysis of the climate behind the January floods in northern Victoria, which was submitted in edited form to the flood review.

  23. Katz @3: The 100,000 yr cycles are driven by cycles in the earth’s orbit. You would expect the result to be a sinusoidal curve but it is quite different. The cooling part of the cycle is slow while the heating part of the cycle is slow. CO2 and temperature have a tendency to move in rough sync but there are certainly lags. It al suggests that:
    1. Rising temperature releases carbon from bogs, permafrost, oceans etc.
    2. Rising CO2 drives up temperatures so there is a runaway effect until you start to run out of easily released CO2 and/or the cooling part of the orbital cycle becomes strong enough for the runaway to be stopped. (May be aided by some of the other solar cycles adding strength to the cooling.
    3. It is much harder to stuff the CO2 into the bogs etc. during the cooling cycle.
    AGW appears to be pushing the heating cycle further. The current CO2 level is above 293ppm compared with a max of 280 ppm in the last 300,000 yrs by your graph.

  24. Brian: You need to include fossil carbon from the decomposition of carbonate minerals such as limestone in your bad bad list when we are getting closer to reversing emissions. The CO2 released during cement manufacture is partly due to this decomposition.
    I dont know the details but one of the important mechanisms for reducing CO2 is the conversion of eroded silicates to silica and carbonate minerals. There has been some talk of actually reducing atmospheric CO2 by starting with magnesium silicate minerals in the manufacture of cement – (Cement actually absorbs some CO2 when it is used.)
    Apart from natural mechanisms there are other possibilities for sequestering CO2. Suggestions include running power stations on biofuels and sequestering the CO2 as well as charcoal sequestration.

  25. John D – I remember standing on Bluff hill with a geologist in NZ talking about killing the Comalco aluminium plant at Tiwai Point in Bluff* and installing a coal-fired power plant instead, because (a) Southland has a lot of coal, and (b) immediately across the harbour from Tiwai Point is a huge complex of ancient magma chambers – the roots of an old volcanic arc which are mostly made of olivene.

    His idea was that you could have incredibly efficient CCS for a coal plant by fracturing the rocks and pumping the CO2 directly into the complex, where it would form phyllosilicates with the olivene. I think he was also saying that it could be used in China, where they have large quantities of similar rocks.

    That said, olivene is pretty hard to fracture, and working out whether you’d acually save that much once the extra building and fracturing takes place would probably kill the idea, but it’s an interesting one nonetheless.

    *Background for non-South Islanders: Currently 80% of the power from the Manapouri hydro station (NZ’s biggest power plant) goes to smelting aluminum at Bluff, so stopping that would mean NZ wouldn’t have any power shortages at current usage. We must also be selling the power to Comalco pretty cheaply. I’m not sure what the current price is, but Comalco wouldn’t transport bauxite all the way from Australia to Bluff for smelting at current open prices in NZ.

    This is thanks to Piggy Muldoon and his ‘big thinks’. We get the debt, the companies get the investment rewards.

  26. Bilb @21,

    It is true that monopolists resist change, and electricity distributors are currently a major roadblock to introducing the new concepts for demand-side management exemplified by your link. I hope the regulators have the power and courage to force the distributors to stand aside and let the innovators in.

  27. Jess, we have almost exactly the same situation with the Portland smelter. It consumes I believe 5%of Victoria’s brown coal fired electricity, to employ a few thousand people at best. Massively subsidised.

  28. @Doug #36, yes, that “death threats against climate scientists” news has already been linked to above at #24 and #32 and some intervening comments, but there was a level of shocked understatement so I’m not surprised you missed it.

    However, I’m willing to say openly just how very fucked-up that is. It’s hard to get complacent over less than 6% of Australians being die-hard climate change deniers when amongst that number are people capable of at least making these threats, and maybe carrying them out.

  29. The opposition wants the federal government to reinvigorate a Howard government policy that would see far more investment in halting global forest loss as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said the single best thing that could be done right now to reduce global emissions and also protect biodiversity was a global rainforest recovery program.

    “In a bipartisan spirit what … we are proposing is that Australia co-hosts with Indonesia a global pledging conference to help with the great rainforests of the world,” he told the Ten Network. “If you can reduce the emissions by half from the destruction of rainforests by 2020, up to four billion tonnes of emissions could be saved. It’s about protecting the great rainforests and reducing emissions in a practical way.”

    Mr Hunt said the aim was to achieve a global rainforest recovery agreement by the end of the year. This was a $200 million initiative of the former Howard coalition government which Labor has continued. Mr Hunt said Labor had dropped the ball by doing little more. He said reducing rainforest loss was the single biggest step the world could take to reduce emissions over the next five years.

    Australia led the way when the Global Initiative on Forests and Climate was launched back in March 2007. It’s a real shame that so little has been done to build on this practical initiative in the past four years.

  30. That would be very nice Elizabeth if that is in fact what happened.

    I think that anyone would be hard pressed to prove that any rainforest destruction had in fact been prevented by the Howard Governments “generous” donation to Indonesian government.

    If you’ve read Mark Lynas’s “five scenarios” from the link above you will realise that protecting rain forests without all other CO2 abatement measures is pointless as the rainforests along with all of their fauna will be lost as global temperature rises. If the Coalition were actually sincere about protecting our environment then they would be doing everything possible to enable measures to reduce and ultimately eliminate Australia’s CO2 emissions in the most timely manner.

  31. Thanks for the link to that report BilB.

    John Howard launched the $200 million Global Initiative on Forests and Climate in March 2007, but as the Coalition lost the election in November 2007 they weren’t in a position to follow through.

    Labor has been in the driving seat since then with the rebadged International Forest Carbon Initiative, which is now apparently valued at $273 million according to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website. Considering Peter Garrett’s comments back in March 2007, the $73 million increase over the past four years is a very disappointing amount given the importance of the world’s rainforests to us all.

    I’ve been researching and campaigning on an entirely different topic for the past two years or so, and I admit I’m not up to speed on all the issues surrounding the climate change debate. My intent in making my previous comment was to talk up rainforest protection, as I have tried to do many times previously on Larvatus Prodeo.

  32. A UNEP report launched yesterday (World Environment Day) Spotlights Enormous Economic and Human Benefits from Boosting Funding for Forests

    Delhi/Nairobi/World, 5 June 2011 – Investing an additional US$40 billion a year in the forestry sector could halve deforestation rates by 2030, increase rates of tree planting by around 140 per cent by 2050, and catalyze the creation of millions of new jobs according to a report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

    This article, Seeing REDD in Indonesia, also provides an interesting perspective, e.g.

    In March last year, Australia announced plants to launch a $A30 Million REDD program in Sumatra in cooperation with the UN and the Indonesian government. The agreement is scheduled to start becoming a reality this year. Whether or not that program will have positive impact will depend on how many of the issues listed above are addressed between now and then. By choosing a stringent set of conditions like the ones imposed by Norway, Australia could further contribute to the important cultural shift already occurring. Or even further, why not regulate the import of or reduce demand for unsustainable palm oil products at home, instead of focusing solely on the responsibilities of supplier countries. We’re the ones buying the stuff after all.

    If we’re serious, then we need to ensure that our REDD program is designed around local community needs and is accompanied by adequate resourcing, monitoring, education and enforcement if we’re to avoid the mistakes made in previous REDD programs such as the so far unsuccessful one we began in Jambi Province in 2009. As Teguh reminded me when I discussed the Australian agreement with him, “It’s your money. You Australians should be asking where it’s going.” If the Government in Jakarta is getting serious, then we need to start considering in more depth how we can encourage them in that from Canberra. REDD can potentially help us to help them, provided we get serious about it too.

  33. To save Indonesian forests would be really great, but here in Victoria we can’t even save our own.

    At present, with the Renewable Energy legislation, the Federal government is trying to enshrine in law the burning of native forest for wood pellets to burn for power, and/or biofuel.

    This, despite the Federal Climate Commission’s report on Monday 23rd, page 58:

    This framework underscores the importance of eliminating
    harvesting of old-growth forests as perhaps the most
    important policy measure that can be taken to reduce
    emissions from land ecosystems

  34. Helen, the report Helen refers to is here.

    If you turn to p59 you’ll find two salutary examples. The 2003 heatwave released carbon which turned the European forests into a source, undoing four years of sink activity.

    Two droughts in Canada offset a decade of carbon sink activity.

    This supports what BilB said about the need for general mitigation as well as doing something about the forests.

  35. And the Nats are worried about trees being planted on arable farming land. The hypocrisy is staggering, never a word as the MIS funded tax dodge pine plantations devoured a massive amount of Bombala shire wrecking the landscape and poisoning the waterways,decimating the local communities ,creating a huge fire risk and creating a monoculture that has devastated wildlife because it created a haven for feral animals.

    And not a word when the company went broke leaving all this forest unattended and waiting a new owner.

    Not one fucking word about trees overtaking farm land then.

  36. Duncan, as usual the MSM is a long way behind the times. I know that Will Steffen here at the ANU has been receiving some fairly disturbing hate mail for the last few years. And I’m pretty sure that he was moved sometime last year – it’s quite difficult to find him now.

    Most of the DT column you linked to seems to be sneering at the fact that they have only given him keyless swipe cards. What more could the university do? And we have our own security, so what good would telling the police do either? The column talks about overdoing things, well I think that the only thing that has been overdone is the coverage in the MSM.

    Regardless of when and how they were delivered, death threats are not a good way to conduct a debate. If it were Tim Blair’s kids who were being threatened, do you think the Tele would be pushing such a ‘measured response’?

  37. Although thank you for the link to that page – the bogan effect in the comments below is quite amusing.

  38. Duncan, so Tim Blair and Joanne Nova rate as reliable sources? Spare me. The post ends:

    Some old, already-exposed emails. A five-year-old letter. And an argument at a faculty wine-and-cheese night. That’s the extent of the threats facing Australian climate scientists. Must these people exaggerate everything? (Emphasis added)

    There is no warrant for that statement. In fact it is highly irresponsible.

  39. Lefty E @49,

    That is very interesting news. I wonder how it will play out at the WTO. If they approve it, it will be open season for carbon border tariffs.

  40. The point you @51 through @53 seemed to have missed is that the recent news @24, 29, 36 et al. are frothing over is supposed to be recent news.

    “…He says it has been happening for the past six months and the situation has worsened significantly in recent weeks…”

    As Jo Nova and TimB point out, the threats are all old. There has not been any evidence of ‘recent escalation’.

    “.. but but Tim and Jo are not reliable sources.. ” I hear you scream. Go look at their sources (all linked). The evidence looks solid enough to me (certainly more solid than a bunch of hand-waving ‘we wuz threatened’ which doesn’t even seem serious enough to involve the police)


  41. Well, Duncan, regardless of whether it’s news or not, the question still remains whether the current state of discourse about science and climate scientists in particular is conducive these sorts of death threats.

    One only has to look at Alan Jones’ interview with David Karoly to see that derogatory accusations (calling him a fraud and a suck on the public purse on live radio without any evidence) are not limited to anonymous email senders.

  42. Sorry, the end of the first sentence should read: conducive to these sorts of death threats.

  43. duncan, if the scientists involved say that the threats have escalated you need better evidence than you’ll get from a couple of denialists quoting a third party who has dug up a few examples, we know not how and whence.

    Why would you disbelieve the scientists concerned, unless you too think they are just shysters sucking on the public teat.

    If so, please take your good self somewhere else.

  44. I’m sorry,

    but if the “threats have escalated” to a level being worth concerned about, then the police should be involved.

    They are not.

    Ergo, the people involved are crying wolf, or too silly to do anything about the threat.

  45. You know, I have a suspicion if it was animal rights activists making threats against pharmaceutical researchers the response from Duncan and his ilk would be very different.

  46. “Duncan and his ilk”…
    “bogan effect” …

    I’ll leave you all to your little circle jerk.

  47. Jo Nova’s and Tim Blair’s attempts to discredit and downplay the death threats shows that they are a severe embarrassment to the denialist movement.

  48. wow, the productivity comission dismisses everything the Liberal party has ever said about the CO2 price as complete toss:

    All eyes on tomorrow’s Organ to see how they cope. Since they support action on climate change, and this is now establsihed as the cheapest way, what will their response be?

    Will they support necessary reform, as they like to say – or are they simply colaition stooges? Stay tuned.

    Sources have told me that this the BIGGEST and ONLY credibility test for the Organ! Will they pass or fail?!

  49. Lefty E, from what I heard from Greg Hunt on AM this morning, they’re floundering. I thought I heard him say they’re “committed” (yeah…) to a “5% reduction” in emissions via their “direct action” tree-planting plan. 5%? Did I hear right? Incredible. I guess I haven’t been listening much to the Libs’ utterances and wasn’t aware of just how bad they are.

  50. Helen,

    5% reduction is the same as the Labor target. That is not a 5% reduction from business-as-usual, but a 5% reduction from (IIRC) 2010 levels.

  51. I&U

    Actually, it’s a 5% reduction on 2000 levels which would work out on 2020 projections to about 77% (i.e. – 23%) on BAU scenario –> 530MtCO2e (-166MtCo2e)

  52. Incidentally, this helps us understand why the LNP “plan” isn’t feasible. Plug in 30tCO2 per Ha and see how much land the LNP would need to acquire and maintain each year just to get there by 2020 and then stay there.

  53. Someone’s already done that, Fran @ 68. (Tony Windsor IIRC.) Handed Hunt’s arse to him on a plate.

    Helen, I was amused by Hunt’s flounderings this morning – the Libs have done the same cherry-picking as with Garnaut’s latest offering – found a single sentence in a 4 kg report that (taken wildly out of context) can be misinterpreted to look like it almost supports their position.

  54. What?!

    My (not so) good name is being sullied by an arse clown of the same name.

    I feel violated… 😉

  55. Fran@67,

    Thanks for the correction. So what reduction (from BAU) would that be on a per capita basis? Something like 35-40%?

  56. I suppose if you had a population figure for both 2000 and 2020, you could work that out … Personally, given that land use changes were in the Australian figure in 2000, I’m not so sure of the usefulness of the raw numbers.

  57. Some quick googling suggests 19.16 m people for 2000’s 551MtCo2e (28.75 tCO2e per cap) and 27m for 696MtCo2e (25.77MtCo2 e) under BAU in 2020. which suggests a fall of about 11% (per capita) in the do nothing scenario. If the target (530MtCo2e) is met, then we drop to about 19.6MtCO2e in 2020 or an improvement of about 24% on BAU (per capita).

  58. Here’s the money quote:

    “The lesson we can learn from that at the Multi-Party Climate Committee is that emissions trading produces fuel switching from coal to gas, but if you want to bring on the renewables you have to do a lot more.”

    This highlights the critical need for complementary measures, funded by the CO2 price revenue. If Labor’s compo package and the Greens complementary measures can be worked out together, and I beleive they can, this is a winner.

    Abbott’s case is essentially dead. It only remains to be seen whether the media turns off its life support system, or keeps on walking the zombie.

  59. Helen @ 65. I don’t think that Hunt was on AM this morning. The only reference to the PC was some relatively minor report about biofuels. Otherwise they ignored it, but of course found space for two items on Faulkner’s speech.

    Then followed, in Sydney at least by an extended interview with Judith Sloan, stating among other things that the coalition’s action plan had the potential to achieve a lot in the ‘medium term’ etc etc..

    Your ABC!

  60. adrian, Hunt was making a fool of himself for Fran Kelly this morning. She’s starting to recover from the Stockholm syndrome, and remember that she’s a journalist. It was all quite entertaining.

  61. Yes, I heard that too, DI. Even then Kelly missed the opportunity to point out that a Carbon Reduction plan based on the planting of trees would not yield any meaningful CO2 absorption for as many as 8 years as young plants with their very small surface area do not absorb much CO2 at all. Then there is the extremely high risk of the Australia effect taking hold as bush fires anihilate any advantage gained, or even more likely the Coalition effect taking hold where unusable farm land (land planted out with trees is of no use to farmers) is rezoned for commercial gain to supermarket car parking.

    Hunt and Abbott’s CO2 abatement plan is as full of holes as a Fukushima Nuclear Containment vessel.

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