Climate clippings 70

Stuff happens. We have a household of three with separate access to our online service and last week the youngest member blew our monthly usage budget downloading games, 11 days out from when it renews automatically on 17 March. So the speed became truly painful. Bigpond have given us a once only ‘goodwill’ 2 gigs to go on with. Trouble is, by he time I found out what was going on we’d already used a third of it.

Trouble also is that when the speed slows my email connection just doesn’t happen.

Anyway I’ve prepared a CC for this week from material to hand, then I’m going to disappear to preserve my email.

1. You’ve been told

When a link came through on a feed about a conference on what the planet would be like with 4C warming it looked a bit familiar. Then I noticed the date – October 2009. The link is now broken, but the conference is here. There’s a lot of good material in the presentation downloads, mostly depressing, some of which I looked at before things gummed up.

In the article it said that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who advises Angela Merkel on climate change, had dropped in on President Obama’s top people, who told him that the political system couldn’t cope with what he was saying about the science. Prof Scellnhuber was not impressed.

2. Developer may sue council on sea level regulations

The 4C conference had a lot of good information on sea level rise. The keynote from Schellnhuber advised that the doubling of CO2 would see a rise of over 50 metres eventually. The presentation by Dr Pier Vellinga suggested one to two metres by 2100.

Property developer, Jeff McCloy, is having none of it:

he was contemplating leading a class action suit against the council, which he said was ”falling for this unjustified, worldwide idiocy about sea level rises”.

He’s consulted Profs Carter, Plimer et al and studied it on the internet, so the matter was settled.

Then there’s this at state level:

It comes as the NSW government reassesses its plans regarding sea level rises, including the possibility of a moratorium on sea level-related planning restrictions until more studies are done.

There is further nonsense at the national level as David Spratt told us last year how a 1.1m midpoint became the upper limit. This is the graph I was looking for on the last thread:

Studies on sea levels

3. UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding

This Guardian story tells us:

As many as 12 of Britain’s 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change, according to an unpublished government analysis obtained by the Guardian.

Nine of the sites have been assessed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as being vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels and storms in the future.

The sites include all of the eight proposed for new nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as numerous radioactive waste stores, operating reactors and defunct nuclear facilities.

And so on.

4. New York City’s CoolRoofs program

It mightn’t save the planet, but every bit helps.

John D sent me this one and said he thought 24C saving sounded too high. The this link gave more details and perhaps more confidence.

Whatever the true figure is and whatever the total effect it makes sense to me. That’s if you are not going to cover the surface with solar panels.

5. Oil futures

There is plenty to chew on in this article about changing patterns in oil usage. Two things seem to stand out.

Firstly, the non-OECD countries are going to drive future demand.

Secondly, most oil exporting countries will use more of it themselves and export less.

63 thoughts on “Climate clippings 70”

  1. Developer may sue council on sea level regulations

    Jeff McCloy is well known for his legal actions against upon the intensely environmentally focused Mayor of Douglas Shire, Mike Berwick. Researchers can dig into that for some insights and might conclude that Mr McCloy’s style is an aggressive one. Bullying even.

    In Queensland if a change in Planning Scheme or Policy adversely impacts upon an owner, then Council may be liable to pay compensation. (SPA 2009 QLD S.704)
    This places Councils in a difficult position. If they stop development they can be liable, and if they approve it, they can then be liable for approving it when houses get flooded or become uninsurable. In this scenario because they knew, or ought to have known, that sea level might affect the property.
    A change in zoning or policy can blight a property, depressing it’s market value greatly, and for a developer who may have been anticipating a good financial gain in the future will fight hard to avoid a loss. Understandable.

    That’s Qld, it might be different in other states.

    But sometimes developers use the threat of very expensive litigation to force through developments that a poorly funded Council would rather not support.
    Councils are vulnerable because they lack the funding to defend large scale legal challenges – think $500,000 per week for defence costs alone.
    You can see how a Council can be coerced into an Approval by such tactics. I’m not suggesting McCloy is following that line in this instance, but rather to show how Councils are sometimes vulnerable to loud posturing by developers.

  2. The albedo of rooftops has been one of my pet e subjects for many years.
    Pink bats are bullshit if you want to keep internal summer temperatures down. Far better to reduce the thermal loading on the roof by the use of high albedo coatings that can be applied any-time. You could also design in a proper tropical roof and almost zero solar forcing
    You can also buy roofing material that has very high reflectivity across the entire solar spectrum.
    Unfortunately the bogan yuppies have to have a trendy dark grey roof or they will never be able to look the other parents in the eye when they deliver Chantelle to the creative dance school.

  3. Huggy, I don’t understand why anyone would have anything but unpainted galvo (or albedo equivalent) on a roof. (I particularly dislike tiles.)

    I disagree about pink batts, though – they help trap the warmth in winter.

  4. DI(NR). BilB

    Let’s make a rule that unless there is a specific reason for doing so, we don’t use the term “Pink Batts” in this context. The HIP used a range of insulation products — including foil — and “Pink Batts” is simply the proprietary name of one such product. AIUI, most of the fibreglass batts were actually a yellow colour.

    The main reason this one was singled out by the LNP was because of the ridicule value of things that are pink and because “pink batts” allude to an age long past. We are not bound to assist them in this piece of spin.

  5. David @ 3 – I read somewhere that unpainted galvo is actually not that great in terms of reflecting heat. Also, if you put in sarking just under the roof (shiny side down with air gap below it) then apparently you get something like 95-98% of the heat reduction of a white roof anyway. Unfortunately there’s a lot of builders out there who only see sarking as a moisture barrier and the whole pink batts scheme has I’d guess given sarking a bad name.

    I have a surfmist coloured roof (as white as you can get in colourbond) and off white walls as well as sarking in both roof and wals. Neighbours might not be so impressed but I’m sure it helps keep the house cooler in summer 🙂

  6. Geoff @ 1 – is there any way that councils can get developers and owners of new properties to sign a statement saying they are aware of the risk of sea level rise and indemnify the council from future related legal action if they proceed against council advice not to build or buy in the area?

  7. Chris @6 There may be some issues with that idea.
    Firstly, the sea level rises may not be apparent for say, 50 years. In 50 years time, who are you going to collect from?

    Secondly much as we may like the idea, contracting around or trying to circumvent judicial process may not be supported by the courts. I have had many offers to overlook the regulations with the assurance that I would be indemnified against future action. But my acceptance would be an illegal, and therefore unenforceable contract.

    Lastly, can the agreement flow to subsequent owners of the property? I really doubt that the original guarantor would be willing to set up that liability for himself.

    I’m sure there are some able solicitors in the forum that could answer in more accurate form.

  8. I would have thought, Geoff H, that a developers liability choices could be inscribed in the property title. By this method a repurchaser of the property makes an informed choice at the time of purchase. This would be the case if a property was on a limited time non renewable land use lease, for instance.

    One important aspect of rising sea levels has to be the preservation, or not, of the Crown Land mean high water level from one decade to the next. A changing mean high tide level can cause properties to become trespassers of Crown Land, and any foreshore property title should clearly state this caveat as a hazard of such property use. Buyer beware.

    If I were a councillor under extreme pressure facing a judicial risk, I would release a title which included a demolision timetable for the development based on the federal government’s accepted time frame for sea level rise. This way the developer’s customers assess the longevity of their investment and adjust their purchasing enthusiasm appropriately.

  9. Thanks for the info, Chris. I’m researching roof cladding for the Doomstead at the moment, and I’m after as high an albedo as possible. (Sarking under the tin is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.)

  10. There are two separate issues with respect to roof coating and insulation.

    Firstly, global warming: What counts here is the wavelength of what is being reflected. This influences the ease with which the heat is reflected back into space. Coatings that reflect in the visible range are going to be more effective. I would expect insulation under the roof to be less effective at getting the heat back into space because the heat being driven back from the insulation will be outside the visible range.

    Secondly, the flow of heat into the house: Reflection is desirable but keep in mind that a particular coating will be more effective at some frequencies than others. The article would have been talking about surface temperatures, not the temperature of the underside of the roofing material. Even if the roof is insulated, the flow of heat through the roof will be much lower if the roof surface is cooler.

    Tropical roofs (with a second roof above the main roof) can be effective.

    It is worth keeping in mind that at night a black roof radiates more heat back into the atmosphere than a white one. A reflective coating may be beneficial in both hot and cold climates.

  11. Further, DInr, if earth sheltered is not your thing then take a look at this video

    a little way in there is an image of an asian street with a flood of motorbikes. To the right of the image is a small utility building with a very different kind of ridge cap, which to my observation has been designed to promote air circulation. In your case this would be for the air between the tin and the sarking. Worth thinking about if you intend to achieve an optimal result.

  12. There are a number of things that governments can do as part of a strategy for dealing with potential sea level rises. They can:

    1 Resume land and turn it into public recreation areas.

    2 Insist that purchasers have been warned that the property will be inundated if the sea level rises by X, that there is some debate about how much the level will rise and that the predictions range from zero to ??? and that sea levels have risen by Z over the last 50 yrs.

    3 Warn that the council accepts no liability for the construction of sea walls to protect the property in the event of sea level rises.

    I would have thought there were plenty of precedents for all of the above and that insisting on warnings is not cause for compensation.

  13. Too late to go for a hole in the ground, BilB – I’ve already paid the architect and engineer about $8K to design me a nice little strawbale number, and got planning approval. (Anyway, they cost a bundle, and are very difficult to make waterproof.) The venting roof is interesting, though (and something I’ve thought about), but remember I want it to be warm in the winter as well as cool in the summer. A whirlaway with a brake would probably be a better option.

  14. I would expect that at $8000 your architect and engineer have all of the finer points well thought out. Your ‘stead should be very comfortable.

  15. David Irving @15 – Congratulations, that is a brilliant move. Not many go for that style, but apparently in the UK there are examples over 100 years old. Are you going for high energy efficiency overall?

    What are you doing with your windows? Clear untreated glass is a shocking R 0.15! But there are plenty of good options available now.
    Windows ain’t just windows any more, and no, I don’t sell windows, ‘just been learning about them.

  16. Paper on non-linear climate change in SE Australia has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres. Lots of stats, I’m afraid, making a complex to read story. Blog has a draft press release and link to the paper, will be hitting the hustings – later this week maybe.

  17. Interesting draft press release Roger. The bit that says

    Non-linear climate change has important implications for adaptation. Sudden increases in risk may mean that gradual adjustments fail to cope with rapidly changing extremes. If such shifts are interpreted as temporary conditions due to climate variability the frequency of extremes may continue to be under-estimated.

    Adaption may be harder than we think – particulary if it depends on wait and see.

  18. The windows are going to be found objects, Geoff. I’m building to a (minute) budget.

  19. That sounds like a fascinating paper, Roger, although I probably won’t completely understand it.

    Our general assumption that change will be smooth raises a number of interesting points, and not just about climate. Financial analysts seem to make that assumption as well.

  20. I’ve also put up a post about the 2011 Texas drought. Bottom line is that the extreme heat anomalies are statistically much more likely to be due to climate change rather than climate variability. Again, I use a step function in climate, though the conclusions are similar to what they would have been assuming a trend.

  21. The problem for us, Roger Jones, is that Australia is such a large expanse that dramatic climate driven catastrophy can be happening in a number of places while it is perfectly normal in others. As we had in 2010,.. cyclones, deluges, flash flooding in the north and bush fires in the south rounded off with a healthy delivery of southern flooding, all while Sydney was reasonably, ok. We all take turns at being able to say “I’m glad that I am not that guy”. And every city person says that all the time about the bush.

    Australia has a mindset that expects that “it will all come right”, we’ll get over it. It is the perfect setup for catastrophy. I know that I come across as being an extreme alarmist, but that is because I know from 50 years of observation that this climate risk is real. As an engineering person how difficult it is to slow or stop a massive process once it has got under way.

    A Kiwi example was a guy in Christchurch who decided that he could make a lot of money supplying charcoal. So he built a kiln, at great expence, he bought timber, at great expence, loaded his kiln and set the process going. He had designed the kiln so that the gasses coming out of the timber were fed to the fire box to fuel the process once it got under way. It was not until flames were leaping out of the fire box and the kiln chamber started to glow red hot that he realised that he should have put a control valve on the gas pipe to the fire box. He had no way of turning the process off. Neither did the five fire tenders that were called to the blaze. There was nothing to be done but let the kiln burn itself out, and burn out the guys fortune and future.

    That is pretty much what we have created, but with the entire planet. And this headlong rush to suck every last bit of carbon out of the ground is all the prooof that anyone would need to understand that a market driven economy cannot control its excesses, even when it will lead to total destruction.

  22. BilB,

    the safety valve has to be cultural, and my view is that a market economy is neither here nor there. So long as it’s seen as a toolbox and not an end in itself. People manage to excess without markets. It’s usually more about power.

    The view I have about climate is that most of the energy due to ghgs is filtering through the ocean and that most of the atmospheric warmth has come out of the ocean. This is a big buffer with respect to your kiln analogy and it means that runaway greenhouse is really unlikely (as opposed to Venus where the greenhouse effect is totally atmospheric with less efficient cloud buffers).

    What it does mean is that the heat gets stored for a long time, increasing the likelihood that what we are doing on human timescales is irreversible.

    Folk wisdom is full of precautionary tales about excess that are generated to counteract the effects of cultural hubris. They weren’t invented from nothing, and as Jared Diamond has said, give us a history of collapse, where civilizations have exceeded their local limits. It’s just that this time, the local limits are global.

  23. DI @ 15 – whirlygigs are a waste of money in terms of reducing house cooling costs in summer. They just don’t allow enough air to move. Ridge vents can work. The whirlygigs do have a valid use for removing moisture from the roof space (say from bathroom exhausts), but if you need them for that then you need them in winter as well. I wouldn’t get too worried about the roof space being cold in winter – its going to get cold quickly in the evening through conductive heat losses anyway. Spend the money on better ceiling insulation or better windows instead.

    Calculating rough numbers for where you are gaining/losing heat once you have R/U values is pretty easy so you know where to spend limited funds. I’d guess that with single glazed windows that will be your biggest problem area – can do home made double glazing equivalents – eg another piece of glass manually added or bubble wrap on the cheap if you don’t mind the look. But fix any air leaks into the house first – that will give you your best return on money spent.

  24. DI(NR) @ 20, you might be interested in this product:

    Bunnings have 12mm x 1200 x 2400 for ~$200, and 12mm x 900 x 1200 for less than $100…pretty amazing when you walk around the corner and see what they want for 6mm shower screens!

    Fully frameless without any pre-drilled holes is the one to look for. Google ’12mm glass prices’, and you’ll find a bunch of other retailers with similar prices.

    The only catch is being toughened it can’t be cut further to size, so you’d have to do what to I did a few weeks ago and size your frame to fit.

    Tinted 12mm for under $100 is hard to beat for price and performance…

  25. You are right Bilb. Free market globalization with the crazies at the WTO given enforcement powers makes it very hard for responsible governments to make the decisions required to protect the future.

    The problem is made worse by our inability to share the available work. (This inability means that we have to keep growing GDP to avoid high unemployment even when this growth increases emissions and actually reduces our quality of life.) Most of us could handle a 4% cut in GDP if the “pain” was equally shared. (For example, two weeks extra holidays in return for a 4% cut in pay.) But most of us couldn’t handle the pain losing our jobs as a consequence of a 4% cut in GDP. (See herefor more on worksharing and environmental benefits.

  26. I 100% agree Roger J,

    “the safety valve has to be cultural”

    only that the time frame does not allow for the process of cultural infusion.

    Furthermore the “1%” phenomenon has demonstrated a total disregard for culture of any kind other than that which can, and must, be bought at great expense.

    CSG is one such expression of that total disregard. Ask yourself, “why now”? Why is it so important to extract the methane from unmineable coal deposits this year,…or this decade? The answer is simply that the Queensland government has a huge deficit and needs the money “quick”! And not only that, they are prepared to ignore the risks, or rather they are prepared to believe that “everything will come out right”,…and that they can seperate themselves from consequences with “proper legislation”.

    Those striving to join the “1%” are prepared to trample every aspect of cultural environmental conservatism, ignore every catastrophic climate change warning, and over ride every traditional land use, in the hope of joining the Rinehart woman on a list of billionaires. Planet??? What planet, “where’s my money”?

  27. Roger @26
    “civilisations have exceeded their local limits. It’s just that this time, the local limits are global.”
    An interesting difference in the present context is that the actors are aware of the science and process, unlike say, Easter Island. Now we have global discussion about what is happening – but it’s like a disaster mounting in slow motion, and insufficient action to stop it.

    Interesting too is the expectation that government will solve the problem. We seem to cling to that expectation that world governments will tackle the issue on a grand scale – but to date that has not happened. To me at least, a top-down solution or approach is unlikely unless it is first driven by a solid bottom-up push. If one currently exists, it needs strengthening a lot before the politicians feel they can do something. I’m not sure the carbon tax is the best way to go about things, I suspect that efficiency is a much better approach that would probably cost less, generate jobs and raise (and so strengthen) the bottom-up component. But at least the current government is trying something, despite the obvious peril it has placed them.

  28. I read a little further, Roger J. Yes the ocean is acting as a buffer I accept. And I was not suggesting a full runaway climate catastrophy. What I believe, and I have no proof or qualification, is that, as I have said a number of times over the years, the growing energy at the tropics in powering the low pressure systems is projecting more air into the stratosphere than the cell system can circulate in the regular way. So a measure of that airmass is overflowing at altitude towards the poles, over energising the polar high pressure system, which then pushes on the polar fence that contains the polar cold air. I was never convinced that the polar jet stream drove the climate. To my thinking it is a polar boundary consequence. Now, that may well all be totally false and I am happy to be wrong, it is simply how I am choosing to understand what is going on from what little I know, so far.

  29. Thanks for all the info on glazing, folks. I’m limited to what I can scrounge / steal / buy from disposals yards, so I probably won’t be buying toughened glass (unless it’s an exact fit for an existing frame), but bubble-wrap is an option, as is heavy curtains with pelmets, although both have aesthetic issues.

  30. Well, I’m here and we’ll see how it goes (refer internet disaster at the beginning of the post). I checked how much petrol there was in the tank and if I’m reasonably careful I should last the week.

    On checking with Bigpond, 25GB monthly allocations went out with the ark and for $2 a month extra we can have 200GB. And if I cough up $148 for a new modem we can have 100 megabits per second.

    Roger congrats on the journal article. I might post it in the next CC as I’m told that 95% of lurkers don’t read the comments thread.

  31. Well, BilB, at the end of a comments thread I almost always know more and your comments are welcome. 🙂

  32. Commenting is not worth the effort.

    BilB, I must say I find your comments always worth reading in general, and on sustainability and energy issues in particular. And your can-do approach to the challenge of climate change is extremely welcome, given the amount of will-sapping pessisism out there.

    And I say that notwithstanding the disagreement we had a while back about The Oil Drum.


  34. @ 38, Whoah! The world does turn it would seem…

    I wonder if any of this can be attributed to Kevin Rudds attitude toward ripping up the old guard….???

    A very emphatic YES would be the answer I would’ve thought.

  35. David, you might be interested in some of my experiences building our Doomstead and previous sustainable house conversions. Just as important as insulation for temperature control for your dwelling is the ability for passive heating in winter and cooling via natural ventilation in summer. Therefor it is crucial how you orientate your house eg. large openings, windows, sliding doors, carports etc. with respect to angles of the sun in summer/winter as well as prevailing winds. We have a mean minimum temperature of 11.2 °C, yet we capture enough energy from the sun in Winter and store it in the slab, for not to have any need for conventional heating nor fancy glazing. Further, in Summer there is enough shade and shelter from the sun, plus clever layout of house with smaller and adjustable openings on windward side and large openings on lee side (venturi effect), for us not to require to use an airconditioner, just pedestal fan on windstill days. The wet area is also windward and moisture drying off in there provides evaporating cooling throughout in house, since we live in the dryer end of the wet tropics. Another trick is to extend the transition from indoors to outdoors with verandas, winter gardens, pergolas, shade structures as well as deciduous trees to provide shade in crucial months. It takes a bit of effort to shuffle key design components around, but worth while and, if form follows function, usually looks good too.

    In relation to whirlygig on roof, as pointed out already by Chris, waste of time and an unnecessary penetration in the roof. If you need to ventilate roof space, depending on design, preferably penetrations should be on side walls with vents that can be opened and closed and again make use of venturi effect. As to roof insulation there are choice products available, they have their pro’s and con’s. Apropo, Choice is remarkably helpful in many aspects when designing and furnishing a sustainable dwelling, so are many Federal and State Government websites. Re roof colour you might want to consider, since colourbond does not last for ever or if you use cheap second grade roofing, to paint the roof with a white acrylic paint. Keep in mind you may have to regularly clean the roof, as we do here in the tropics, thus a steep pitch makes that option dangerous work. I have applied this particularly cheap option in refurbishing building and shed roofs with dramatic effect, eg. you will be able to walk on hot day bare foot on roof! It pays to look out for seconds or demolition sales, I once got hold of eleven 2.1×2.4 m alu sliding doors for $ 1500.

  36. I (and the architect and engineer) have thought of a lot of what you suggest, Ootz. It’s a different climate from your own, and the prevailing winds are from the west. I’ll have a fair bit of glazing to the north, with roof overhang so the slab is shaded in the summer, but gets sun in the winter. It’ll be either dark tiled, or polished concrete with dark oxide thrown on it. I’m still debating venting the roof space, actually.

  37. From memory you get better heat absorption with polished concrete, it is much easier to clean, costs about the same as medium priced tiles and looks absolutely stunning. However, be careful how you seal the polished concrete. Polyurethane goes yellow where the sun hits and needs to be redone every ten years or so, where as acrylic sealer looks absolutely stunning, is cheap and easy to apply, however needs to be redone every year. In the end I found a polisher that uses a product called Hiperfloor that uses a once only sealing method which hardens the floor and additionally makes it feel natural on bare feet as it has no ‘sticky’ coat. Initially I had great reservation about the concrete floor, since we have lived on timber floors for most of the time and the embedded energy in the concrete. As it worked out it feels great, cold in summer and warm in winter, extremely practical and looks great.

    Re the vent, as we have a skillion roof we could not fit gable vents easily. I solved ‘the problem’ by having an easy option to retro fit a vent on either end of the roof space on the wall, as explained above, to make use of venturi effect. From memory, there is not much air volume exchanged in passive vents to be effective, solar chimneys and decent size venturi have a much better rating, apart from powered vents. Sofar, we found no reason to install vents in roof.

  38. Ootz/DI – my 2c about tiles/concrete floors. I live in Adelaide where I think the winters get much colder than where you are Ootz and so you either want to do heated floors or build knowing you’ll want to wear socks or ugg boats in winter. I have excellent solar access but there’s not much solar heating if there are several days of cloudy weather (more than I expected though).

    I have dark charcoal coloured tiles – because of the colour I suspect they probably have more ability to absorb the heat than lighter coloured concrete but then there’s also the tile glue which could act as a bit of an insulator (new glues are meant to be much better than old ones in terms of conductivity, but I’m still suspicious). I really wanted concrete floors but the builder we chose wouldn’t do it – the tradies have to be much more careful not to damage the slab when building..

    The one downside to concrete/tiled floors is that not surprisingly there is no “give” in them compared to carpet or wood floors. So if you’re someone who has knee/hip problems they’re probably not a good idea. Or limit them to just areas where you have good northern sun and get your thermal mass in other ways in other areas.

    DI – even if you have well designed eaves I would recommend trying to have a design which makes it as cheap as possible to add further shading later (either vertical or horizontal). Its fine to work off average temperatures, but you get unseasonable cold or warm days. I went for minimal eaves but with extendable shade up to 4 metres on the north side. So on those unusually cold spring/autumn days I can get a lot more sun in than if I had optimally designed eves. And on unusually warm spring/autumn days I can ensure there is absolutely no direct sunlight hitting the windows. Its a bit more work to maintain, but as they say, “passive house, active occupants” 🙂

  39. Passive house, active occupants

    Great quote Chris, could not agree more.

    Of course climate is different from place to place, that is why I included the link to BoM with climatic conditions, as it also lists mean number of cloudy days. I can’t remember the location of David’s Doomstead otherwise I would have linked to his location. We are lucky here with very little cloudy days in Winter. In Davids case it maybe an option to drop some heating onto the slab, at least the areas with most traffic. We use marine carpet (large off cuts on sale) in some cooler and heavy traffic areas, such as hallways and entrance, as it is indestructible, easy to clean and looks great with the concrete. Caution, polished concrete can be extremely dangerous when wet. Also, it is possible to polish when internal walls have been constructed, as we have done, just before plasterboard or fit out, as the same equipment is used to grind off tiles in renovations.

    Further agree with you Chris, one can plan and consider relevant aspects only to a certain degree, it pays to integrate flexibility and options into the design.

  40. Not sure what happened to my name in above comment, but it looks like it has thrown my comment into moderation.

    New report out by BoM and CSIROas reported by Sara Phillips. She brings up the marketing concept of ‘framing’. Eric Knight has brought a new book out Reframe – How to solve the world’s trickiest problems. Has anyone got any comments on it, worth a read?

  41. Ootz, somehow you typed “true” in the name field. I’ve changed it back to Ootz.

    Thanks for the link. I heard them spruiking about the new report on the radio. If you follow the links you get to this page where you can download the report by chapters, or there is a handy brochure.

  42. #38 Tim Macknay,

    But it seems, that China’s target of a ceiling on coal consumption does not mean a big expansion in solar and wind. It is lookin more like an empahsis on hydro and nuclear, with a stabilization and consolidation of the solar and wind industries correcting for what is being termed “blind expansion”:

  43. Our mate Clive Palmeris talking about a constitutional challenge to the carbon tax.

    Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer has indicated there will be a High Court challenge against the carbon tax because he has advice the legislation is unconstitutional.

    The Coalition has promised to repeal the legislation if it wins the next election.

    Mr Palmer, who is a financial backer of the Coalition, first threatened to challenge the legislation last year and now says he is going to act on it.

    “Our advice is that the carbon tax in its current form is unconstitutional, and that’s recognised in the legislation itself when it says if it’s found to be unconstitutional,” he told the ABC’s 7.30.

    “Now, I think the constitution of Australia’s much more important than having a number of lawyers or Parliament trying to slip around it.

    “The constitution sets out how it should be changed, how the states should vote – the majority of Australians have a democratic right to vote.”

    When asked on precisely what grounds the tax is unconstitutional, Mr Palmer said: “I can only go on the advice that I’m given, and so we’ll be looking forward to the challenge.”

    Mr Palmer says the legal action will be brought on by the companies he owns.

    I sometimes suspect that Clive is a secret ALP supporter. Or does he really believe that he is an asset to the LNP?

  44. But it seems, that China’s target of a ceiling on coal consumption does not mean a big expansion in solar and wind. It is lookin more like an empahsis on hydro and nuclear, with a stabilization and consolidation of the solar and wind industries correcting for what is being termed “blind expansion”

    I’m assuming you agree it’s a good thing though, quokka.

  45. John D @55 – it’s inevitable that someone would seek to challenge it. Having looked at the issue myself, I think it’s unlikely that a consitutional challenge would succeed, as the drafters have gone to considerable lengths to ensure that the legislation meets constitutional requirements. However, you can never be sure until the High Court has made a decision on it.

  46. nasking @ 58 – I can’t see nuclear power ever coming to Australia. There’s no way they’d find a place to put it without huge protests.

    On the other hand more uranium mining looks likely….

  47. Also, a carbon price helps nuclear energy rather than hinders it, since (like renewable energy) it’s not currently competitive with fossil fuels. As for uranium mining, it’s already with us.

  48. #56 Tim Macknay

    I’m assuming you agree it’s a good thing though, quokka.

    I would have thought a rather more interesting question to address is “What is driving this apparent change in policy emphasis?”

    The future of our climate depends far more on careful dissection of such questions than on notions of “good” and evil”.

    But for the record, yes I do think the reaffirmation of China’s commitment to nuclear power is a good thing.

    As for hydro expansion, this is a very difficult issue and one for which I, personally, would not like to be in the position of Chinese policy makers . Hydro is a very valuable low emission resource in any grid for load balancing. There is nothing else that performs such a role anywhere near as well. The downside, as we know, is the environmental damage caused by large dams. For China, it really is a rock and a hard place.

  49. Current trends suggest that solar PV will be the cheapest source of readily available power in the future. So we may actually have a situation where baseload power becomes the most expensive power. We can respond to this situation by looking for ways of taking better advantage of low cost solar or sit here and hope that development of safer, more efficient nuclear will allow us to stay with the power useage patterns we have got used to.
    My guess is that nuclear will be part of the longer term mix commbined with useage patterns that take advantage of solar PV.

  50. I don’t share your view at all, John D.

    Nuclear for Australia would be facing a massively uncertain economic return coupled with escalating insurance costs. The only way that a Nuclear plant would be built here would be if a dedicated user made the investment. A user such as an aluminium smelter, but then these operators are energy opportunists who would find the uncertainty surrounding Nuclear a risk to their core business.

Comments are closed.