I’m not planning to do posts on the upcoming election apart from link posts if I see anything interesting and/or important. The post on the Murdoch’s intervention started out as a link post, but then I warmed to the task. While this space is open I’d like to explore a theme that came from a comment in reaction to the LNP ‘solution’ to the asylum seeker ‘problem’. I can’t find it now, but someone asked, “What have we become?”
Moreover, what will we become? We have a choice, and in our response to the stranger in need who has chosen us, we either grow or diminish ourselves.
The task is ambitious and I’m not academically equipped for it. I’m not speaking as a philosopher or a sociologist, just “someone who is trying to sort out his ideas”, so the results may be modest. Some of the posts may not appear to be directly on the topic, but I hope all will fit together in the long run.
Meanwhile I’ll try to keep some information flowing on climate change. Both these projects may be of more use than any contribution I can make to an election here in Oz. This time CC will be free flow rather than numbered items, to save time. I’ll use bold to identify the topics.
Arctic ice is losing its reflective sheen. We all know that ice reflects more incoming radiation from the sun than does open water. Now by analysing 30 years of satellite data scientists have found that albedo of the ice itself at the end of the summer is about 15% weaker today than it was 30 years ago.
The cause of the darkening is
partly due to thinning ice and the formation of open water fissures, and partly because in the warmer air, ponds of liquid water form on the surface of the ice. The shallow ponds on the ice can dramatically reduce reflectivity and increase the amount of solar radiation that the ice absorbs.
So far this year nothing too dramatic is happening in terms of sea ice extent.
RenewEconomy has an amazing graph of the day on why explaining why the world needs low carbon electricity. I’ll explain it this way.
The total greenhouse emissions in 2010 were calculated at 50Gt of which 13Gt was from electricity. The rest came from industry, transport, buildings, agriculture, forestry and waste. So if you switched electricity off we’d still have 37Gt of emissions to deal with.
Focussing on electricity, the world produced 21,400TWh in 2010. If the total amount were produced from a single technology this is how the various technologies would compare:
So take your pick but remember there is much to do elsewhere. Natural gas is shown to have limited utility.
The Climate Commission has several recent reports, including one on Australia’s solar future.
Over 1 million solar PV installations have been installed in Australia, up from 8,000 in 2007. Now 11% of the population use electricity from the sun. This is how the forecast growth looks:
I kept that fairly large so that you might be able to read the small print. Original image here. Looks like a good industry to be in.
But remember Tony Abbott has targeted clean energy as RenewEconomy relates. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is one of his ‘saves’ and the Climate Commission is also due for the chop.
Abbott keeps intoning that they will be “building Australia”. You have to wonder just what will be built. He’s told the troops to tone down the negativity about renewables, it seems, so that we can all be relaxed and comfortable.
Finally, Giles Parkinson looks at election policy in relation to targets.
After being forced into action by the hung parliament and the bargain with the Greens and the country independents, Labor now appears comfortable with its climate change policy settings. It is committed to a carbon price, although Rudd has vowed to bring the traded (and less costly) version forward by a year. It says it will be advised on future reduction targets by the independent Climate Change Authority. Its main challenge is to convince votes that this is not a policy of convenience, and it won’t simply use climate and clean energy as a wedge to drive through the Coalition – as it did in the last Rudd government – however, tempting that might be.
The Coalition’s challenge is to show that its policy has credibility. Or more fundamentally, that it actually has a policy. After more than three years, it still can’t explain how Direct Action will work, or how it will achieve higher abatement targets. Is it a reverse auction, or a baseline and credit scheme? No one seems to know, least of all the Coalition, which promises a White Paper if elected.
Parkinson doubts that Direct Action will achieve the 5% 2020 target and notes the influence of fossil fuel interests and Abbott’s continued use of skeptic talking points to dismiss emissions trading. Labor should accept an enhanced 17% target from the Climate Change Authority, which after all was designed to take politics out of this important area of policy.
That’s as far as I got, folks. Sitting and staring at the screen after reading another thread last night didn’t help.