Category Archives: Climate Change & Sustainability

Posts on aspects of climate science, climate action and climate policy & planning.

Keeping the lights on

Last week began with a front page article in the AFR Victoria prone to blackouts this summer as grid wilts and ended with an AFR editorial How can Australia have third-world power blackouts?

The answer to that question is easy – we don’t have to avoid third-world blackouts because we don’t have them. The more important question is, why is Michael Stutchbury’s head in such a muddle? Stutchbury is editor in chief of the AFR and appeared on ABC Insiders this morning. Other panelists asked whether he had read “the report”. Continue reading Keeping the lights on

Australia’s climate credibility shredded in Pacific ‘step up’ disaster

In the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) climate change is seen as an existential threat. ‘Existential’ in the sense that life for the Pacific islanders is embedded in community and place. Shifting to higher ground somewhere else is not a solution. (See Geoff Henderson’s excellent guest post Climate refugees in the Central Pacific -the Republic of Kiribati)

To put the best construction on what happened, Pacific leaders and Australia agreed to disagree about action on climate change.

PIF chair, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, said to Australian PM Scott Morrison:

    “You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu.”

Continue reading Australia’s climate credibility shredded in Pacific ‘step up’ disaster

Water from thin air

As I reported recently, ten towns in northern NSW and the Southern Downs in Qld are at high risk of running out of water. Indeed news.com reports that Stanthorpe could be dry by Christmas, with nearby Warwick at risk of running out in 17 months’ time.

Nature worked out how to extract water from desert air with the evolution of the Namibian fog beetle (above). The image is from my files, so I’ve posted about it before, I reckon about 10 years ago. I googled and found this article: Continue reading Water from thin air

Weekly salon 11/8

1. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, PM

Martin Fletcher in the New Statesman says that Brits have given a con man the keys to the kingdom:

    Boris Johnson’s arrival in Downing Street as prime minister signals the end of the UK as a serious country.

Continue reading Weekly salon 11/8

Weekly salon 6/8

1. Tears in the rain

I don’t often note the passing of famous people, because there are so many. Recently I was touched by news of the passing of Rutger Hauer, who played the replicant Roy Batty who was meant to be hunted down and killed Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard in Bladerunner. See the final part of the scene in “I Saw the Future”: Rutger Hauer (RIP) Remembers His Most Memorable Role in Blade Runner. Continue reading Weekly salon 6/8

Climate action: a doddle or deep adaptation?

Again, this post started as an edition of Climate clippings.

Where I ended up after a series of happenings as described below, is concluding that we need a paradigm shift in our climate change aspirations. Instead of trying to limit warming to a point where we can avoid dangerous climate change, we need to recognize that we’ve already gone too far, that the climate is already dangerous, so we should aim to ratchet down GHG concentrations in the atmosphere to attain a safe climate.

1. Germans look to 7.4 trillion tons of fake snow to save the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Continue reading Climate action: a doddle or deep adaptation?

Saudis throw a spanner

Climate science was buried at a meeting in Bonn. Meanwhile diplomats planted trees to symbolise their intention to combat desertification (Photo: UNFCCC)

At a mid-year meeting of UNFCCC in Bonn this year in June a small group of countries led by Saudi Arabia have put the kybosh on any formal consideration of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C in the UNFCCC forum. Continue reading Saudis throw a spanner

Four graphs that matter in the climate emergency

First graph

Greta Thunberg, the girl who can’t quit, said:

    The emissions are increasing and that is the only thing that matters.

This is what was shown for July 01, 2019 at Muana Loa:

Continue reading Four graphs that matter in the climate emergency

Climate clippings 232: climate emergency edition

Freak hail in Guadalajara, Mexico

With France breaking heat records by nearly 2°C and 1.5 metres of hail fall on Guadalajara in Mexico, Australian blog Lethal Heating has been blogging a storm on the climate emergency. LH selects and republishes three articles per day, adding value by making some available that may be paywalled, and adding a list of links to relevant previously published articles.

Below I’ve linked to some recent articles. Continue reading Climate clippings 232: climate emergency edition

Climate emergency – the next (political) step

Greta Thunberg, the girl who can’t quit, was asked to talk to the billionaire entrepreneurs in Davos:

    “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act,” she told them.

She also said:

    The emissions are increasing and that is the only thing that matters.

Continue reading Climate emergency – the next (political) step

Climate emergency – an existential risk requiring action

Time to declare a climate emergency is now. Arguably we should have done so when James Hansen addressed the US senate in 1988. Twenty years later he was judged to have got it right.

This post started as life a new Climate clippings, so it follows that format. It looks at scientific reticence in relation to mainstream climate science, how the real urgency of the climate situation is moving to the centre from the periphery in climate science, and where we find ourselves now especially in relation to emissions, temperature and sea level rise. Continue reading Climate emergency – an existential risk requiring action

Labor needs to rethink the climate emergency

I pinched that cartoon from the Townsville Bulletin from Facebook, where it was doing the rounds. I think it’s tragic rather than funny, but may go some way to explain why Labor, in Queensland and federally, is over-reacting to the ‘message’ that was sent on Adani, and the prospect of jobs flowing from the resources industry as against climate change and saving the planet. Both Queensland and federal Labor appear to be caving in to coal interests, and both appear to be clueless about the urgency of the climate emergency. Continue reading Labor needs to rethink the climate emergency