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Saltwater by Julian Lennon from 1993

Posted by [email protected] on August 28, 2014 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Sing for the Climate! Reminding us how far behind we are – a slightly petulant Julian Lennon with Saltwater in 1993, saddened that nobody is acting on climate.

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The club performance above with his comments is best but here is a highly produced version with video - 

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Gather Gather Gather

Posted by [email protected] on August 27, 2014 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Here's Armidale's 2013 offering played on the National Day of Climate action November 17 - 

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The lyrics are by Helen Webb. The tune is Donna Donna. It is sung by the Firebirds Community Choir, and the video is produced by Iain Mackay, President of Sustainable Living Armidale. 

Sing for the Climate - Belgium 2012

Posted by [email protected] on August 27, 2014 at 8:50 PM

This is a very professional and great song." target="_blank">Click here to view on YouTube

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Here is a version to help people learn -

Here ia a great community club scene -

And finally a very gentle signed version -" target="_blank">

There are many great things not this YouTube site.

The lyrics are -

We need to wake up

We need to wise up

We need to open our eyes

And do it now now now

We need to build a better future

And we need to start right now

We’re on a planet

That hs a problem

We’ve got to solve it, get involved

And do it now now now

We need to build a better future

And we need to start right now

Make it greener

Make it cleaner

Make it last, make it fast

And do it now now now

We need to build a better future

And we need to start right now

No point in waiting

Or hesitating

We must get wise, take no more lies

And do it now now now

We need to build a better future

And we need to start right now


What climate tipping points should we be looking out for?

Posted by [email protected] on July 24, 2014 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (0)

by Andrew Glikson, in" target="_blank">The Conversation, 14 July 2014


The concept of a “tipping point” – a threshold beyond which a system shifts to a new state – is becoming a familiar one in discussions of the climate.


Examples of tipping points are everywhere: a glass falling off a table upon tilting; a bacterial population hitting a level where it pushes your body into fever; the boiling point of water, or a cube of ice being thrown into warm water, where it rapidly melts.


The ice cube is a poignant example, because scientists now fear that West Antarctica’s ice sheets are also heading towards irreversible melting.


Likewise, the recent discovery of deep canyons beneath the Greenland ice sheet raises concerns regarding its stability.


The history of the atmosphere, oceans and ice caps indicates that, once changes in the energy level which drive either warming or cooling reach a critical threshold, irreversible tipping points ensue.


An example is a process called “albedo flip”, where a small amount of melting creates a film of water on top of the ice. The water absorbs infrared radiation and melts more ice, leading to runaway melting of ice sheet. The opposite process occurs where the freezing of water results in reflection of radiation to space, leading to cooling and freezing of more water.


Other examples are abrupt warming episodes during glacial states, termed “interstadials”, for example the “Dansgaard-Oeschger” warming cycles which occurred during the last glacial period between about 100,000 and 20,000 thousand years ago, which caused large parts of the North Atlantic Ocean to undergo temperature changes of several degrees Celsius within short periods. Other examples are points at which a glacial state ends abruptly to be replaced by rapid glacial termination.


Over the threshold


An increase in global temperatures can lead to a threshold representing the culmination and synergy of multiple processes, such as release of methane from permafrost or polar ocean sediments, retreating sea ice and ice sheets, warming oceans, collapse of ocean current systems such as the North Atlantic Thermohaline Current and – not least – large scale fires.


A major consequence of warming of ice sheets is the increase in supply of cold fresh melt water to adjacent oceans, such as the abrupt cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean inducing rapid freezing events (stadials), as represented by the “Younger dryas” event (12,900-11,700 years ago), or the rapid melting of Laurentian ice cap about 8500 years ago and related abrupt cooling events in Europe and North America.



Satellite images of Greenland, July 8 and July 12, 2012. White shows remaining ice; red shows melt; pink shows probable melt; grey shows ice-free; dark grey means no data. NASA

Click to enlarge

The question is whether the post-18th century global warming trend may culminate in a major tipping point or, alternatively, is represented by an increase in disparate extreme weather events, as are currently occurring around the world.


A potential indicator of such tipping point may be represented by a collapse of the North Atlantic Thermal Circulation, which would lead to a sharp, albeit transient, temperature drop in the North Atlantic Ocean, North America and Western Europe. Evidence for a weakening of the North Atlantic deep water circulation by about 30% between 1957 and 2004 has been reported in Nature as well as by other researchers.


The question of tipping points is of critical importance since it affects future climate projections and adaptation plans. In this regard the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report leaves the question of tipping points open.


The crucial question


So how likely is the current climate change trend to reach a tipping point, and if so of what magnitude and on what time scale?


General circulation climate models which attempt to delineate overall future climate trends are limited in their capacity to predict the precise timing, location and magnitude of abrupt climate and weather events with confidence.


Since the 19th century the rise in the energy level of the atmosphere has reached a level of more than 3 degrees Celsius when the masking effects of sulphur aerosols are discounted. This degree of temperature rise is just under the energy rise level associated with the last glacial termination between about 16,000 and 10,000 years ago.


The atmosphere-ocean system continued to warm following the peak El-Nino event of 1998. Most of the warming occurred in the oceans, whose mean temperature has risen by about 0.3C since 1950.


The current rise in atmospheric CO2 of about 2 parts per million CO2/year, reaching 401.85 parts per million at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii in May 2014, exceeds rates observed in the geological record of the last 65 million years.


An atmospheric CO2 level of 400 parts per million is estimated for the Miocene, about 16 million years ago, when mean temperatures have reached 3 to 4 degrees Celsius above those of pre-industrial temperatures. Economically available fossil fuel reserves, if used, are capable of returning the atmosphere to tropical state such as existed during the early to mid-Eocene prior to the formation of the Antarctic ice sheet about 32 million years ago.


The evidence indicates that, since the mid-1980s, the Earth is shifting from a climate state that favoured land cultivation since about 7000 years ago to a climate state characterised by mean global temperatures about 2-3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


At this level, extreme weather events would render large parts of the continents unsuitable for agriculture. The accelerated melting of the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets could lead to conditions akin to those of the Pliocene, before 2.6 million years ago, when sea level were between 5 and 40 metres higher than at present, as estimated by the US Geological Survey.


The evidence indicates the climate may be tracking toward – or is already crossing – tipping points whose precise nature and timing remain undefined, depending on the extent to which ice sheet melting is retarded due to hysteresis. The increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events around the globe may represent a shift in state of the atmosphere-ocean system. There is no alternative to a global effort at deep cuts of carbon emissions coupled with fast-tracked CO2 sequestration.


As Professor Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s climate advisor and Director of the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute, has said:


We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.

8 charts that show how climate change is making the world more dangerous

Posted by [email protected] on July 15, 2014 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Disasters including storms, floods and heatwaves have increased fivefold since the 1970s, UN finds

By Suzanne Goldenberg

Forget the future. The world already is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s, because of the increasing risks brought by climate change, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organisation.


The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts and heat waves. That was nearly five times as many disasters as the 743 catastrophes reported during the 1970s – and all of those weather events are influenced by climate change.

Photo Alex Brandon/AP

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No False Choices: To Preserve A Livable Climate, We Need To Slash Both CO2 And Methane

Posted by [email protected] on July 12, 2014 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)

by Joseph Romm


Natural gas can either leak out as methane, or be flared as CO2 before going to market. CREDIT: Shutterstock

he bad news is that humanity has dawdled for so long that our only realistic chance to avoid multiple, irreversible, catastrophic climate impacts is to slash both carbon dioxide and the “super pollutants” like methane sharply starting as soon as possible.


As Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia’s Earth Institute, told MSNBC Tuesday:


We’ve been told the basic falsehood that somehow fracking is going to save us, which is basically the opposite of the truth.


What kind of good news can the world expect after ignoring near-unanimous expert advice for 25 years? Well, we can almost certainly avert the worst impacts for billions of people, but only by aggressively curtailing both CO2 (which lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years) and the super pollutants (which are much more potent at trapping heat in the short-term than CO2, but which have a much shorter atmospheric lifetime).


Some confusion has been generated on this issue by a Tuesday New York Times piece, “Picking Lesser of Two Climate Evils,” which frames our optimum climate strategy as a choice between targeting CO2 and targeting super pollutants like methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and black carbon, that together cause some 40% of the warming we’re experiencing now.


But that is a “false choice,” as longtime NASA climate scientist Drew Shindell explained to me. We have to do both to maximize lives saved and minimize the chances of dangerous warming. That’s a point Climate Progress has made consistently.


The New York Times piece builds off an analysis by climatologist Raymond Pierrehumbert on “Short-Lived Climate Pollution” (SLCP). He concludes that an “implementation of SLCP mitigation that substitutes to any significant extent for carbon dioxide mitigation will lead to a climate irreversibly warmer than will a strategy with delayed SLCP mitigation. SLCP mitigation does not buy time for implementation of stringent controls on CO2 emissions.”


I think that conclusion is correct: Absent an effort to sharply reduce CO2 emissions ASAP, everything else is a sideshow if not an outright distraction.


But I think this assertion by Pierrehumbert is not tenable: “There is little to be gained by implementing SLCP mitigation before stringent carbon dioxide controls are in place and have caused annual emissions to approach zero.” That seems to me a false choice, suggesting that humanity is somehow incapable of reducing all greenhouse gases at the same time.


Also, it ignores the risk that we might cross irreversible warming thresholds in the coming decades that further accelerate warming — such as permafrost melt — before the impact of the CO2 reductions can be felt. And it ignores the very low cost of reducing SLCPs compared to the relatively higher cost of reducing CO2 as you approach zero (i.e. after you have exhausted all of the low-cost CO2-reduction strategies). The SLCPs account for much of current warming, and they must be dealt with.


The case where this matters most is natural gas, since natural gas is mostly methane, leaks at every point in the production and distribution process, but also releases CO2 when burned as a fuel. Methane is a whopping 86 times stronger at trapping heat than CO2 over a 20-year time scale, but “only” 34 times stronger over a 100-year time scale. And, as the IPCC wrote in its recent review of the science, “There is no scientific argument for selecting 100 years compared with other choices. The choice of time horizon is a value judgement since it depends on the relative weight assigned to effects at different times.”


The key point is that using natural gas to replace coal poses risks in all time periods. And, when you do the math based on actual observations of methane leakage, it turns out, as I’ve discussed, “By The Time Natural Gas Has A Net Climate Benefit You’ll Likely Be Dead And The Climate Ruined.”


As Sachs told MSNBC, “We have to move decisively” to carbon-free energy sources, including renewables and even nuclear. “This is pretty basic stuff.”


Here are more of Dr. Shindell’s thoughts on the subject:


I would strongly argue that there are two distinct environmental problems, one is long-term climate change for which CO2 is the dominant driver, and one is the combination of near-term climate change and air quality, for which SLCPs dominate. I don’t believe society is only capable of considering one problem at a time so that putting effort into cutting SLCPs would undermine efforts to cut CO2 — we consider multiple problems all the time (e.g. promoting clean water does not undermine promoting clean air, and there are countless such examples).


Demanding that CO2 reductions be made first, as has been promoted by some of the anti-SLCP crowd, runs the danger of blocking any action on SLCPs for many many years given the dismal state of progress on CO2. That would lead to many premature deaths that could have been prevented, larger near-term climate change that is already affecting people around the world, etc. So there are dangers either way if solving one problem is stalled due to the other, and so it’s important to keep working on both in my opinion. If our leadership can’t manage two environmental problems at once, then rather than choosing one or the other I’d say we should choose new leadership.


SLCP reductions don’t buy time for CO2 reductions, but they do provide more time for adaptation and improve the chances of avoiding tipping points by delaying the time at which we reach them so that if CO2 reductions take place they’ll have more time to have their impact.


Since Prof. Bob Howarth of Cornell has been remarkably prescient in raising concerns about methane leakage, I asked him to comment on Pierrehumbert’s findings:


1) It is a false choice to say we must rely on coal or natural gas. When I conclude the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas is worse than that of coal on the decadal time scale, I am not arguing for coal. Rather, we should wean ourselves from all fossil fuels, and natural gas is not a bridge fuel towards doing so.


2) He ignores potential tipping points in the climate system which we increasingly run the risk of hitting if we do not reduce methane emissions. If the tipping points are hit, we will have runaway global warming that will be devastating. And we cannot avoid warming the planet to dangerously high temperatures (1.5 to 2 deg C) over the coming few decades by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. We must reduce methane emissions to lower this rate of warming on this time scale.


3) And yes, he ignores the problems with global climate disruption over the coming few decades, apparently feeling any damage on this time scale is OK if we are address the long-term problem.


I think I have done a good job of summarizing these issues and arguments in my May 2014 paper (Howarth, R. W. 2014. A bridge to nowhere: Methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas.


UPDATE: Dr. Michael Tobis — climate blogger and modeler par excellence — points out that if we just reduce CO2 use sharply, then we would see a short-term boost in warming from the reduction in sulfate aerosols associated with the sharp coal reductions (see here). So that is yet another important reason we need to go after both coal and SLCPs.

U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia

Posted by [email protected] on July 10, 2014 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

By Grant Smith, Bloomberg News

The U.S. will remain the world’s biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia andRussia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nation’s economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said.

U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world’s largest natural gas producer in 2010. TheInternational Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids.



U.S. oil output will surge to 13.1 million barrels a day in 2019 and plateau thereafter, according to the IEA, a Paris-based adviser to 29 nations. The country will lose its top-producer ranking at the start of the 2030s, the agency said in its World Energy Outlook in November.

State's top doctor says we should consider banning wood fire heaters

Posted by [email protected] on July 5, 2014 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

by Heath Gilmore

The NSW government is considering banning wood fire heaters following a call from the state's top doctor.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant says the heaters are so detrimental to the health she supported banning and phasing out the heaters in built-up urban areas as an option to control wood smoke.

NSW Health has advocated the government give councils greater regulatory powers to impose controls in their area, taking into account topography, population density, socio-economic status and the availability of alternative heating options.

On Friday night, Environment Minister Rob Stokes said he would consider all options to reduce the impact of wood smoke emissions.

Dr Chant said the use of of wood burning heaters inside homes should be avoided.



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Wood fire heaters: the hidden killer

Posted by [email protected] on June 27, 2014 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Heath Gilmore, 27 June 2014

The air pollution from wood fire heaters now poses a bigger immediate health danger to Sydneysiders than cars or cigarettes.

Health experts say the growth in wood fire heaters and the resulting smoke accounts for more than 60 per cent of Sydney's winter air pollution, triggering complications among asthmatics, emphysema and chronic bronchitis sufferers.

In July, an estimated 83,000 heaters are responsible for up to 75 per cent of fine particle pollution in Sydney's basin, according to the NSW EPA. Known as the new asbestos, fine particulate matter is a key component of smog, which can penetrate deep into the lungs.

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Australia's Electricity Sector: Ageing, Inefficient and Unprepared

Posted by [email protected] on June 18, 2014 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Climate Council Report

Internationally, the energy sector accounts for the largest proportion of greenhouse gas (gHg) emissions, which are the main drivers of climate change. Limiting temperature rise to a global average of 2 °C, the internationally agreed level that may avoid dangerous climate change, requires large scale changes in the electricity sector and a tripling of low-carbon energy by 2050.


Yet, australia’s electricity is largely generated by ageing, inefficient coal-fired power plants and there are currently no plans, nor a national discussion on the future of the electricity sector and options to significantly reduce its emissions. Delaying the shift to a low carbon future increases the likely risks and costs of transition to a low carbon future in the electricity sector, where it typically takes a decade or more to plan, permit, finance and build major new power infrastructure.

For the full report, click here

For 3 minute video summary

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