Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Finally…a price on carbon pollution

At long last, we have a price on carbon and now the work can begin to create an Australia that makes use of its amazing renewable energy resources for electricity production in particular.

This has been a long time coming but with a “blood oath” hanging over this legislation, this is also the time to make sure we move from talking to doing quickly.The best way to create acceptance of the new technologies to be deployed is to get them up and running so that the “chicken little” comments can be shown to be just that. Most people will see that the sky hasn’t fallen in – sure, you will get certain interest groups complaining and big carbon polluters will have to change the way they do things. Sometimes change can be difficult, especially if you have been used to doing the same thing day-in, day-out for well over a century. There are opportunities to be had and the sooner we get on-board and develop our expertise in these new technologies, the more benefit we can make of the global move to a clean, renewable, low carbon lifestyle – one in which our children and grand-children can live without the diabolical consequences of having to deal with runaway Climate Change hanging over their heads.

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A vision for the future

I want to try to get the idea out there that we can do better than merely providing renewable energy for our own needs. Australia has renewable energy resources that are the envy of nearly every other country on earth and, at present, we are using only a small fraction of what is possible.

Desertec has done calculations that shows that an area of land 300km x 300km (90,000 km2 – a fairly sizeable block of land) was capable in 2005 of providing the electricity needs of THE WORLD! This area is shown in orange on the map below for illustration purposes. BTW, this is using technology that is available TODAY, not some pie-in-the-sky unproven technology – concentrated solar thermal with molten salt storage of the kind promoted by beyondZeroEmissions.

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…and, finally, homeward bound. The end…or maybe not??

I was again introduced by the mayor, at my Kingston talk, and the audience was well engaged. My host, John, and I headed home afterwards and the next morning I left bound for my next stop 4km from Oyster Cove and my talk at the Kettering Community Hall.

The directions given by Mark [the Spark] were explicit and accurate and I arrived at their place just after noon. Mark and Narelle live a low impact life in the hills west of the highway. I was to be in the cottage they have and the afternoon was spent assisting Mark and a friend Dan replace some rotten stumps under the workshop – grunt work but satisfying nonetheless. The talk went well to a great audience and I returned home with Mark and went straight to bed. The next day was a ‘biggy’ from there to Oatlands – a distance of some 120kms!

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…and over to the east coast…

Hi all,
My talk in Devonport went well and, afterwards, I looked up a friend-of-a-friend who had some dinner prepared for me [thanks Caroline] and we chatted together until way too late [sorry about that Caroline!]. I then retired back to the caravan park on the Bluff at Devonport and woke up way later than I had wanted. Launceston was a 100km+ journey and I had wanted to get an early start but, hey….

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3 Things you might not know:

1.       Australians create more GHG per capita than anyone else in the developed world

2.       Burning coal releases mercury, selenium and arsenic as well as uranium, thorium and other heavy metals – if a health impact study were done today, it would probably not be allowed.

(If your reason for avoiding Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) is that of the mercury contained therein, then use CFLs as the extra coal burnt to provide the energy to light standard globes releases more mercury than the CFL bulbs contain.)

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Well, Rockhampton was where my east-coast cycling adventure finished – from here to Geraldton, in WA, I will be catching buses. (Thanks a lot Greyhound – you have made my journey that much more doable.) I can rationalise this in any number of ways: the distances between towns is now getting very large; the towns (and populations) are getting smaller; the temperature/humidity is rapidly increasing; and I wish dearly to get home to my family for christmas. Aside from all of that, my purpose is to speak to people in order to help them reduce their energy consumption, their energy bills and, consequently, their greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst a ‘road-trip’ across this wide, brown land holds certain drawing power, the need to do what I am trying to do holds more.

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Canberra-Breadalbane-Moss Vale-Wollongong-Sydney

I got an offer of accommodation ~30km outside Goulburn near Breadalbane – a bit of a detour but it’s the sister of an ex-CEO of the ATA, so how could I refuse! 😉 A wonderful family atmosphere which just reinforced how much I’m missing mine. They are a farming family (Maryanne, Frank & their children Annabelle, Matthew & Madeleine) and have been doing it tough these past few years with the drought. Fortunately, things look pretty good for this year so I hope things get better for them.

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Canberra weekend

Well, as I said previously, I’m in the nation’s capital. Chilling out for the rest of Saturday – had Vietnamese from a local restaurant for dinner and off to bed to sleep (soundly) again. Tomorrow is the Walk Against Warming – an event not to be missed.

It has dawned overcast, cold and threatening rain but we are determined that it won’t rain on our parade. My host Steve, the convenor of the Canberra branch of the ATA, is very much a kindred spirit – he just loves bikes and even has a new style of recumbent bike called a Cruzbike. Unlike ‘normal’ recumbents, this one is a two-wheeled, more erect bike with front-wheel drive. It looks just amazing.

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