Archive for the ‘Ride The Talk’ Category

New “State of the Climate” report out…

Yesterday saw the release of the third biennial “State of the Climate” report from the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). Nothing much seems to have improved in the past two years and it doesn’t paint as pretty picture of our “sunburnt country”…

Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat. Rainfall has declined since 1970 in the southwest, dominated by reduced winter rainfall. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the southeast since 1990.

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Geo-engineering???

Talk of geo-engineering as a possible solution to Climate Change scares me.

It suggests that some believe we can continue using fossil fuels as we are doing at present and still ‘dodge’ the repercussions. Apart from the costs (and who should bear these) and the possible unintended side effects, geo-engineering, unless it were to ‘scrub’ CO2 from the atmosphere, still wouldn’t address ocean acidification which has seen a 30% reduction in shell thickness of crustaceans and which threatens to collapse the marine food chain. That we are even considering geo-engineering shows how desperate our situation is becoming.

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Climate Change is a political issue

Climate Change is an issue that requires long-term thinking, planning and execution. Unfortunately for most people in Western democracies, this kind of issue does not fit into either the media cycle or the election cycle.

The media cycle is now just a 24 hour beast, whilst the election cycle is limited to either 3 or 4 years. Increasingly, anything that falls outside these parameters is considered too difficult to implement. Opinion polls have become the arbiters of good policy rather than being advocated and sold by the government of the day. Also increasingly, it seems that the role of the opposition party(ies) is purely to oppose anything proposed by the incumbents, as if this provides an alternative view or policy perspective when in point of fact it is purest laziness.

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A Perfect Storm

The eighteenth annual session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) will take place from Monday, 26 November to Friday, 7 December 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar. Our “leaders” will again be talking about and considering proposals for the mitigation of and adaptation to Climate Change. I place the term “leaders” in inverted commas since it would appear that, even after 18 years of these talks, not one of them seems to want to “lead” on this issue which the science tells us will have a profound effect upon all of us.

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Smart meters –> energy price rises

Recently, in our street in suburban Melbourne, we have had “smart” meters installed. The program of smart meter installation has been legislated by the Victorian Government – you don’t have a choice about whether you get one or not; it will come to you. Last week I received a letter from my retailer, Origin, flagging “Time-of-Use” (ToU) energy prices. For the vast majority of us, this will result in major increases in bills.

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….and another thing….

What gives with the Victorian Government and the environment? Don’t Liberals have to pay energy bills?

On Monday last, there was a story in the Age of how, in order to try to “streamline” processes, they were considering removing the 6-star rating on newly built homes. Ostensibly to try to remove “red tape”, this proposal drew heavily on a Master Builders Association report from July 2010, which argued that “forcing” people to build houses with higher star ratings may cost more in building resources than it delivers in energy savings. Now the members of the MBA may be struggling with change, I don’t know, but surely it pays to find out the facts about the advantages or otherwise of building to a high standard.

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Does anyone really care?

In the recent past, I have become increasingly exasperated by our popular Governments. It is not the job of our Governments to be popular – indeed, if they don’t step on some toes, it could be argued that they aren’t doing their jobs properly. Democracy is supposed to be the government of the people, by the people, for the people. Nowadays, it seems summed up by of the political parties, for the special interest groups be they mining, manufacturing or any of a hundred others. Gone are the days of people going into politics for the benefit of their fellow citizens. Nowadays, with poll driven attention spans, if a policy isn’t at least poll neutral, it has difficulty in becoming law. And let’s not even go near being good fellow global citizens.

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Another challenge…

Only a little one this time – and it’s one where I don’t need to take a leave of absence from my family, fortunately. Please sponsor me and help the Leukaemia Foundation’s work. I’m being brave and doing the Worlds Greatest Shave!
Please sponsor me now!

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