Carbon Conservation & Energy Efficiency


Bruce Rowse & Team

Archive for the ‘Climate change’ Category

Interactive Map on Climate Change

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The link below goes to an interactive map of the world showing the impact in various places of a average global temperature rise of 4 degrees Celcius. For example some parts of Australia would experience a 6 degree rise, whist the oceans around Australia a 2 or 3 degree rise. Note the map doesn’t work in Internet Explorer 7 - it did work in Firefox for me.

The map was produced by the Met office in the UK, and is a good tool for identifying the predicted “hot spots” (a bad pun, I know) for forest fires, crops, water availability, sea level rise, marine, drought, permafrost, tropical cyclones and extreme temperature.

What’s happened at Copenhagen?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

There was a tremendous build up to this international climate conference. There was lots of anticipation by the public. It was declared to be the ‘most important international gathering of our time’. Peaceful public demonstrations all around the world intensified as the date of the conference approached. People in numerous countries publicly declared that they want change to avoid a global disaster due to greenhouse emissions. They clearly indicated that they’ve had enough of talk and wanted action, now. So did the climate conference live up to the expectations?

The following statement by Yvo de Boer sums up the outcomes succinctly:

”The Copenhagen Accord, which was expected highly to lead to a legally binding treaty, aroused opposition from several developing countries, who said the emission reduction targets were not ambitious enough and refused to adopt it. Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of UN Framework Conventionon Climate Change said at his closing press briefing that the Copenhagen Accord not only failed his hope of achieving a legally binding treaty, but also failed the hope of an agreement for such a treaty. But he still believed that countries should strive for such goals at the next UN climate conference in Mexico in 2010.”

Unfortunately lots of the sceptics predicted this result (and I’m not talking about climate change sceptics either but sceptics who don’t believe that we should place our faith in governments and leaders). Respected climate scientists are urging for immediate cuts to GHG emissions to prevent a more than 2C increase in global temperatures. Well-known international economists are insisting on allocating more funds towards low carbon technologies but again without support from the top people are cautious about investing in the renewable energy market. The fossil fuel market must become non-profitable to drive investments in the low-carbon economy.

Another statement by Monbiot again summarises where we are at: “The longer a comprehensive agreement is delayed, the steeper the emissions cuts will have to be if we are to avoid climate breakdown. Beyond a certain point the scale of the cuts becomes politically, economically and technologically infeasible. That point must already be close”.

So we will have to wait another year to see whether the international leaders can agree on some sort of binding treaty instead of everyone doing their own thing without any scrutiny. In the mean time you don’t have to wait to make a change. Start living a more sustainable lifestyle and support renewable energy and companies that are genuinely trying to make a difference to our planet.


Carbon Capture at Hazelwood

Monday, December 7th, 2009

The Hazelwood coal fired power station in the state of Victoria is the most greenhouse intensive plant in Australia. It generates around 17 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year. The plant was originally due for decommissioning in 2005, but controversially had its licence extended until 2031.
I was thinking surely Hazelwood is expected to improve its environmental performance if left operational. And sure enough Hazelwood has been successful in securing a grant for a Carbon Capture demonstration project.

One of eight plants at Hazelwood has been fitted with a Carbon Capture Module, which removes around 90% of carbon (C02) from the flue gases. Explaining the process is quite complex, but essentially half the C02 is sequestered into a mineral call calcium carbonate. This is done by taking the captured C02 solvent and injecting it into ash water, a by-product of coal fired plants, that has a high concentration of calcium hydroxide (not nice stuff!). This generates a reaction that results in the production of fine particles of calcium carbonate. This is a non-hazardous mineral that sequesters the C02 and can be used as an additive for production of varying man-made materials such as cements and plastics.

The remaining C02 is captured and stored, with stage 2 of the project aiming to dispose of the C02 via possible geosequestration (pumping the C02 underground) or transport to other sites for water treatment or other industrial applications. The project is the first retrofit to an existing coal fire station in Australia and while the results are promising it’s still a long way off cleaning up Hazelwood.


Why believe that climate change is caused by human activity?

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I generally like to focus the bulk of my articles in this blog on stories about that which is “climate positive” - by that I mean people, organisations, technologies that are cutting greenhouse gas emissions and providing an economic return.

However I am astounded at the number of people who are skeptical about climate change and their strident denial that humans have anything to do with it. There are now hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of people now around the world who reckon their opinion on climate change is right. But lets go to the real experts, scientists whose job it is to research and study the climate.

The most recent poll of these scientists that I am aware of was undertaken in 2009 by researchers from the University of Chicago. 10,257 earth scientists were polled, 3,146 replied to the poll. Of these 79 listed climate science as their specialisation and had published more than 50% of their recent peer reviewed papers on the subject of climate change.

So we have 79 climate experts answering this poll. Apparently only 77 responsed to the question that asked if human activity was significant in changing mean global temperatures. And 75 replied that yes, they believed human activity was responsible for the increase in global mean temperatures.

So, who do you believe? The vast majority of climate scientists, or the other experts such as:

  • Newspaper columnists passionately skeptical
  • Politicians apoplectically skeptical, based on the letters their constituents have written to them.
  • Your dyed in the wool neighbour?
  • The old salt telling a journalist that sea level rise is rubbish?

Still convinced your local politician or favourite columnist- you know, the one with the pHD in climateology (sic) is right?

Consider then major international scientific bodies. Below is a list of some of the organisations that support the assertion that “most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities” or have made statements along these lines.

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • US Global Change Research Program
  • Arctic Council
  • International Arctic Science Committee
  • European Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • InterAcadamy Society
  • International Council of Academics of Engineering and Technological Sciences
  • National Science Academies from around the world, including the US, China, India, Germany, the UK, Australia, etc.
  • Network of African Science Academies
  • Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Polish Academy of Sciences
  • National Research Council (US)

In fact as I write this there no scientific body of national or international repute known to reject the assertion that humans have caused climate change.

Learn more about this and where I got my information from at

I’m no climate expert. I’ve read a bit, but no, I haven’t put satellites up or deployed ocean bouys up to monitor sea level rise, I haven’t been to the Arctic, I haven’t seen the snow line change at Kilamanjaro. I don’t have the knowledge or instrumentation or tools to come to any conclusion about greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. And the chances are that neither do you, dear reader.

So I have to rely on the people who do. Those highly educated and trained people, steeped in the scientific method, who dedicate themselves to the study of climate. And my choice, the only reasonable choice in my opinion, is to believe what the majority of these scientists are saying. And not what a politician, columnist or crusty old salt twice my age may say.

Our culture is one which respects the lone maverick and generally respects age. But, given the stakes if the maverick and “seen it all” elderly are wrong, I’d prefer to believe the majority of those conservative people, climate scientists. I reckon thats a pretty good reason to believe that humans have caused climate change and that we should be doing something about it.

International Day of Demonstration on Climate Change

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Following the day of action I was looking forward to reading about this world-wide rally in the newspapers but I was quickly disappointed to discover that it only got a short mention on page four of one of the major weekend papers. Likewise the major TV channels only dedicated a newsflash type of segment to this news.

After learning about this international action day coordinated by (see blog on 20th Oct) I decided to attend the local rally in the Dandenongs. Despite the best efforts of I believe that this climate change day was not getting enough attention in the main stream media. Most people would only have found out about it through alternative sources, such as the internet and perhaps from the banners and placards strategically placed by passionate environmentalists.

Nevertheless, a large number of grass root groups joined forces to take part in this campaign and it is believed that around 5,400 events in 180 countries took place all around the world. According to Bill McKibben, a writer and environmentalist who founded

“We had no idea we would get the overwhelming support, enthusiasm and engagement from all over the world that we’re seeing. It shows just how scared of global warming much of the planet really is, and how fed up at the inaction of our leaders.”

Let’s hope they will get the message before the Copenhagen Conference .

While back in the Dandenongs on Saturday the local chapter of managed to get around 150 people to take part. It was good to see the range of people who came to support this movement. There were the elderly, the mums with prams, school kids, quite a few young people and of course the more alternative types. Overall a good cross section of society was represented by this small group who marched up and down in the main street until arriving at the local MP’s office. Speeches included the discussion of Climate Change and our future.

The rally culminated in the passing of judgement on the current Labour Government’s policies on Global Warming. The list was long and the final verdict on all their policies so far was ‘GUILTY’. This list was mounted on the side of the MP’s office and the crowd continued to enjoy the day with a BBQ and live music. Local Councillor Samantha Dunn then handed out 350 native plants for the participants to take home and plant in their gardens to help reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.