Archive for January, 2010

Transport Planners Need to Get on Their Bikes

Posted by admin on January 27, 2010
Posted under Express 93

Transport Planners Need to Get on Their Bikes

The Australian Bureau of Statistics and Vicroads data shows that Melbourne is experiencing one of the biggest bicycle booms in living memory. Trips to work by bicycle grew by 42% between 2001 and 2006 and counters installed by Vicroads show that bicycle paths, previously considered recreational infrastructure, are busiest during weekdays at peak hour.

Has Anyone Told The Transport Planners About Climate Change?

By Elliot Fishman

More Melburnians are riding to work now than ever before. It’s not just individuals who need to change their transport habits, writes Elliot Fishman

If the state of Melbourne’s inner city streets and bike paths this January is anything to go by, it looks like a lot of Melbournians made a New Year’s resolution to ride to work. A wide demographic of commuters were choosing pedal power last week: men in suits, women in high heels, students with 1970s vintage bikes, as well as people riding flat bar commuting bikes that were rolling around town long before cycling became fashionable.

These observations are backed up by Australian Bureau of Statistics and Vicroads data which shows that Melbourne is experiencing one of the biggest bicycle booms in living memory. According to the last census, trips to work by bicycle grew by 42 per cent between 2001 and 2006 and counters installed by Vicroads show that bicycle paths, previously considered recreational infrastructure, are busiest during weekdays at peak hour.

As any public transport commuter can tell you, Melbournians have started to leave the car at home and opt for the train, tram or bus. This is been confirmed by Department of Transport figures showing a recent strong shift towards public transport.

These changes in transport behaviour are occurring across Australia and indeed across the globe. In December, figures published by Reuters showed that Americans bought 10 million vehicles in 2009 — but scrapped 14 million. This decline in vehicle ownership coincides with a plateau in car travel, a trend replicated in many developed-world cities, including Melbourne in spite of strong population growth.

This shift toward use of public transport and bicycles was sparked, at least in part, by the rapid rises in world oil prices since 2004. Oil hit US$147 a barrel — which some commentators, including Infrastructure Australia board member Professor Peter Newman, argue triggered the global financial crisis. In fact, peaks in the price of oil have historically preceeded recessions, with the 1973/4 OPEC oil embargo, the 1979 Iranian revolution and the first Gulf War all causing spikes in oil prices and consequent global economic downturns.

Unlike these past instances of oil price rises, which share a political origin, today’s high oil price (around US$80 a barrel, compared to US$35 in 2004) has a geological origin. Put simply, we have been using more oil than we have been finding for a long time. Since around 1982, in fact. We now use four barrels of oil for every one we discover.

The magnitude of the oil supply/demand imbalance has the International Energy Agency (IEA) worried. In their 2009 World Energy Outlook, the IEA revised and downgraded their estimates for world oil production in 2030. They forecast 121 million barrels production per day for 2030 in 2004 but lowered their estimate to 116 million barrels in 2006 and have now dropped it to 105 million barrels. This is a dramatic reduction in estimated production.

More worrying for Australia is the IEA finding that OECD oil consumption is set to fall by 0.3 per cent per year while Treasury estimates that our population will reach 35 million by 2049. According to the CSIRO, this could mean that each Australian will halve their petrol consumption — a reduction that will be all the more pressing given a litre is predicted to cost as much as $8 by 2018. As 95 per cent of our transport is currently fuelled by black gold, we clearly have considerable challenges ahead.

The implication is clear. Our current transport infrastructure reflects a pattern of investment founded on the assumption of limitless oil supplies. Not only has this assumption been proved false, we have discovered the urgent need to cut soaring transport emissions: our infrastructure priorities need to be turned on their head.

Spending billions on urban freeway duplications while many middle and outer ring suburbs go without quality public transport or bicycle infrastructure is inequitable and threatens not just household budgets, but Australia’s trade deficit. In fact, government estimates suggest the trade deficit in oil products will hit $25 billion by 2015. Research released late last year revealed residents in Cardinia, in Melbourne’s outer south-east, use a car for over 90 per cent of all trips and drive around 204 kilometres per week — over four times the distance of residents in the City of Melbourne. Such transport inequities don’t only bear on the economic health of our cities, but their social health and liveability.

Government investment in transport and land-use planning needs to reflect the new reality of oil depletion and climate change. Outer suburbs without rail lines and streets without bicycle lanes need to become a thing of the past. Without a change in mindset and investment, by 2030 we might just be left with empty freeways, perhaps better described as gigantic bike lanes, several bankrupt toll road operators and a number of energy analysts saying “I told you so”. Let’s make 2010 the year in which we confront the reality of peak oil and climate change.


Winning Coffee & Winter Olympians Get the Sustainability Medal

Posted by admin on January 27, 2010
Posted under Express 93

Winning Coffee & Winter Olympians Get the Sustainability Medal

Sustainability is a byword for Australian-owned  Jasper Coffee and its recent achievement of 100% carbon neutral status gives the company top ranking for the industry. The upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada will feature some stylishly designed gold, silver and bronze medals, largely made from recycled used electronic circuit boards, diverting 6.8 metric tonnes of electronic waste from landfill.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Charlotte Francis

Sustainability has always shaped how Australian-owned company Jasper Coffee operates. But their recent achievement of 100 per cent carbon neutral status tops off their leading standard for successful sustainable business.

It took three years of specialist research, thorough investigations and a full sustainability audit to calculate the carbon footprint of the company’s entire operation, supply chain and assets – right down to the detergent used in dishwashing.

‘It’s all about trying to find alternative solutions to carbon problems and the overuse of materials,’ says Managing Director Wells Trenfield, explaining how they have cut down on energy, consumption and waste products.

In the factories, for example, a unique system from Brazil cools the hot coffee inside the roasting drum with a five-second jet of water, which then evaporates on contact with the beans and stops further roasting. At the same time as reducing water use, Jasper technicians have also accelerated the bean cooling process, saving further energy by increasing the size of holes in the meshed cooling tray.

When it comes to delivery, customers receive their coffee in foldable and returnable plastic crates; this reduces the use of cardboard and saves on recycling costs. Used coffee sacks are distributed to various dogs shelters and staff use chaff leftover from roasted green coffee as fertiliser in their gardens. Nothing is wasted.

As well as offsetting company car emissions through the Greenfleet program, Jasper Coffee has partnered with the Karnataka Renewable Energy Project in India to offset their greenhouse gas emissions through biomass power generation.

Agricultural waste from local farmers fuels the Karnataka power plant to produce a clean and sustainable source of electricity. By purchasing carbon offsets, Jasper Coffee is helping to create revenuefor impoverished rice farmersand reduce greenhouse gas emissions in India by 30 000 tons of CO2 annually. The project is now returning around 84 million INR (AU$2.3 million) to farmers every year and, as an additional benefit, 500 new jobs have been created.

Finding the Karnataka Project took time and research. ‘It wasn’t just a product-based decision,’ explains Trenfield. ‘For me it was also a question of social responsibility.’ Guided by ethical, social and environmental considerations, Jasper Coffee is a founding member of the Fairtrade Association and was the first roaster in Australia to be certified organic in 1989. With the aim of securing a better deal for coffee growers in developing countries, 15 out of the company’s 36 coffees have Fairtrade and Organic certification and are shade grown. Cultivating coffee trees under an indigenous forest canopy helps to encourage a biodiverse habitat for native flora and fauna.

In a partnership with World Vision, Jasper Coffee has assisted coffee growers in the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia to achieve Fairtrade and Organic certification.

‘Getting the certification has changed their lives,’ says Trenfield, explaining how the Fairtrade guarantee of an above-market price has enabled the farmers to invest in training, studies in agronomy, business management and running a Fairtrade cooperative. ‘They are now empowered to make their own decisions.’ In northern Peru, Jasper Coffee supports, and has visited, the Café Femenino project, a cooperative where women own the land, harvest and sell their own coffee at a fair price. In addition, funds raised from two extra levies – one administered by the Café Femenino Foundation and one by JasperCoffee – have been invested in training and leadership.

‘This project has brought self-esteem and self-respect back into women’s lives,’ says Trenfield. Café Femenino sells 25 per cent of their crop to Jasper Coffee, which is in turn the company’s biggest seller. Jasper Coffee has recently won some notable corporate contracts because of its commitment to excellence. It now supplies coffee to 55 per cent of Australia’s domestic airline market and plans to take that further. The National Australia Bank serves Jasper product in its 800 branches across the country – a sound return on the investment in best practice.

A story provided by ECOS Magazine – Australia´s most authoritative magazine on sustainability in the environment, industry and community.

Source: and

The upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada will feature some stylishly designed gold, silver and bronze medals. What is even more spectacular about these medals is the fact that all (or most of) the metal is recycled – sourced from used electronic circuit boards. This has resulted in 6.8 metric tonnes of circuit boards have been diverted from landfill.

Teck Resources, a Vancouver-based diversified metals company, is supplying the metals used in the production of the Olympic and Paralympic medals. The metals are from Teck’s operations in Canada, including British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Alaska, Chile and Peru.

“Our employees worldwide are honoured to supply the metals for the medals that will be cherished by the world’s best winter athletes in 2010,” said Teck’s president and CEO, Don Lindsay. “We’re also excited that these medals will contain recycled metal recovered from end-of-life electronics, consistent with the sustainability philosophy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Thanks to Teck, the 2010 medals are making Olympic and Paralympic metal history as the medals will be the first to contain metals recovered from processing the circuit boards from end-of-life electronics (ewaste) otherwise destined for the landfill.

After mining or production through a variety of smelting and recovery processes, each metal has been refined to enhance the metal purity.

In addition to providing the metals, Teck also worked with VANOC and the Royal Canadian Mint in the development and production of the medals.


Sustainability & Green Materials Proposed to Rebuild Haiti

Posted by admin on January 27, 2010
Posted under Express 93

Sustainability & Green Materials Proposed to Rebuild Haiti

International talks on Haiti, which opened on Monday in Montreal, will focus on the “critical first steps” in rebuilding the earthquake-ravaged country, while Global Green USA and Green Cross are offering their expertise (used after Hurricane Katrina and the Victorian bushfires) to create partnerships to help sustainably rebuild Haiti’s devastated homes, schools and communities. Civil and environmental professor Yan Xiao is suggesting bamboo as a suitable and sustainable building material for Haiti.
Mara Bun, CEO of Green Cross in Australia, which developed the Build It Back Green programme after the devastating Victoria bush fires a year ago, welcomes the move to by its US partner organisation to drive a sustainable rebuilding programme for Haiti. Any funds donated in Australia through Green Cross will be dedicated to helping create healthier, energy efficient, disaster resistant housing, schools and other structures, which are appropriate for Haiti.

Here’s the word from Global Green USA President Matt Petersen, Green Cross’ partner organisation in the United States:

The response of American citizens, the US government, and individuals around the world is of course heartening, but does not replace the unfathomable loss of human lives and property. In any disaster, we must find a silver lining to give some small solace to such unbelievable tragedy.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I put forth a plan two weeks after the tragedy to do just that. Today, Global Green’s leadership in the green rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina has served both as a catalyst and has assisted directly in rebuilding schools and homes to be green.

As TIME Magazine stated in an article last year, “No organization is doing more to green New Orleans than Global Green USA…”. This has included our Holy Cross Project as well as providing technical expertise and financial assistance to the New Orleans schools, housing groups, and even city and state agencies, leveraging the $10 million we have raised and deployed to date to impact hundreds of millions in reconstruction.

Now, we plan to take several of the lessons we learned in New Orleans as the international community sets out to rebuild Haiti. Our goal is help create a more sustainable Haiti, with energy efficient, healthy, disaster resistant buildings that makes the nation more resilient to future electricity shortages, public health crises, and disasters.

There is much more than needs to be done — including reforestation — to help Haiti to recover, but we will provide our assistance, experience and resources to create better schools and homes, as well as infrastructure.

There are many critical, important organizations working on the immediate emergency relief efforts that continue to need everyone’s support. As we work on the rebuilding of Haiti with other organizations, we will also help supplement aid efforts — helping to provide solar flashlights and other ‘sustainable’ aid for lighting and water purification that can assist in the long recovery from this humanitarian crisis.  

Source: and
Strong Green Reconstruction for Haiti 

By Alyssa Danigelis for Discovery News (19 January 2010):

The overwhelming destruction in Haiti reminds one engineer of the shoddy buildings that collapsed during the massive 2008 quake in Sichuan, China. For him, it’s not too early to think about sustainable reconstruction.

Civil and environmental professor Yan Xiao at the University of Southern California is known for creating GluBam, a pressed composite made from bamboo that’s incredibly strong and costs less than imported lumber. I had written about his demonstration bamboo houses before and sought his thoughts on Haiti.

“From the pictures, it seems they use quite a lot of masonry buildings and concrete with little reinforcement, these are all known killers in [an] earthquake,” Xiao responded. “I am now contacting various organizations to see if we can get some supports to manufacture and send some bamboo shelters to the country.” He indicated that he isn’t sure how much bamboo is available there yet.

There are a few bamboo crops. Last summer, USAID described a project that brought two hundred bamboo plants in 12 varieties from Hawaii to Haiti The plants did better in Haiti than in Hawaii: within four months, more than 40,000 plants had flourished from the original ones. Since the crops were spread around the country, I imagine that some survived.

Realistically, the rebuilding effort could take at least 10 years, Stanford environmental engineering professor and earthquake expert Anne Kiremidjian recently told CNN. She pointed to the need for a seismic building code, training in design and construction practices, and reinforced joints between beams and columns.

Reconfigured shipping containers might be a short-term solution. Clemson University researchers have been working on a method to convert them into emergency housing that’s both sturdy and stable. On Sunday, Doctors Without Borders reported that one of their medical teams performed operations in a converted shipping container. (Their giant inflatable hospital arrived in Port-au-Prince over the weekend after being delayed by congestion at Haiti’s beleaguered airport.)

Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity laid out a detailed, public, and collaborative reconstruction plan for Haiti on Sunday. In it he writes, “[W]e are not just building a roof over someone’s head–we are building equity.”


Are We Losing the Fight Against the Sceptics?

Posted by admin on January 27, 2010
Posted under Express 93

Are We Losing the Fight Against the Sceptics?

A leading Australian climate change scientist says experts are losing the fight against sceptics, who are distorting the science of global warming. Professor Andy Pitman, co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and a lead author on the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 reports, stands by the overall conclusions.  If scientists lose the climate change debate, it would be “potentially catastrophic”.

 ABC News (25 January 2010):

Are we Losing the Fight Against the sceptics?

A leading Australian climate change scientist says experts are losing the fight against sceptics, who are distorting the science of global warming.

His comments come as a prominent British climate change sceptic tours the country.

Lord Christopher Monckton has arrived in Australia for a series of lectures and is calling for a royal commission into the science around global warming.

The former journalist and political adviser to Margaret Thatcher says the production of carbon dioxide is not a major problem.

He has attacked the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after it revised a key finding in its 2007 report which wrongly claimed the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.

But one of the lead authors of the report, Australian Professor Andy Pitman, has defended the overall conclusions of the report.

Professor Pitman was a lead author on the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 reports. He is also the co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

Professor Pitman says sceptics have used the IPCC’s error to skew the climate change debate.

“Climate scientists are losing the fight with the sceptics,” he said.

“The sceptics are so well funded, so well organised.

“They have nothing else to do. They don’t have day jobs so they can put all their efforts into misinforming and miscommunicating climate science to the general public, whereas the climate scientists have day jobs and [managing publicity] actually isn’t one of them.

“All of the efforts you do in an IPCC report is done out of hours, voluntarily, for no funding and no pay, whereas the sceptics are being funded to put out full-scale misinformation campaigns and are doing a damn good job, I think.

“They are doing a superb job at misinforming and miscommunicating the general public, state and federal governments.”

And he says if scientists lose the climate change debate, it would be “potentially catastrophic”.

“If this was academic debate over some trivial issue [it wouldn't matter],” he said.

“But this isn’t. This is absolutely a fundamental problem for the Earth that we desperately needed full-scale international action on a decade ago.

“We are now 10 years too late to stop some of the major impacts that we will see and have seen as a consequence of global warming. It is not a future problem, it is a problem here today, around us.”

Professor Pitman has accused sceptics of failing to base their arguments on the facts.

“Most of the climate sceptics, particularly those that are wandering around publicly at the moment, don’t base their arguments on science,” he said.

“They have probably never read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report; they aren’t writing papers in peer-reviewed literature.

“They don’t update their arguments when their arguments are shown to be false, so they’ll have no problem at all using this ammunition inappropriately and out of context to further their aims in exactly the same way as people did when they were trying to disprove the relationship between smoking and human health.”

Defending the IPCC

Professor Pitman has also played down the significance of the error in the IPCC’s report.

“There are two paragraphs that have been questioned in a 1600-page document,” he said.

“After two years, people have been going over that report with considerable care and have found a couple of errors of fact in a 1600-page document.

“I mean, we ought to be talking about the other 1599 pages that no one has found any problems with.”

Professor Pitman says he has no concerns about the IPCC’s reviewing process.

“We should be very clear on what the IPCC does. It writes a report that is fully open to external review. [Anybody] can each read over individual sections of the report and send in credible comments,” he said.

“So each government tries to pour over each of the statements to find fault with them and at the end of that process, future drafts are produced, again with opportunities for external examination and feedback.

“And you end up with a final report, which in this case some people have found one or two errors with after two years.

“I reckon that is a standard that most organisations would absolutely celebrate.”


In the end……..2010 Readership Survey

Posted by admin on January 27, 2010
Posted under Express 93

In the end……..2010 Readership Survey

Special thanks to all who responded to the first Readership Survey and my appreciation to Graeme Philipson of Connection Research for initiating and managing this for ABC Carbon, covering both the weekly newsletter abc carbon express and the book The ABC of Carbon. As the “one man band” responsible for the business, the newsletter and the book, I can assure all respondents (and all readers) that I will take particular note of the survey findings and take on board any criticism, comments and views expressed.

Here is a snapshot of the survey, as well as many of the comments received to the open ended questions. If you would like to see all the complete survey report including graphs, please send an email request. If you would like Connection Research to do some research for you, see contact details at the end of the article.

By far the majority of the survey respondents (60.7%) are from Queensland.  From NSW there were 21.3% respondents, Victoria 14.8% and 3.3% from ACT (Canberra). From outside Australia, 8.3% of the respondents resided, covering  India, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Around half the respondents (52.5%) are consultants or advisors, and one quarter (25.4%) in the business and/or professional. Some work for government (6.8%), and the relatively small response from the ACT suggests some of these represent federal government. Those working for NGOs/Associations add up to 8.5%, with academic/scientists amounting to 6.8%.

Most respondents (35%) spend more than 5 minutes reading abc carbon express, but one quarter (26.7%) spend more than 10 minutes. Given the length of the publication, this indicates that most people skim it, looking for items of interest.

Around half of respondents forward it on to other people, with 15% forwarding to one person; 23.3% forwarding to 2 or 3; 3.3% to 4 to 7 people; and 3.3% to 8 or more people.

abc carbon express is rated “very good” and/or “good” by the great majority of respondents in all the surveyed areas, which were :  useful for my work (79.3%), well-written (89.8%), comprehensive (79.6%), newsworthy/topical (93.1%), and easy to navigate (73.2%).

Generally speaking, respondents are happy with the type of content. They would like to see more on the practical applications of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and on green business innovations in Australia. The only category where respondents (3.4%) wanted to see “much less” was Government announcements and actions here and overseas.

The most favoured category appears to be “company profiles”,  where the largest majority in this section (58.9%) felt it was about right, whereas 30.3% wanted a bit more and/or much more, by way of company profiles.

When asked their ideas on how abc carbon express could be more useful (an open-ended question), a number of views were expressed. A few people suggested that it is too long:

  • Shorter – there’s too much in it.
  • Look at forming think tanks where more discussion and on-hands involvement with new innovations.
  • Panel to view submissions and guide through obstacles and costs share benefits when commercialised.
  • I would like more of a discussion about the way the science is moving in this area. So many people don’t understand the scientific method and they think this is the way to criticise or even deny climate change – it would be terrific to have a source to deal with the sceptics!
  • Offering more practical measures one can make in their own life to reduce their emissions, with data on where one can make the biggest reductions, as the information comes to hand.
  • Expand!
  • Be Ken’s Vision based on his passion – try to be anything else and it will lose core vision. Just a thought!
  • It is too long. Great stuff, but people don’t have time to read it all. Cut it in half.
  • As I am a sceptic in regards to carbon trading, I believe the govt is playing games with the public, if they were interested in stopping pollution, I would be a stronger supporter.
  • It covers the territory for its type – news, information and informed comment.
  • Can’t suggest anything.
  • Offer a job service for people like me wishing to go back to the energy/carbon industry.
  • Actionable information to answer the How To of actions.
  • Can’t think of any.
  • Focus on initiatives that bring new ideas/products to public attention.
  • You do a great job.
  • Highlight those organisations really making a difference for sustainability, not just carbon.
  • More script rather than links.
  • Not much more than what you are doing.
  • As a “consultant” in the industry, it would be helpful to be able get more ideas/applications pertaining to new green technologies.
  • More links within the actual stories.
  • Case studies are always interesting.
  • It is very readable as is.
  • It is fine the way it is.
  • Not sure.
  • Perhaps take a more hard line on sceptics and the imbalance on spending in favour of unproven CCS over renewables.
  • Links to more information to be more reliable and readable (font wise).
  • Not sure as we’re relatively new subscribers.
  • Practical biochar applications.
  • A bit more grass roots level, on the land issues.
  • Not sure how, given the target audience, but is there some way of promoting the Qld Community Climate Network and the idea of joining a local climate action group or advocacy group like Sustainable Population Australia or Qld Conservation? Is there some way of highlighting small local events/initiatives in addition to large expos and things? There’s a lot going on though. Wish that would more actively promote green events. I’ve written to the Lord Mayor about it to no avail. Maybe Citysmart will help. Some local politicians and print journalists can be helpful getting the word out.
  • Inventions that if implemented could make us more efficient.
  • Give me tips on how to create lesson plans and teaching tools that I can use in the classroom to educate about environmental issues.
  • Permanent feature to Identify/report/update real sustainable/eco/green trends in various industries. We often here of green innovations per industry but never seem to hear how they are being taken up or whether they wither on the vine.
  • Nil.
  • Information regarding environmental impact of Geological effects on climate change. i.e. volcano eruptions, cyclones, earthquakes.
  • A bit shorter?
  • A facility to search past issues of abc carbon express.
  • Maybe group archived articles and make them available as a library.
  • Keep displaying your passion for the subject matter. It is reflected well in the content and editor’s notes.
  • It’s fine. I find items of interest each time I receive it.


There is no strong preference for when people would rather receive the weekly newsletter – in fact 51.7% don’t care which day of the week it arrives. But a slight preference showed through for Friday out of all the days of the week specified, with the least favoured being Saturday.

The question was asked, if abc carbon express were to become a subscription only publication, what is the maximum you would be prepared to pay for it.  Some people would pay a little to receive it – 34% were prepared to cough up $25 a year, 11.3% $50 a year, and a “generous” 7.5% thought it was  worth $100 a year . But nearly half the respondents (47.2%) would not be prepared to pay anything.

A total of 39.6% of respondents have a copy of the book, while few more of respondents (44.8%) don’t have a copy of “The ABC of Carbon”, even though they have seen it or heard of it. By far the majority of respondents – 79.2% – would recommend the book, while 18.8% would buy it for someone else.

The ABC of Carbon, like abc carbon express, is rated very highly by its readers, with no-one rating it “bad” or “very bad” in any area. Respondents who rated it good and/or very good for its “usefulness” for their work added up to 74.3%; well-written 83.4%; comprehensive 75%; newsworthy/topical 68.6% and easy to navigate 77.1%.

Around half would find an eBook version useful, but as many would need to see it first before they could form an opinion. Those who said “Yes an ebook would have some use” – 28.8% – while 21.2% would said an ebook would be “very useful”.

There are some opinions on how the book “The ABC of Carbon” could be improved (open-ended question), but no common theme:

  • More illustrations, maps, graphs.
  • Create databases.
  • Include more of a discussion on the science in the area.
  • Updated examples.
  • A supportive website.
  • More comprehensive – missing stuff on Green IT.
  • As the world is changing every day, and we don’t have a crystal ball, I believe the time and effort you put into your publication is outdated by the time it gets on the bookshop shelves.
  • Electronic version so updates could be done.
  • Include diagrams to explain some definition. The Carbon Cycle is one that can be visualised. Also, including some conversion information. That is, the CO2e equivalents of the Kyoto Protocol gases.
  • More focus on BIO CCS.
  • Better binding; mine is falling apart.
  • More critical analysis, less public relations info.
  • Layout and colours.
  • A little more edgy.  Ken it is OK to take a harder line and even upset some people.
  • Biochar special section.
  • Topics of interest to me would include population (total not just emissions per capita) as part of the carbon equation. Other topics of interest include carbon rationing, trains, Transition Towns, relocalisation, permafrost/tundra (more than page 479), New Hope Coal (they’re diversifying into wind), energy it takes to pump water to cities from dams, schools/kids (they can and do a lot), biochar.
  • Demographics and measurements.
  • Improved navigation and linkage of common elements.


The ABC Carbon Readership Survey 2010 was conducted by Connection Research, an Australian market research and consultancy company specialising in analysis of sustainability issues. Services are provided in four interrelated areas:

  • Consumer and Community Sustainability: Usage of and attitudes towards energy and water at the domestic and community levels.
  • Green ICT: Reducing the energy consumption of the information and communications functions, and the usage of ICT to reduce the carbon impact of organisations.
  • Building Industry and Trades: Sustainable and green building products, attitudes and actions of building tradespeople, home automation and digital technology in the home.
  • Carbon and Compliance: The green collar workforce, carbon measurement and monitoring, carbon footprint abatement practices.


Connection Research undertakes primary research (surveys of users, trades people, suppliers, practitioners), conducts market modelling analyses (combining our primary data with other sources) and consultancy in these fields.

For more information, see, or phone +61 2 9467 9800 and speak to Graeme Philipson.

Ken Hickson

Director, ABC Carbon

Author, The ABC of Carbon

Editor, abc carbon express

Profile: Angus Forbes

Posted by admin on January 21, 2010
Posted under Express 92

Profile: Angus Forbes

When Angus Forbes saw the “green light” in 2007, he gave up his high powered London job to work for Prince Charles’ rainforest project, then decided to set up a green global equity fund in Australia to invest only in companies  which are dedicated to environmental principles and with a sustainable management commitment.

Last weekend Angus Forbes appeared on Sky Business Eco Report. This week saw him in Brisbane giving a lecture at the Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, Griffith University.

Ken Hickson caught up with him to get a measure of the man on a mission.

Angus Forbes has turned green and he wants to encourage all business to do likewise.

As he said in an interview with the UK Sunday Times last month:

“Businesses that have a champion are what we are looking for — someone at the top who is passionate about the cause and is infecting the entire organisation with his passion. We want to invest in people who are thumping their desks trying to get their company to the top of the field on this issue.”

Green wasn’t always the colour of the money or the companies Angus was prepared to invest in.

Angus spent 20 years in London working with James Capel, Merrill Lynch and GLG Partners. At Merrill Lynch he led Scottish Institutional sales and then Hedge fund sales. Angus ran European research at GLG Partners before managing the Global Consumer fund 2003-07.

In early 2007, Angus launched the GLG Environment Fund and established the sustainability framework that has become the central approach of Natural Capital’s funds today.

In 2007, Angus was the inaugural Project Director of the Prince of Wales’ Rainforest Project at Clarence house in London. Angus was also Chairman of Burgopak, a packaging firm based in London, from 2002-07.

To get a good inside look at what Angus Forbes and his company Natural Capital is up to, we reprint here the full story by Kate Walsh in UK Sunday Times (13 December 2009):

IN his sharp suit, Angus Forbes looks every inch the archetypal hedge-fund manager, yet he is probably the closest the sector will get to a tree-hugger. The clue is in his green tie and cufflinks.

Forbes is co-founder of Natural Capital Funds Management, which invests in sustainable companies. The Australian-born 44-year-old has worked in the City for 20 years. He was at GLG, the hedge fund, until mid-2007 and at Merrill Lynch, the investment bank, before that. Married since 1997 to Darcey Bussell, the ballet dancer, Forbes led a charmed life, but in 2007 something changed.

“I started to get interested in the environment. It happened in the stereotypical way. I watched An Inconvenient Truth [the film by Al Gore], then I read Capitalism: As if the World Matters, by Jonathon Porritt, and works by the environmentalist James Lovelock and the activist George Monbiot. You don’t want to read these books after seven o’clock at night because you don’t sleep. I was having palpitations. I just couldn’t justify what I was doing any more.”

Forbes resigned from GLG in late June 2007, just three weeks after Bussell’s final performance at Covent Garden. As the prima ballerina danced to Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth in that final show, Forbes contemplated what he would do next.

His first port of call was Prince Charles’s Rainforest Project. A job there lasted for five months before he and Bussell and their two young children moved to Australia, where they settled in Sydney.

Six months later Marcus Burns, a former colleague who co-managed the global consumer fund with Forbes at GLG, also returned to his native Australia.

The pair started to discuss their next step and launched Natural Capital Funds Management with $10m of their own and friends’ money in August. They are still raising capital from family offices, wealth managers and small investment institutions.

“The foundation point of the fund is that we have gone from having a single fiduciary duty to a dual one. We want to make money for investors and act responsibly towards the environment,” said Forbes.

He acknowledged that there were plenty of other green funds but few fund-management firms focus exclusively on making sustainable investments.

Natural Capital has bought stakes in 25 companies, including Mastercard, China Shineway, a herbal medicine business, and Intertek, a London-listed product-testing company. Forbes and Burns liked Mastercard because it is at the forefront of the movement from cash to e-payment, which means less paper money floating around the world.

All the stocks in their portfolio must meet basic investment criteria. They must be under-valued and generate cashflow.

Before an investment is made, the managers examine a company’s environmental footprint, covering everything from its water and electricity consumption to the efficiency of its computer servers. This weeds out the pretenders.

After that Forbes and Burns are looking for a long-term commitment to creating a sustainable environment.

They do sector-specific tests on the company to ensure it is as green as it claims — a luxury handbag maker, for example, would have to prove that the chemicals used in the tanning process are not polluting the environment round the factory.

The key test, though, falls on management, according to Forbes. “Businesses that have a champion are what we are looking for — someone at the top who is passionate about the cause and is infecting the entire organisation with his passion. We want to invest in people who are thumping their desks trying to get their company to the top of the field on this issue.”

Source: and

“Glaciergate” or snow-job by the media?

Posted by admin on January 21, 2010
Posted under Express 92

“Glaciergate” or snow-job by the media?

Glaciers the world over are shrinking and climate change is seen the primary culprit. That’s clear from hundreds of cases scientifically studied, observed and photographed. But now it is emerging that some “evidence” from the Himalayas has not been as scientifically obtained as first thought. The New Scientist, WWF and the IPCC itself are accused of misleading us all. What’s the full story? We also refer you to “The ABC of Carbon” for glacier melting reports, as well as photographic evidence (including the image shown here) in the book by award-winning photographer Gary Braasch “Earth Under Fire”.

For more information on Gary Braasch, his books and photographs, visit and

His book, which surveys glaciers retreated through the world, is called “Earth Under Fire” and his published by the University of California Press. It is available on

The image shown on the first page of “Express” is a shot by Gary Braasch of Athabasca Glacier in Canada.

Letters to the Editor

An “abridged” version of this appeared in The Australian letters column on 19 January 2010 and its blog. Here’s the original version:

Your front page report questioning “scientific” reports of glaciers melting, failed to acknowledge personal and scientific observations, as well as photographic evidence of what has been happening with glaciers in the Himalayas and elsewhere in the world. In my book “The ABC of Carbon” and in my weekly e-newsletter abc carbon express, I have a number of accounts of severe glacier ice reduction from the Himalayas, European Alps, North America, and even New Zealand. Your reporters should have gone to the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Switzerland – – for its latest report: “Preliminary mass balance values for the observation period 2007/08 have been reported now from more than 90 glaciers worldwide. The average mass balance of the glaciers with available long-term observation series around the world continues to decrease, with tentative figures indicating a further thickness reduction of 0.5 metres water equivalent (m w.e.) during the hydrological year 2007/08. The new data continues the global trend in strong ice loss over the past few decades and brings the cumulative average thickness loss of the reference glaciers since 1980 at about 12 m w.e.”  There is also excellent evidence from photographer Graham Braasch which shows very distinct reduction in glaciers, when compared with photographs taken of the same glaciers years ago. You could also go to the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research – – which has scientifically monitored evidence of glacier melt in Alaska and elsewhere. It deserves a follow up story with more reliable information from the sources I quote and others.

Ken Hickson

Two “encouraging” letters appeared in The Australian on (20 January 2010):

Significant glacial decline is a reality

REPORTS that predictions about the rate of decline in the Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers may be unfounded should be treated with caution. While the claim that all the glaciers may disappear by 2035 now seems speculative (“UN glacier blunder a 300-year mix-up”, 19/1; “Climate science on thin ice”, Features, 19/1), there is substantial peer-reviewed science that points towards significant glacial decline this century and substantial warming across the region.

Warming across the greater Himalayas is two to four times the global average. Recent scientific studies have found that the average temperatures in the Himalayan ranges have been rising at the rate of 0.06C a year over the past three decades and temperatures on the Tibetan Plateau have risen by an average 0.16C per decade in the summer (and 0.32C in winter) over the past 40 years. This was up to three times the temperature increase in other regions of China.

Predictions about the exact timing of major climate impacts are difficult, especially when looking at the dynamics of melting ice. The Arctic sea ice, for example, is declining rapidly, 70 years ahead of the IPCC’s predictions. But given the catastrophic results of the glacial melt for hundreds of millions of people, we should not let a debate about its timing divert us from attempting to prevent it.

Damien Lawson, Fitzroy North, Vic

SO, in their desperation, climate change deniers have leapt on one mistake in a 3000-page IPCC report as definitive proof that the entire report can be discounted. This is roughly akin to a flat earther pointing to a spelling mistake in Galileo’s thesis as definitive proof that the earth does not revolve around the sun.

T. Nankivell, Barton, ACT

Here’s the full page article which appeared in The Australian on 19 January by Cameron Stewart, Associate editor. It followed the front page article of the day before which was entirely lifted from the UK Sunday Times:

THE prediction, if true, was an apocalyptic one. The “rapid melting” of thousands of glaciers across the Himalayas would lead to deadly floods, followed by severe long-term water shortages across the food bowl of central Asia.

The melting glaciers would cause havoc to water supplies feeding Asia’s nine largest rivers, including the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow rivers, affecting hundreds of millions of people.

The result, according to a 2005 report by environmental group WWF, would be “massive eco and environmental problems for people in western China, Nepal and northern India”.

The WWF’s claim the 2400km Himalayan range was experiencing a rapid retreat in its glaciers was supported in stronger terms only two years later by the peak UN body on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In its 2007 report, the IPCC concluded: “Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the earth keeps warming at the current rate.”

It was a sweeping, bold and alarmist prediction by the IPCC, and one that raised eyebrows among many of the small group of experts who study the behaviour of the world’s glaciers.

But the IPCC defended its glacier claims vigorously, with IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri recently describing those who cast doubt upon them as practitioners of “voodoo science”.

Yet today it is the powerful IPCC that stands accused of practising voodoo science in relation to its sweeping claims about the melting of Himalayan glaciers following revelations its apocalyptic predictions were based on little more than “speculation”.

At face value, the disclosures by Britain’s The Sunday Times (reprinted in The Australian yesterday) amount to one of the most serious failings yet seen in climate research.

They will further tarnish the IPCC’s reputation, coming less than two months after the emergence of leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit that raised questions about the legitimacy of some data published by the IPCC about global warming.

As with the leaked email affair, dubbed Climategate, this new controversy of Glaciergate has energised climate change sceptics, who exploded into cyberspace yesterday, relishing the opportunity to accuse the IPCC of sloppy science. It is the same accusation sceptics have been accused of by the IPCC.

But how did such an important body like the IPCC make such a misjudgment? And where does this leave the issue of melting glaciers, which, ever since Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, have been cited as prime evidence of global warming?

The original claim about most Himalayan glaciers vanishing by 2035 – which appeared in the IPCC report – was not based on hard science. It was based on a 1999 interview with little-known Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain who told New Scientist that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear by 2035.

In 2005, the WWF published a report describing the predictions in New Scientist as “disturbing”. In 2007, the IPCC published a report that repeated the warning that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035, citing WWF as its source.

Now Hasnain has admitted his predictions were nothing more than speculation and were not supported by any formal scientific research.

Experts say the claims amount to a gross misrepresentation of what is happening with glaciers in the Himalayas. If the glaciers are in retreat – and this is a matter on which scientists disagree – most experts do not believe they are retreating at anything like the pace suggested by the IPCC.

“The reality that the glaciers are wasting away is bad enough,” says Graham Cogley, a geographer from Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who played a lead role in uncovering the IPCC’s flawed claim.

“But they are not wasting away at the rate suggested by this speculative remark and the IPCC report. The problem is that nobody who studied this material bothered chasing the trail back to the original point when the claim first arose. It is ultimately a trail which leads back to a magazine article, and that is not the sort of thing you want to end up in an IPCC report.”

An Australian glacier expert, Cliff Ollier of the University of Western Australia, accuses the IPCC of being “deliberately alarmist” with its predictions about melting glaciers because he says the organisation has a vested interest in global warming. “Glaciers started to retreat in 1895 when there was no correlation to global warming,” Ollier says. “Now we are seeing a general retreat on glaciers because we are coming out of an ice age, but there is nothing alarming about it. These retreats are not caused only by temperatures.”

The IPCC’s claims about the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas appears to have been flawed on several levels.

First, it did not acknowledge that there has been only limited scientific research on Himalayan glaciers, with very little consistent research available on long term trends of ice-flows.

The remote location and inaccessibility of Himalayan glaciers means they are the least studied or understood glaciers in the world.

“There is no field data to corroborate that the glaciers will disappear in the next 20 to 30 years,” says R. K. Ganjoo, director of Jammu University’s regional centre on Himalayan glaciology.

“The range has thousands of glaciers and we study about 30. And whichever we have studied, we need more detailed data. If we want to study glacier behaviour, we need to monitor for eight to 10 years, but we only manage two years at most.”

The key agency for the study of glaciers, the World Glacier Monitoring Service, believes global warming is causing glaciers to shrink, but it freely admits it is difficult to be precise about the urgency of the threat.

“There is mounting evidence that climate change is triggering a shrinking and thinning of many glaciers worldwide, which may eventually put at risk water supplies for hundreds of millions of people,” the WGMS warned two years ago.

“But data gaps exist in some vulnerable parts of the globe (including central Asia), undermining the ability to provide precise early warning for countries and populations at risk.”

A 2008 report released jointly by the WGMS and the UN Environment Program concluded that the average annual melting rate for glaciers around the world appeared to have doubled after the turn of the millennium, with record losses recorded in 2006.

The majority of climate change scientists agree that Himalayan glaciers appear to be in retreat, but the rate of that retreat – and what is causing it – remains hotly contested. This fact was not acknowledged by the IPCC in its 2007 report.

In November last year, a report released by the Indian government found that – contrary to the IPCC’s claims – many Himalayan glaciers are stable and that the rate of retreat for others has slowed.

Written by a senior glaciologist and avid mountaineer Vijay Raina, the report concluded there was not enough evidence yet to support the claim that Himalayan glaciers are retreating because of global warming.

Raina found little consistency in the behaviour of Himalayan glaciers. Some are retreating, some expanding and others remain stable. If global warming were a factor, why are they not all retreating at the same time, he wants to know.

“A glacier . . . does not necessarily respond to the immediate climatic changes, for if it be so then all glaciers within the same climatic zone should have been advancing or retreating at the same time,” he wrote. The Indian government’s environment ministry endorsed Raina’s conclusions, leading India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to accuse the IPCC of being “alarmist”.

IPCC chairman Pachauri in turn accused the Indian government of “arrogance” for questioning the IPCC’s claims, and dismissed Raiba’s findings as “voodoo science”, stating that the IPCC had “a very clear idea of what is happening” in the Himalayas.

Part of the problem in making accurate judgments about glaciers is history shows they have a tendency to behave in random ways.

Glacier monitoring began in 1894, and the general pattern has been for them to retreat, but they have done so in a non-logical manner.

According to the UN, early measurements indicated strong melting of glaciers during the 1940s and 50s and yet there was only moderate melting of glaciers between 1966 and 1985, when global warming factors would have been stronger.

As a result, some of those scientists who accept that the Himalayan glaciers are now in retreat believe factors other than global warming are driving it.

A 2007 study by the British journal Nature claimed the haze of pollution in southern Asia was as much to blame as greenhouse gases in causing the glaciers of the Himalaya to retreat.

Either way, the revelations this week have opened a heated debate that goes beyond the science of glaciers and to the heart of the credibility of the IPCC.

As Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation told London’s Daily Mail: “The IPCC review process has been shown on numerous occasions to lack transparency and due diligence”.

At a time when governments are baulking at taking tough measures to combat climate change, this new blow to the credibility of the IPCC could not have come at a worse time.


No evidence of climate fraud found in AP’s review of hacked emails

Posted by admin on January 21, 2010
Posted under Express 92

No evidence of climate fraud found in AP’s review of hacked emails

None of the emails flagged by Associated Press and sent to three climate scientists, viewed as moderates in the field, changed their view that global warming is man-made and a threat. Nor did it alter their support of the conclusions of the UN IPCC, which some of the scientists helped write. Remember the emails were obtained in the first place by illegal hacking of computers. No one has been identified or convicted for this crime.

By Seth Borenstein, Raphael Satter and Malcolm Ritter  for Associated Press,  which first appeared in the US and Europe in 12/13 December 2009, but in The Australian (16 January 2010), with the headline:

 “Snippy and personal, yes…but a wholesale climate fraud? Not here

A news team has read 1073 of the so-called Climategate emails and reports its findings

EMAILS stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled sceptics and discussed hiding data, but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.

The 1073 emails examined by AP show that scientists harboured private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message. Sometimes, they sounded more like schoolyard taunts than scientific tenets.

The scientists were so convinced by their own science and so driven by a cause “that unless you’re with them, you’re against them”, said Mark Frankel, director of scientific freedom, responsibility and law at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also reviewed the communications.

Frankel saw “no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data, although concerns could be raised about some instances of very `generous interpretations’.”

Some emails expressed doubts about the quality of individual temperature records or why models and data didn’t quite match. Part of this is the normal give and take of research, but sceptics challenged how reliable certain data was.

The emails were stolen from the computer network server of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia in southeast England, an influential source of climate science, and were posted online late last year. The university shut down the server and contacted the police.

AP studied all the emails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them, about 1 million words in total.

One of the most disturbing elements suggests an effort to avoid sharing scientific data with critics sceptical of global warming. It is not clear if any data was destroyed; two US researchers denied it.

The emails show that several mainstream scientists repeatedly suggested keeping their research materials away from opponents who sought it under US and British public records law. It raises a science ethics question because free access to data is important so others can repeat experiments as part of the scientific method. The University of East Anglia is investigating the blocking of information requests.

“I believe none of us should submit to these `requests’,” declared the university’s Keith Briffa. The centre’s chief, Phil Jones, wrote: “Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them.”

When one sceptic kept filing FOI requests, Jones, who didn’t return AP requests for comment, told another scientist, Michael Mann: “You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but this is the person who is putting FOI requests for all emails Keith (Briffa) and Tim (Osborn) have written.”

Mann, a researcher at Penn

State University, says: “I didn’t delete any emails as Phil asked me to. I don’t believe anybody else did.”

The emails also show how professional attacks turned very personal. When former London financial trader Douglas J. Keenan combed through the data used in a 1990 research paper Jones had co-authored, Keenan claimed to have found evidence of fakery by Jones’s co-author. Keenan threatened to have the FBI arrest University at Albany scientist Wei-Chyung Wang for fraud. (A university investigation later cleared him of any wrongdoing.)

“I do now wish I’d never sent them the data after their FOI request!” Jones wrote in June 2007.

In another case, after initially baulking on releasing data to a sceptic because it was already public, Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientist Ben Santer wrote that he then opted to release everything the sceptic wanted — and more. Santer said in a telephone interview that he and others are inundated by frivolous requests from sceptics that are designed to “tie-up government-funded scientists”.

The emails also showed a stunning disdain for global warming sceptics. One scientist practically celebrates the news of the death of one critic, saying, “In an odd way this is cheering news!” Another bemoans that the only way to deal with sceptics is “continuing to publish quality work in quality journals (or calling in a Mafia hit)”. And a third scientist said the next time he sees a certain sceptic at a meeting, “I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”

Santer, who received death threats after his work on climate change in 1996, says now: “I’m not surprised that things are said in the heat of the moment between professional colleagues. These things are taken out of context.”

When the journal, Climate Research, published a sceptical study, Penn State scientist Mann discussed retribution this way: “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.” That sceptical study turned out to be partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute. The most provocative emails are usually about one aspect of climate science: research from a decade ago that studied how warm or cold it was centuries ago through analysis of tree rings, ice cores and glacial melt. The emails stretch from 1996 to last year and have been a key element in measuring climate change over long periods.

As part of the AP review, summaries of the emails that raised issues from the potential manipulation of data to intensely personal attacks were sent to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy.

“This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds,” says Dan Sarewitz, a science policy professor at Arizona State University. “We talk about science as this pure ideal and the scientific method as if it is something out of a cookbook, but research is a social and human activity full of all the failings of society and humans, and this reality gets totally magnified by the high political stakes here.”

In the three weeks after the emails were posted, longtime opponents of mainstream climate science repeatedly quoted excerpts of about a dozen emails. Republican congressmen and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin called for either independent investigations, a delay in US Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases or outright boycotts of the Copenhagen international climate talks. They alleged a “culture of corruption” existed.

That is not what AP found. There were signs of trying to present the data as convincingly as possible.

One email that sceptics have been citing often since the messages were posted online is from Jones. He says: “I’ve just completed Mike’s (Mann) trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onward) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” Jones was referring to tree ring data that indicated temperatures after the 1950s weren’t as warm as scientists had determined. The “trick” that Jones said he was borrowing from Mann was to add the real temperatures, not what the tree rings showed. And the decline he talked of hiding was not in real temperatures, but in the tree ring data which was misleading, Mann explains.

Sometimes the data didn’t line up as scientists wanted. David Rind told colleagues about inconsistent figures in the work for an international report: “As this continuing exchange has clarified, what’s in Chapter 6 is inconsistent with what is in Chapter 2 (and Chapter 9 is caught in the middle!). Worse yet, we’ve managed to make global warming go away! (Maybe it really is that easy.)”

But in the end, global warming didn’t go away.

None of the emails flagged by AP and sent to three climate scientists viewed as moderates in the field changed their view that global warming is man-made and a threat. Nor did it alter their support of the conclusions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which some of the scientists helped write.

“My overall interpretation of the scientific basis for (man-made) global warming is unaltered by the contents of these emails,” says Gabriel Vecchi, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist.

Gerald North, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, headed a National Academy of Sciences study that looked at — and upheld as valid — Mann’s earlier studies that found the 1990s were the hottest years in centuries.

“In my opinion the meaning is much more innocent than might be perceived by others taken out of context. Much of this is overblown,” North says.

Mann contends he always has been upfront about uncertainties, pointing to the title of his 1999 study: “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties and Limitations.”

One person singled out for criticism in the emails is Steve McIntyre, who maintains Climate Audit, a blog that focuses on statistical issues with scientists’ attempts to recreate the climate of ancient times.

“We find that the authors are overreaching in the conclusions that they’re trying to draw from the data that they have,” he says.

Some emails said McIntyre’s attempts to get original data from scientists are frivolous and meant more for harassment than doing good science. There are allegations that he would distort and misuse data given to him. McIntyre disagrees with how he is portrayed. “Everything that I’ve done in this, I’ve done in good faith,” he says. The sceptics started the name-calling, says Mann, who called McIntyre a “bozo”, a “fraud” and a “moron” in various emails. “We’re human,” Mann says. “We’ve been under attack unfairly by these people who have been attempting to dismiss us as frauds.”


Emissions decline as less coal burnt, but renewables struggle

Posted by admin on January 21, 2010
Posted under Express 92

Emissions decline as less coal burnt, but renewables struggle

Greenhouse gas emissions from energy production declined across eastern Australia last year because less coal was burnt, and NSW cut back more than the other states, while some of Australia’s big green energy players have called on the Federal Government to remove solar hot water heaters from a scheme that entices investment in renewable power.

Clancy Yeates in Business Day (18 January 2010):

SOME of Australia’s big green energy players have called on the Federal Government to remove solar hot water heaters from a scheme that entices investment in renewable power.

After last month’s failure at Copenhagen to secure a binding global accord on cutting carbon, the companies have taken aim at Australia’s renewable energy target (RET).

The target requires 20 per cent of Australia’s power to be renewable by 2020. But the scheme came under fire after a $1600 solar hot water subsidy flooded the market with renewable energy certificates from domestic water heaters, causing the certificates’ value almost to halve.

In a submission to a Council of Australian Governments inquiry, companies including AGL, Pacific Hydro and wind turbine makers Vestas and Suzlon call for hot water heaters to be removed from the scheme.

Industry estimates put the total value of RET-driven investment at up to $30 billion. The group called for state-based energy efficiency schemes to be joined in a single national scheme.


Ben Cubby In Sydney Morning Herald (18 January 2010):

Greenhouse gas emissions from energy production declined across eastern Australia last year because less coal was burnt, and NSW cut back more than the other states, research has shown.

The result reflects the first tangible hints of a switch to natural gas and away from coal as a source of baseload power. Wind and solar energy made little impact on the energy grid last year, and still contribute just a sliver of the state’s power mix.

Despite a rising population and economic growth, the state’s emissions dropped 3.1 per cent compared with 2008. But they are still 24 per cent above greenhouse levels in 1990, the baseline year used to calculate carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

Altogether, carbon emissions from energy production decreased 1.8 per cent across the eastern states from their 2008 level, sparing 5.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to the annual report of The Climate Group, which monitors weekly changes in power production.

“Any decrease in emissions is good news and 5.3 million tonnes is a substantial saving,” said the Australian director of The Climate Group, Rupert Posner. ”If we were to continue to cut by this much each year, emissions from energy would be almost 20 per cent lower by 2020.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t the whole story as low rates of growth have helped keep emissions down. As the economy returns to more robust levels of growth, continued reductions will be much harder to achieve unless we start to change the way we produce and use energy in a much more meaningful way.”

Economic growth in NSW slowed to 0.2 per cent last year because of the global economic crisis, but it is expected to grow faster this year.

The drop in emissions is mainly due to less surplus energy being produced by coal-fired plants and, in NSW, the commissioning of three small gas-powered plants at Colongra on the Central Coast, Uranquity near Wagga Wagga and Tallawarra in the Illawarra.

Gas is a fossil fuel that releases greenhouse gases, but emissions from gas are generally only 40 per cent of those from coal.

The NSW carbon cuts were boosted slightly because the state imported more energy which, in turn, spread some of its emissions among Queensland energy generators.

Petrol emissions from transport and generators, which include the figures for LPG, automotive fuels, aviation fuel, industrial diesel and fuel oil, dropped 0.2 per cent compared with the previous year.

As last year was the second-warmest on record in Australia, there was increased demand for air-conditioning in the summer, but this was offset by lower demand for electricity during a relatively warm winter.

The data means NSW is still pumping out between 1.8 and 2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas a week from energy production. The peak is in February.

“As the country with the highest per capita emissions in the world, we need to be doing much more to reduce our carbon footprint,” Mr Posner said.


Japan Technology beams down for Masdar’s solar sustainable city

Posted by admin on January 21, 2010
Posted under Express 92

Japan Technology beams down for Masdar’s solar sustainable city

Masdar has once again shown its commitment to establishing Abu Dhabi as a global renewable energy hub, consistently raising the bar in terms of our investment in new technologies that serve to create a better tomorrow for us all, says CEO Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, with the announcement of an  advanced concentrated solar power (CSP) central tower research and development project for the new Middle East sustainable city.

Masdar begins research and development phase for new solar tower ‘beam down’ facility.

From the United Arab Emirates (14 January 2010):

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted renewable energy initiative, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Japan’s Cosmo Oil Company and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have launched an advanced concentrated solar power (CSP) central tower research and development project at Masdar City.

That’s not all that is happening in the United Arab Emirates with the Masdar project:

The Masdar Institute, Boeing, Etihad Airways and Honeywell to establish the UAE’s first sustainable Bioenergy research project

South Korea and Masdar sign a MoU to collaborate on renewable energy research and development and joint projects

Abu Dhabi emerging as hub for renewable energy and climate change

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology launches Young Future Energy Leaders at World Future Energy Summit 2010

London Array signs contracts worth almost €2bn for work on world’s largest offshore wind farm

Neutral Group becomes first carbon abatement consultancy licensed to operate from Masdar City

The state-of-the-art, collaborative research project will test an innovative ‘beam down’ technology, which has the potential to convert solar irradiation into electricity in a more efficient way than other technologies – producing a commercially viable ‘beam down’ process would represent a significant breakthrough in (CSP) technology.

The ‘beam down’ process inverts conventional tower solar tower technologies, which uses mirrors (heliostats) to direct the sun’s rays onto a receiver at the top of a central tower to heat a heat transfer fluid (molten salt, oil, or water) in order to generate steam, which is then used to drive a steam turbine.

By placing the receiver at the base of the tower (ground level), the research team believes that they can reduce energy losses resulting from pumping the fluid to an elevated receiver, raising operational efficiency and lowering electricity generation costs.

Talking on the importance of the project and the development of solar power technologies, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Chief Executive of Masdar, said:

“Solar thermal technology is a key research area for Masdar, and we are committed to working together with our partners to advance these technologies even further. Our strategic partnership with Cosmo Oil and the Tokyo Institute of Technology enables us to explore innovative procedures or the improvement and efficiency of solar thermal energy production. The initial project findings have been very positive and if the results continue to be successful, ‘beam down’ technology has the potential to revolutionise the way in which all solar towers are built in the future.”

“Masdar has once again shown its commitment to establishing Abu Dhabi as a global renewable energy hub, consistently raising the bar in terms of our investment in new technologies that serve to create a better tomorrow for us all,” he concluded.

The research agreement between Masdar, Cosmo Oil and the Tokyo Institute of Technology is the most recent component of an ongoing effort by the UAE to position itself as a global leader in the area of renewable energy technologies, which began with the establishment of the Masdar Initiative in 2006.

Earlier last year, the leadership of Abu Dhabi committed itself to a 7% renewable energy target by the year 2020 and Abu Dhabi was selected to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Masdar City.

For his part Hiroyuki WADA General Manager, Future Energy Division, International Ventures Dept. Cosmo Oil Co., Ltd. said, “We are proud to be working with Masdar and the Tokyo Institute of Technology on such a progressive project. The realities of global climate change has highlighted the importance for financially viable alternative sources of energy and the development of ‘beam down’ technology has the potential to be revolutionise the CSP sector.”