Archive for the ‘Express 80’ Category

24 October – Day of Climate Action

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

 24 October – Day of Climate Action

More than 160 events – from a concert on the Sydney Opera House steps and divers on the Great Barrier Reef – are planned as part of Australia’s participation in the International Day of Climate Action on 24 October. “The ABC of Carbon” shares the stage with “The Age of Stupid”.

160 Australian events planned in all states and territories for International Day of Climate Action


More than 160 events – from a concert on the Sydney Opera House steps and divers on the Great Barrier Reef to a mass bike ride in Melbourne and 350 Frisbees being tossed simultaneously in Brisbane – are planned as part of Australia’s participation in the International Day of Climate Action on 24 October.


Australia’s will join thousands of people and organizations in more than 150 countries aimed at

providing a public voice in the call for strong climate action at the next crucial United Nations

meeting in December in Copenhagen.


With the majority of expert scientists now calling for a reduction emissions from our current 385 parts per million (ppm) to 350 ppm, is calling for our political leaders to agree on a target of 350 ppm of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.


By virtue of our time zone, the keystone Australian event at the Sydney Opera House will kick

off the global movement, followed by over 1,800 events around the world.


“Australian’s have really taken up the call with more than 155 events in the works in

communities across the country,” said CEO Blair Palese. “We are working with a wide

range of local, environmental, student and business groups who want to add their voices to the

call for a move to 350 ppm as we head toward Copenhagen.”


Some of the events taking place on 24 October around Australia include:


• Sydney ‐ Human spelling out of on the steps of the Sydney Opera House with expert speakers – ABC’s Robyn Williams and climate scientist Ann Henderson‐Sellers – music by Felix Riebl of the Cat Empire, The Beautiful Girls and the choir Café at the Gates of Salvation, 2PM.


• Sydney Harbour: 350‐masted tall ship will cruise after the Opera House Event, 3PM


• The bells of St Mary’s Cathedral will toll 350 times on the day to call for 350.


• Clovelly Beach: Lantern Walk spelling out 350 with lanterns on the beach, 7PM

• Newtown: Ice Sculpture at The Hub plus community climate festival – NOON

• Melbourne ‐ Critical Mass Bike ride of hundreds of cyclists through Melbourne

followed by huge human 350 sign in a local park, 10AM


• Brisbane ‐ 350 Frisbees flying in the air simultaneously with participation of University of

Queensland and Queensland Frisbee Association


• At Indooroopilly (Brisbane) from 2pm, author Ken Hickson give a talk about “The ABC of Carbon”, followed by a showing of ‘The Age of Stupid’ (1.5 hrs).


• Caloundra ‐ Kite flying event on the beaches of Caloundra with a huge variety of at least

350 kites


• Wagga Wagga ‐ 350 wind turbine display and other creative actions being coordinated

by local Wagga Climate Action groups


• Canberra – Comedian Rod Quantock to perform his comedic skit about climate change

on the steps of Parliament House


• Styx rainforest, TAS ‐ 350 banner in the rainforest to highlight the value of forests as

carbon sinks worth protecting


• Hundreds of others around the country. is an international climate change campaign calling for a strong global climate change

treaty. According to leading scientists, 350 ppm is the safe upper limit for greenhouse gases in

our atmosphere in order to avoid runaway climate change.


Source: and

Debut for Electric Vehicles

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80


Philippe Reboul, a management consultant and president of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce in Queensland, is organising Australia’s first ever Conference on Electric Vehicles (in Brisbane 11 November), while images have appeared on the internet of a new baby brother to Audi’s R8 supercar – and it’s electric.

Electric Vehicles Conference 2009

Philippe Reboul, a management consultant and president of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce in Queensland, is organising Australia’s first ever Conference on Electric Vehicles (in Brisbane 11 November).

The Conference will focus on Vehicles, Infrastructure, Utilities, Policies


Novotel Hotel, Brisbane

11 November 2009

• What is the status of the EV industry today and what vehicles are/will soon be on the market?

• What practical experience do we have?

• Is the local grid prepared for the extra load required from EV’s?

• What infrastructures and policies do we need?

• What will be the operating cost of an EV vs. current ICE vehicles?

• How far are we from V2G?

9:00am-11:00pm: EV industry, technology and manufacturers

Small or large, local or international, manufacturers are gearing up to market their EV’s. This session will set the scene by reviewing current EV development worldwide and several makers and technology providers will present their solutions, allowing the audience to assess performance and understand both cost and technology challenges.

11:00pm-12:30pm: Fleet Owners and Infrastructure

City Councils can play the dual role of fleet and infrastructure owners/operators through their parkings, streets, vehicle depots etc.. Although more and more cities are gaining experience with EV, moving to a large fleet of EV may be challenging. The speed of adoption of EV by the public is another unknown and will greatly influence infrastructure investment while some may expect incentives toward the use of EV to reduce urban pollution. This session will look at infrastructure needs and experience with EV’s around the country.

1:15pm-4:00pm: Utilities and policies

Even with sufficient charging points or battery swap stations, a key factor remains the capacity of the electricity network to deliver the required power at a given time with the costly risk of additional overloading at peak demand time. This session will present the viewpoints of Utilities and also attempt to discuss the policies that may be needed to support the arrival of EV’s.



By Richard Blackburn in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Audi will build a production version of its e-tron electric supercar concept.

Web reports suggest the zero-emission sports car, to be called the R4, could hit the road as early as 2011.

And a report on UK website Auto Express says the R4, a smaller version of the R8 supercar, will also have petrol-powered versions.

It says the new car could share a platform with the next-generation Porsche Boxster and Cayman, given that Porsche is now part of the Volkswagen Group, which also owns Audi.

The R4 will slot in just above the TT coupe in the Audi range, and will most likely share some petrol engines with the TT.

Audi’s US boss Johan de Nysschen told US industry journal, Automotive News, that “running examples” of the R4 would be on the road in the next two years.

The low-slung, lightweight e-tron concept, unveiled at last month’s Frankfurt motor show, had electric motors at all four wheels and could sprint from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

Its lithium-ion battery pack, which was positioned where the engine would go on petrol versions, could be recharged from a domestic power point in about eight hours and had a range of about 250km.

Audi is developing a rapid-charging option that can recharge the battery in about two-and-a-half hours.

It’s also working on a home-based wireless charging system where the car starts re-charging as soon as it is driven into the garage.

The concept car’s top speed was limited to 200km/h, but the production version is tipped to have a slightly higher top speed.

Photos posted on Auto Express show a canvas-roofed “Targa” version of the R4, although a convertible is also believed to be on the cards.

Audi will use a lightweight aluminium frame and carbon fibre components to keep the car’s weight down, while it will also have regenerative brakes, which capture kinetic energy usually lost when a car slows down.

The e-tron has a similar weight distribution to the R8 on which it is based, with weight split 42:58 front to rear.

By default, 70 per cent of the e-tron’s drive goes to the rear wheels, while 30 per cent is applied to the rear wheels.

But in keeping with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel-drive heritage, the drive can be sent to the wheels with the most grip to improve traction.

And the car takes advantage of the electric motor at each wheel to enhance handling.

The on-board computer can deliver microsecond-long bursts of either power or braking force to individual wheels to eliminate understeer.

No pricing information is available on the R4, but with the most expensive TT costing about $100,000 and the cheapest R8 going for $260,000, there’s plenty of room for the R4.

The R4 isn’t the only electric German supercar on the drawing board.

Mercedes has an electric version of its new SLS AMG “Gullwing” in the pipeline, while Porsche has committed to hybrid and electric versions of its sports cars.


Soros Comes Clean to Shell Out One Billion

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
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Soros Comes Clean to Shell Out One Billion

Billionaire George Soros’ is getting in on the climate saving act, with plans to invest US$1 billion in clean energy technology and another US$100 million to fund the newly-created Climate Policy Initiative, while Royal Dutch Shell Chairman Jorma Ollila is urging the US Senate to make clear progress on legislation capping greenhouse gas emissions before international climate change negotiations in December.

Mark Scott in Business Week (12 October 2009):

The upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen are less than two months away, and everyone is looking to throw in his/her two cents. On October 10, it was billionaire George Soros’ turn to get in on the act.

Giving a speech in Denmark, the man who famously ‘broke the Bank of England’ in the early 1990s now plans to invest $1 billion in clean energy technology. Another $100 million — doled out in $10 million increments annually over ten years — will fund the newly-created Climate Policy Initiative, a foundation targeted at environmental policy.

That’s a sizeable amount of cash, though Soros didn’t specify where the $1 billion would be spent other than saying ‘stringent conditions’ will be used to evaluate potential investments. And in an ironic twist, Soros, who made a sizeable chunk of his fortune through currency speculation, put his support behind carbon taxes, not cap-and-trade systems. His reason? Financial investors can too easily manipulate carbon markets.

Soros is wise to keep his cards close to his chest. With so much money on the table, potential deals could be given a ‘Soros premium’ if the billionaire focuses on a too-narrow clean energy brief. But some of his likes/dislikes are already known. Soros, for instance, has invested in clean coal technology, including Portsmouth (NH)-based Powerspan Corp that specializes in carbon capture technology.

Yet before we start speculating too much on where Soros will spend his cash, a word of caution is merited.

Other high-profile figures, such as T. Boone Pickens, have made similar promises of multi-million dollar investments. Often, though, their plans have come to nothing. That obviously doesn’t mean Soros won’t go ahead with his $1 billion scheme. But until concrete plans are announced, I’ll reserve judgment. As Rod Tidwell (from Jerry Maguire fame) once said: ‘show me the money.’

Indeed, the more important figure — for me — is $25.9 billion. That’s the amount of moneyinvested in green energy projects in the third quarter of 2009, according to New Energy Finance. After a shaky start to the year, investors are now more willing to fork out for clean energy projects. The gradual thawing of the credit markets certainly has helped. So have government-sponsored funds — like renewable feed-in tariffs or other subsidies for green technologies — that were included in global stimulus packages.

So with investment returning to the sector, maybe Soros has picked a good time to buy in. Other investors will keep a close eye where he puts his money.


From Hearst Newspapers (16 October 2009):

WASHINGTON — Royal Dutch Shell Chairman Jorma Ollila on Thursday urged the U.S. Senate to make clear progress on legislation capping greenhouse gas emissions before international climate change negotiations in December.

Although the House has passed broad legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions, the prospects are murkier in the Senate where Democratic leaders have signaled that the issue may not be debated until next year.

In remarks at the National Press Club, Ollila suggested that Senate inaction could undermine negotiations on a global climate change pact.

“As the world prepares for climate negotiations in Copenhagen, we must see American leadership, backed by its own domestic actions on climate legislation,” Ollila said.

Ollila noted that “the U.S. is an important player” in the negotiations and that world leaders will be closely studying the Obama administration’s approach — as well as that of developing countries such as China and India.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, set to begin Dec. 7 in Copenhagen, will consider plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

The Obama administration had hoped it would have more leverage in the international negotiations with a congressional mandate for greenhouse gas reductions in the U.S.

U.S. businesses generally have said they want to see developing countries agree to similar greenhouse gas emissions cuts as part of any international agreement. Without similar commitments from China and India to impose limits and a price on carbon dioxide emissions, they fear, U.S. companies could be put at a competitive disadvantage.

Ollila said he has been encouraged by “a lot of very positive signals” from the leaders of India and China.

Ollila acknowledged that his comments — and Shell’s support of greenhouse gas emissions cuts — put him at odds with some lobbying by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against climate change legislation.

In recent weeks, several companies, including Exelon and Pacific Gas & Electric, have severed ties or limited their connection with the chamber over the issue. Shell remains in the group, though Ollila noted that there was “a disagreement” over climate change.


Business Eco Warriors, Walkers & Surfers!

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

Business Eco Warriors, Walkers & Surfers!

What’s coming up for business eco warriors, walkers and surfers? Business Eco Forum in Brisbane 28 October, Surfriders debate on “why climate change will be good for surfers” in Tweed Heads 7 November and Walk Against Warming in Brisbane 12 December.

Come one – come all – rally together to share your ideas and promote your sustainable businesses.

Great networking opportunity to meet like minded people and businesses.

Wednesday, 28 October

Baci Lounge, 283 Given Tce, Paddington, Brisbane

5.30 pm Start -

We have lined up three guest speakers who are experts in their own field. People well worth meeting and hearing from:

Philippe Reboul – is a management consultant and president of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce in Qld. He is organsing Australia‚ first ever Conference on Electric Vehicles (in Brisbane 11 November).

David Hood – a Brisbane-based consulting engineer, who is the founder and chairman of the Australian Green Infrastructure Council. He is a well-known supporter of all things green and has been running the Greenhouse Solutions lecture series at QUT.

David Toomey – is the founder of Super Green Me, a social network site for all people and groups who are thinking and acting green. See

All are welcome to attend Business Eco Forum, which is now run in association with the Brisbane Inner West Chamber of Commerce.

‘ECO’ Raffle Prizes to Win !!

$5 cover charge will include Light Snacks + ECO Door Prize Ticket

Please put in your diaries the date for the November Business Eco Forum, which moves to the second Wednesday of the month, 11 November.


The Business Eco Forum has the support of:

Lynne Brown – Brisbane Inner West Chamber of Commerce

Ken Hickson – ABC Carbon

Justin Graham – Huxbury Quinn



Surfriders Promote Change Change Debate

7 November – Surfrider Foundation Climate Change debate, Southern Cross University, Tweed Heads 10am;

The idea behind the title of this debate “Climate change will be good for surfers” was to come at this enormous problem from a completely different angle, and to stretch our grey matter in a humorous but thought provoking way. The public education value of the debate has been highlighted by the results of a recent survey, showing that climate change has slipped from number one concern of the Australian public.

The team for the positive will have their work cut out for them trying to convince us that climate change will be good for surfers. We know that climate change will have overwhelmingly negative impacts, and appreciate the complete mind flip necessary for this task?

Wendy Harmer

Wendy Harmer is one of Australia’s best-known humourists. She has enjoyed a highly successful thirty-year career in journalism, radio, television and stand-up comedy.

She has written for newspapers, been a regular columnist for magazines and is the author of five books for adults, two plays, three one-woman stage shows and a libretto for the Australian Opera. Her bestselling children’s book series “Pearlie in the Park” has been translated into ten languages and is the subject of an animated television series.

Wendy lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband, two young children, and (at last count) fifteen chickens and three ducks.

1st speaker for the negative

Narelle Sutherland, from the Office of Climate Change, Department of Environment & Resource Management

2nd speaker for the negative

Darrell Strauss, Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus

3rd speaker for the negative

Tim Baker, is the author of four best-selling books on surfing, including  ”High Surf” (Harper Collins, 2007).

1st speaker for the positive

Colman Ridge is the organiser of Greenfest, Australia’s leading free and green public festival

2nd speaker for the positive

Liz Cantor, a keen surfer, files weekend beach and surf reports for Television Seven News Brisbane.

3rd speaker for the positive

Ken Hickson, is author of The ABC of Carbon and founder of ABC Carbon, climate change consulting



Important Walk Against Warming Announcement

Walk Against Warming is Australia’s largest day of community action on climate change! This year Greenfest will assist Queensland Conservation Council organize the Walk Against Warming in Brisbane on Saturday 12th December at 10am in the Brisbane CBD.

This year’s walk coincides with a very important day of global action on December 12th, aimed to influence our leaders to agree to a safe climate future at the UN Climate Change Negotiations in Copenhagen.

“350 Leadership For a Safe Climate!” is the call to action for Walk Against Warming and also the new target Al Gore called on leaders to “toughen our goal” towards to avoid catastrophic climate change. This safe climate benchmark of 350 parts per million (CO2) by 2050 (view more information on background to targets at is the call to action target for rallies around the world on Saturday December 12th.

We are in the midst of rallying support for the walk, all expressions of interest from schools and universities to individuals and business are welcome by return email. You may choose to organize a group at work or school, volunteer to organize or sponsor the Walk Against Warming for Brisbane, please just reply to offer assistance.

Mark in your diary “Walk Against Warming 10am Saturday 12th December Brisbane CBD.” The exact details of place, route, ways of participating and exciting support festival around the Walk Against Warming will be confirmed next week.

Make Saturday 12th December your day of action for a safe climate!

Source: and

Careless about Climate Change?

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

Careless about Climate Change?

Is it true that Australians care less about climate change than two years ago? Not according to Ken Hickson. What does he think about the Lowy Institute poll as reported in the media? And what are some people saying about his book “The ABC of Carbon”.

Australians are becoming less concerned about the threat of global warming, pushing environmental issues down the list of threats. That’s if you believe the findings of a poll by the Lowy Insitute and as reported in the nation’s media.

Here’s how News Limited papers reported it:

Climate change is no longer rated the top foreign policy issue for the Federal Government, a Lowy Institute poll will reveal today.

It was top of the list in 2007 but now is ranked seventh out of 10 policy priorities. Out of 12 possible threats, Australians rated global warming the fourth most critical, the survey found.

However a significant majority of Australians, 76 per cent, still saw climate change as a problem.

Read the full report available on the Lowy Institute website.

Source: and

Ken Hickson wrote this letter to The Australian and the Courier Mail, which has not to date been published:


I’m not surprised the Lowy Institute poll shows ‘global warming’ is now viewed as the seventh most important  of 10 foreign policy goals by the Australians surveyed. But let’s see it in perspective. According to the complete survey document, this was only one of many questions asked during telephone interviews with 1003 people between 13 and 25 July 2009.

If you were to ask the many hundreds of national, state and community groups around the country actively campaigning for climate change action, you would get a totally different picture. At the grass roots, I sense there is as much concern and interest in the issue than ever. I have very closely followed this issue over the past two years – so much so that I have written a book on the subject (“The ABC of Carbon: Issues and opportunities in the global climate change environment”) – and I have found increasing interest over this period from business as well as the community at large.

Now there are many hundreds of businesses, who want to become carbon neutral or more ‘sustainable”. Every week, there is at least one conference and/or exhibition on climate change or the low carbon economy somewhere in the nation, involving hundreds of participants. In 2007, there was only one or two national “climate change” events in country.

Businesses and householders are keen to get ready for a low carbon economy. State and Local governments are actively encouraging this. I can only concur with Professor Ross Garnaut – the same man hired by the States and the Federal Government to advise on how to develop a coherent climate change policy – when he described the carbon pollution reduction scheme as “one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia”.  

If the public is seemingly bored or indifferent to global warming/climate change, they are sick and tired of the political bickering and wavering. We can fairly blame the Government – not the Opposition parties – for its mishandling of the debate and the implementation of policies. This issue and this opportunity needs leadership from the top.

It is more than having a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. It is about having a total strategy to deal with climate change, including realistic energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives and investments. As a nation we have become bogged down in arguing about a weakened trading scheme that will fail to deliver a fraction of the emission reductions needed to meet even the lowest international target.  

Ken Hickson

What some important people are saying about “The ABC of Carbon”:

“The ABC of Carbon—in one concise place—opens a window on the world of Climate Change. Demystify in a paragraph or delve deeper via the weblinks. But whatever you do, learn more about this most important issue!”     Greg Bourne, Chief Executive Officer; WWF-Australia

 “The ABC of Carbon is my favourite read … it inspires me to keep going in my efforts to create great leaders in sustainable organisations! Ken has brought together some of the best ideas on reducing carbon and treating the earth more respectfully. It is an amazing book and it really opens your eyes as to the possibilities! If you are keen to save the earth but, like me, sometimes feel like you need inspiration…definitely buy a copy of this book.”  Louise Metcalf, Pax Leader Labs

“The timing of The ABC of Carbon couldn’t be better as the media noise over climate change and carbon pollution is now a virtual constant. There’s little doubt that grave concerns over climate change have resulted in the rapid rise of a new lexicon and Hickson’s book covers the lot, with many businesses at both ends of the issue profiled.   The ABC of Carbon is a reference book that doesn’t just guide you through the basis of life, but the basis of arguably the greatest challenge civilisation has ever faced.”                                                     Graham Readfearn, Green Blog and Courier Mail

“Ken has captured and made accessible a wealth of insights and information on the critical issue for mankind – climate change.  If knowledge is the key to action, then this book is a vital tool in helping everyone know how they can contribute.”  Freddy Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer, Climate Friendly

“Are we living in the Carbon Age? Author Ken Hickson thinks so and sets out in his 580 page book “The ABC of Carbon” why he thinks we should acknowledge the overwhelming role that carbon plays in the world today. But it is not a doomsday scenario that Hickson portrays in his climate change book. He chronicles a comprehensive collection of practical solutions recommended or being carried out by countries, companies and individuals around the world, aimed at significantly reducing damaging greenhouse gas emissions.” Carolen Barripp,

“The ABC of Carbon provides a holistic picture of the state of our climate and a speculative look at the opportunities and risks afforded by what is the greatest global challenge of our lifetime.  I have already introduced our business clients to ABC of Carbon and intend on using the book as an integral means for informing people about what is otherwise a challenging topic.” Mike Duggan, Managing Director, FWR Group Pty. Ltd. 

Ken has delivered a handbook that cuts through the jargon and lofty language of the climate debate and gives everyone the power of knowledge. The ABC of Carbon methodically lays out the challenges and the opportunities for the years ahead.  A must for every citizen, the lonely planet for a carbon reduced future.”   Andrew Bradley, Senior Consultant, Australian Public Affairs 

 This wide-ranging, encyclopaedic approach is not only a great read, but is a fantastic reference tool for everyone to better understand climate change. I welcome Ken Hickson’s insights and enthusiasm for conservation and the environment.  I also agree with Ken’s view that when it comes to climate change research, mitigation and adaptation programs Queensland is the ‘centre of the universe’.   I am positive his ecological fervour will inspire and educate generations of ‘green’ thinkers.”   Hon. Kate Jones MP, Minister for Sustainability & Climate Change, Queensland

 “Carbon and the carbon cycle are the basis of life on Earth. Now human interference with the natural carbon cycle – by burning huge amounts of stored carbon at an unprecedented speed, is perhaps the greatest challenge of our time. In this sense our current era can be called the Age of Carbon – the age when how we manage our use of carbon will define the future of humanity. This is the premise of Ken Hickson’s new book, “the ABC of Carbon”, which features everything from definitions of the new terminology of the Age of Carbon,  biographies of individuals and companies who are leading the change to a low-carbon future,  and descriptions of materials, products and processes  that are, or will be important, in this great transformation.”    Richard Cassels, Director, Climate Leadership

“Ken Hickson has created a carbon primer, giving readers the ability to intelligently understand, and therefore engage in, one of the most crucial dialogues of our time. This compendium is neither dry nor dull: the topics are short, concise, and couched in everyday language.”       Allison Balas, Eco News

“A reference guide to carbon and carbon dioxide, and the consequences of both for the climate and the environment overall.  A fusion of his interest in the environment and his skills as a man of words. Ken Hickson might not be the next Al Gore, but he’s doing his bit to make sure that as many people as possible are aware that every time they start the car or turn on the air-conditioning, it stands to affect the climate and the future of the world.”            Janine Hill, Style Magazine

“The ABC of Carbon is a must have reference for anyone interested in understanding climate change science, technology, politics, and history. This comprehensive guide will be a great resource for business people, politicians, academics, students and others who are generally wanting to learn more about climate change and the new carbon market.”   Grant Axman-Friend, Sustainable Insight

 For where to get your copy of “The ABC of Carbon, visit the website.