Friday, September 07, 2012

Cooling in a warming world, and other stories

Air-con: Cooling a warming world. Air-conditioning's role in the energy demand that leads to climate change is increasing. While the US has long used more air-con than the rest of the world combined (indeed US air-con uses more electricity than the total electricity demand of Africa), rapidly industrialising countries are catching up quickly.

Oz gas hub: Walmadan or James Price Point, a remote headland on the coast of Western Australia, is the proposed site of the second largest natural gas hub in the world, a mega project costing AUD$34-40b. Described by the state premier Colin Barnett as "unremarkable", the piece of coast in question has been recommended by various government agencies for National Park status on no less than six occasions over the last five decades. The environmental impact report for the proposed development has left a lot to be desired. Once again, the impact of dumping hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane pollution into the atmosphere are not even included in the assessment process.

Sea shock: Marine extinction risks. "Life in the world's oceans faces far greater change and risk of large-scale extinctions than at any previous time in human history, a team of the world's leading marine scientists has warned." Original article is here.

Fracking: Sean Lennon summarises the arguments against the US increasingly relying on fracking for natural gas: climate (natural gas is still a fossil fuel), climate (methane leaks make fracking perhaps as bad as coal), water use, water pollution, land seizure and industry spin (from the PR firms that brought you safe cigarettes).

Genetic effects: A new study has found that certain plastics (such as BPA) have effects at a genetic level. Exposure to the BPA begins in the womb and has effects that last generations.

Gaza water: Gaza strip will soon be unliveable (even more than it already is) due to water crisis. On current trends, the aquifer supplying water to the 1.6 million inhabitants will be ruined and undrinkable by 2016. Water drives considerably more of the conflict in Israel/Palestine than is widely recognised and there are huge disparities in access.

Bugs: Twenty percent of invertebrates are at risk of extinction. Invertebrates include 97% of the world's animals.


byron smith said...

Ezra Klein: How AC transformed the US economy.

Brad Plumer: Heat reduces worker productivity. Another economic cost of climate change.

byron smith said...

Guardian: UK Climate Committee warn that Osbourne's dash for gas would be illegal. Unabated gas (i.e. without CCS) cannot play any significant role after 2030 without breaching the UK legal obligations to the targets in the Climate Act.

byron smith said...

Chomsky: The soul-crushing cruelties perpetrated by America's #1 ally. Life inside Gaza.

byron smith said...

The Conversation: Air-conditioning is peaking. AC is the primary cause of rising electricity bills in Australia.

byron smith said...

CSM: Are we cooling our way to a warmer planet?