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Australia makes a bad start at Warsaw climate change meeting

It’s been embarrassment after embarrassment for Australia at the Warsaw climate change meeting. Former UN Climate Chief, Yvo de Boer, upbraided Australia for its failure to send a Minister. Australia was…

Not an award you want to get: Australia is named and shamed for holding up climate progress. Climate Action Network

It’s been embarrassment after embarrassment for Australia at the Warsaw climate change meeting.

Former UN Climate Chief, Yvo de Boer, upbraided Australia for its failure to send a Minister. Australia was also criticised for its topsy-turvy climate policy in the opening issue of ECO, the non-government organisation newsletter produced at the talks.

Australia pulled a triple bad start by being awarded Fossil of the Day on the summit’s first day. The award is given by the international Climate Action Network to the country which has done the most to block progress at the climate change negotiations on that day.

Australia also topped the Fossil of the Day Awards on Wednesday beating out Turkey. This one was for seeking to repeal the carbon price (hence “hurling Australia back into the abyss of time”, as opposed to the more than 40 countries, states and provinces who have moved into the modern times with a carbon price) and also stripping $435 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and removing $10 billion of investment in clean energy.

Australia is blocking progress in a myriad of ways, but the outstanding one is its statement that it will not sign up to new finance commitments in Warsaw. Many would have thought Australia’s position at the climate summit could not have got much worse after the dismantling of its climate change department, abolishing the Climate Change Authority which provides independent advice on policy, ridding itself of the burden of a climate change minister and putting removal of its carbon price before Parliament during this summit.

But the lack of committed climate finance seems to do so. That it’s done in the face of the crushing losses suffered by the Philippines this week - a country which is a Pacific neighbour to Australia and needs international climate finance to build resilience against future tragedy - makes it even more telling.

Australia is awarded Fossil of the Day.

It illustrates starkly this government’s lack of understanding about why climate finance is needed. Our Cabinet ministers apparently characterise climate finance as “socialism masquerading as environmentalism”. But I have news for you: it’s not socialism, its equity – our fair share - and it’s our responsibility as one of the richest countries and highest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases.

Perhaps Australia could do better on emissions reductions? The US and China have made important announcements on strengthening their climate action this year. And the Climate Change Authority has described our the existing emissions reduction target of 5% by 2020 as “inadequate” and “not a credible option”. So it would have been good to see the Australian Government seeking to keep up with the ambition of other developed countries.

But instead our Government continues to prevaricate. Tony Abbott said yesterday:

Australia will meet our 5% emissions reduction target, but this government has made no commitments to go further than that. We certainly are in no way looking to make further binding commitments in the absence of very serious like binding commitments from other countries, and there is no evidence of that.

This statement is despite repeated assertions by both the prime minister and the environment minister Greg Hunt that the Coalition still support increasing Australia’s emissions reduction target to up to 25% under a specific conditions for global action accepted by both major parties.

And this is despite a finding by the Climate Change Authority that the conditions for a target higher than 5% had already been met.

Philippines climate change negotiator Yeb Sano on why climate action is needed.

The mood of the climate talks are clearly with the lead negotiator for the Philippines, Yeb Sano, whose hometown of Tacloban City was among the worst affected by last week’s typhoon. He said:

It’s time to stop this madness.

To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific… and see the impacts of rising sea levels; … to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce… And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now.

The science has given us a picture that is getting ever more focussed. The IPCC report on climate change and extreme events underscored the risks associated with changes in the patterns as well as frequency of extreme weather events. Typhoons such as Yolanda (Haiyan) and its impacts are a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action. Warsaw must deliver on enhancing ambition and should muster the political will to address climate change.

Australia’s reputation at these talks needs to change, and it will rely on Prime Minister Abbott’s political will and good diplomatic sense. If Abbott agrees with the science, and has confidence in his own proposed policies, it can’t be too hard to accept the independent advice about the level of action needed.

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54 Comments sorted by

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  1. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

    A group of second rate activists give Oz a dodgy award, and this is somehow important?
    Must be slow news day.

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      I agree Mark. Much more important is the award given to the climate science deniers in the Abbott government by the climate science denying Harper government in Canada.

      "Canada applauds the decision by prime minister Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The Australian prime minister's decision will be noticed around the world and sends an important message," the formal statement from Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, said.

      The Harper government withdrew from the Kyoto protocol on climate change in 2011 and Canada has failed to meet its own international emissions to cut greenhouse gas emissions – almost entirely because of its mining of the carbon-heavy Alberta tar sands."
      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/13/canada-climate-australia-carbon-tax

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    2. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Seeing as you are now a billboard for rent a cause I have flagged this contribution as spam.

      Editors please note. I assume a similar advertisement for say Chris Monkton's next public appearance will also be permitted.

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    3. David Bindoff

      manager

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      It's not a single instance, it's becoming a widespread pattern of disapprobation from respected quarters, I expect there will be significant penalties born by you and I.

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Yes Marc. I have noticed that you are quick to demand any comment that points out how febrile your arguments are, be deleted.

      So much for freedom of speech.

      And Lord Monckton is in town? Is he here to speak about his 20 reasons why Obama's birth certificate is a fake? If you tell me where he is speaking, when this weekend's rally is over I will advertise it for you. When he was in NZ, a huge number of students were very keen to hear him speak. They laughed for days.

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    5. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Ian McGregor, thanks for the fantastic but shameful article. Mark here is blissfully ignorant about all of the information both overt and subtle so well written in your piece. There seems to be a little bit of death throe thrashing, going on amongst the deniers at the moment. We should all remember that it won't be long before the embarrassment to all Australians caused by Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt and their wrecking recalcitrance, which inevitably will become an economic liability, will render the flawed logic of these fools unimportant, impotent, and long remembered for these reasons.

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    6. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Hi Alice, it's been years but no one here has been able to tell me what I am guilty of denying, perhaps you can?

      Fo Diverse opinion with less doomsayers try online opinion www.onlineopinion.com.au

      Opinion online not paid for by your taxes

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    7. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      maybe Monckton has been asked to head up Abbott's new, revised Climate Change Department?

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    8. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      So on what basis did you associate me with holocaust denial. Please be succinct.

      Best pizza on Sydney's northern fringe bambinos. Www.bambinostoo.com.au

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    9. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Marc H rock engineering expert on hillsides said: "no one here has been able to tell me what I am guilty of denying, perhaps you can?" The IPCC can via their References to 9000+ scienctific papers, research and studies:
      WGI Summary for Policy Makers
      http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGI_AR5_SPM_brochure.pdf
      AR5 WGI Full Report here: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.Un7pYPlmh8F
      WGI Technical Summary
      http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_TechnicalSummary.pdf

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    10. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Hendrickx lamely claims
      "So on what basis did you associate me with holocaust denial"

      That particular meme does not swim any more.

      "a person who denies something, especially someone who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence:
      a prominent denier of global warming
      a climate change denier"
      http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/denier--2

      Point 1 probably wins in Marc's case.

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    11. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      So like Alice and Sean you can't point to anything specific. I guess I continue to wait for conclusive evidence of my "guilt".

      When I want to see climate change in action I stay at the Shangri la villingili resort in the Maldives. Watch the climate change while enjoying cocktails at the pool bar.

      http://www.shangri-la.com/male/villingiliresort/

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    12. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean and which of these do you find that I am in disagreement with?please be specific.

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    13. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      (sorry) briefly SPM on weather extremes : “…it is now *very likely* that anthropogenic (human activity / influence) forcing has contributed to the observed changes in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes on the global scale since the mid-20th century. It is *likely* that human influence has *significantly increased* the probability of occurrence of heat waves in some locations…”

      “Since the AR4 (2007), there is some *new limited direct evidence* for an anthropogenic (man made/human…

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    14. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Oh and Sean,
      When I want to see the sea level rise first hand I stay at the Shangri la Villingili Resort. We spend millions on our pool so you can enjoy the coming apocalypse in comfort.

      http://www.shangri-la.com/male/villingiliresort/

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    15. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      The only group guilty of bloody minded evidence free attacks are you, Sean and Mike. IM only asking for evidence that you continue to fail to provide.

      See the bears before they go...
      http://arctickingdom.com

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  2. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    With other words another talkfest costing millions when it could be done via Skype

    You wonder how much is contributed to Global Warming by having them fly all over the world on a constant basis

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    1. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Oh it's a troll statement. Great answer

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    2. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Hi Editor,
      I refer to the following title.....

      Mike Hansen
      Sun Nov 17, 11am. National Day of Climate Action. See (http://theheat.org.au/) atyour city or regional centres

      Would a similar advertisement for say a public speech by Lord Monckton or Ian Plimer also be permitted? If so do let me know.

      This is spam, I assume you will remove the relevant posts, or request the commentator use a more appropriate title.

      Regards
      Marc

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    3. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      I have now adjusted my profile accordingly

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    4. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Just pointing out the hypocrisy

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    5. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      More unusual fetishes!

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  3. Rory Cunningham
    Rory Cunningham is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Test Analyst

    I'm afraid the government will palm off the issues and assure the public that 5% is plenty. Watching the 730 report with Abbott you could see that his concerns about climate change are minimal and that his direct action plan is to appease those who are concerned, but who are apprehensive about voting for labor

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  4. Brad Farrant

    Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

    Thanks for the article Ian. It is important that Australians find out just how much of an international embarassment we are becoming by trying to dodge our ethical responsibilities.

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  5. Grant Burfield

    Dr

    Team,

    Fossil of the day is a wonderful achievement and this early in the convention too. Australians can be justly proud. Can each of us claim it as our own very much like the googol of IPCC Nobel Laureates? Surely we can at least use it as a post-nominal.

    Your faithfully,
    G Burfield BSc(Hons) PhD FOTD

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      I assumed that they were referring to fossil fuels but the free dictionary also has

      "set in a rigidly conventional pattern of behavior, incapable of change; a man of inflexible purpose, petrified, dead, extinct, prehistoric, ossified, dead as a dodo, obsolete, antiquated, anachronistic, inflexible, passé, behind the times, superannuated, antediluvian"

      A bit harsh perhaps but I have no issue with you claiming that honour Grant. Any chance you could follow Marc and add it to your profile?

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    2. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Ah, I see. Nothing to do with fossil fuels at all. You are correct, I don't think I've ever heard fossil fuels mentioned at a climate change extravaganza.
      As to the prize itself, it was a close run thing but through sheer guts and determination we managed to nudge Canada into second place -

      "Canada applauds the decision by Prime Minister Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The Australian Prime Minister's decision will be noticed around the world and sends an important message"
      http://dcnonl.com/nw/34968/gc

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    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Yep. I have that quote from Canada in my comment above.

      Now winning plaudits from the climate science denying government of Stephen Harper is a notable achievement. Harper is not fooled by any of that "direct action" nonsense. No old Stevey spotted it immediately as a good old con job designed to provide a fig leaf for the LNP handwringers like Hunt and Turnbull.

      But how we beat out Canada is going to remain one of life's mysteries.

      "The Harper government withdrew from the Kyoto protocol on climate change in 2011 and Canada has failed to meet its own international emissions to cut greenhouse gas emissions – almost entirely because of its mining of the carbon-heavy Alberta tar sands."

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  6. Andrew Gilmour

    logged in via Facebook

    It is actually a very good start for Australia.

    It’s been embarrassment after embarrassment for IPCC as recently numerous data manipulation stuff and errors were discovered in their reports and questioned.

    Not only Australia but also some other countries started raising their concerns that IPCC is biased, is having bureaucrats who are interested in maintaining the global warming myth alive, who ignored hundreds of opinions of climate scientists around the world, who are happy to put nations…

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    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Could you refer to falsities in the fifth assessment so far please, because it's my understanding that with this last report which hasn't been published completely yet, there isn't any. They have taken longer (to edit and agree), to ensure further politicisation can't detract from the basic facts of climate change.
      But I presume you have found errors in the full science report.
      http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_All.pdf
      Here it is, what, where, why.

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    2. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Re: Could you refer to falsities in the fifth assessment so far please

      You can enjoy reading this
      http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/16643-top-scientists-slam-and-ridicule-un-ipcc-climate-report

      Quote: "At this point, the number of independent experts calling for an end to the largely discredited UN panel and its reports is growing fast. Some prominent voices in the climate discussion have even been calling for the “climate scamsters” to be prosecuted and jailed as a way to…

      Read more
    3. David Bindoff

      manager

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Andrew G, Mike Hulme is a former professor of climate change , now a professor of climate and culture. I read one of his books some time ago, contorted thinking with very little clarity for relief. I think he is more of a cultural geographer than scientist.

      Have you swallowed that 'The New American' (and Heartland) stuff? Sorry to hear that.

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to David Bindoff

      The "New American" that Gilmour is regularly quoting from is the magazine of the John Birch Society.

      It is about as far right as you can get in the USA without joining an openly white supremacist group. Ironically one of its founders was Fred Koch, father of the notorious Koch brothers who fund the Tea Party and a lot of climate science denial.

      The society has been described as "ultraconservative", "far right", and "extremist"

      The character General Jack Ripper in the film Dr. Strangelove…

      Read more
  7. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

    Once again I am stuck by the double speak on this tax payer funded site. The con claims...."The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public."

    The piece above is largely an advertisement for the Climate Action Network Australia and it's written by a "Steering Committee Member of Climate Action Network Australia."

    Have the editors/ curators here at the con redefined "independent"? The satire just goes on and on at our expense.

    Get the feeling of real climate change from the comfort of your jacuzzi...
    http://www.shangri-la.com/male/villingiliresort/rooms-suites/villas/water-villa/

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      One looks forward to more "independent" articles.

      For opinion pieces where the meaning of independent is as it used to be log onto online opinion.
      Online opinion, no "curators" just a editors who know the meaning of diversity and independence.

      Www.onlineopinion.com.au, your contribution welcome.

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Mr Pot, fresh from his battle with Mr Kettle, is having his usual rant.

      Here is his activist web site where he uncovers all manner of left-wing conspiracies at the ABC.

      This is what Hendrickx is renown for. Interesting that he did not include that in his profile. LOL What is he hiding? Gee - that conspiracy racket is money for jam.

      http://abcnewswatch.blogspot.com.au/

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    3. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      How child like thou art.

      I would start a Watch The Con site but the amount of material is overwhelming.

      Koala's, see them now before climate change sees them gone...
      http://www.reptilepark.com.au

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Do you tag team your ABC conspiracy hunting with Andrew Bolt?

      Mike Carlton from the SMH observed that whenever Rupert's in town, the Murdoch shock jocks like Bolt, Blair, Piers Akerman, Miranda Devine etc go into a frenzy of ABC bashing just to show the old misanthrope that they still have it.

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  8. Sean Arundell

    Uncommon Common Sense

    Who or what runs these climate change meetings?

    In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UNFCCC, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

    By 1995, countries realized that emission reductions provisions in the Convention were inadequate. They launched negotiations to strengthen…

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    1. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Re: Warsaw Climate Change Conference - November 2013 Climate change is a complex problem

      Nice copy/paste Sean :)
      Our reply

      http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/16643-top-scientists-slam-and-ridicule-un-ipcc-climate-report

      Quote: "Top Scientists Slam and Ridicule UN IPCC Climate Report...

      top climate scientists and experts were already reading through it and trashing the methods, findings, claims, and more. In fact, based on leaked drafts of the controversial report, critics…

      Read more
    2. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      two videos about CC Gwynne Dyer - The Geopolitics of Climate Change http://youtu.be/aRLg8No0RVQ
      2012 Kevin Anderson 'Rhetoric to Reality' - more likely a rise of 4 to 6C see @14:40mins
      '4C incompatible with an organised global community, devastating to ecosystems, and high probability of climate being unstable.' http://youtu.be/KumLH9kOpOI

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    3. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Compiled data on concentrating solar power (CSP) projects around the world that have plants that are either operational, under construction, or under development.
      For individual concentrating solar power projects, you will find profiles that include background information, a listing of participants in the project, and data on the power plant configuration.
      These pages should help utilities, financiers, manufacturers, and anyone interested in renewable-energy options to find information on the growing number of concentrating solar power projects around the world. Database : http://www.nrel.gov/csp/solarpaces/

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    4. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      re "So, the end of IPCC and its climate reports is coming." That sounds like a religious belief to me.

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