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Carbon emissions still growing when they must fall: report

Growth in global carbon emissions is slowing, but is still more than enough to increase global temperatures by more than…

Coal is still driving the world’s carbon emissions up. Flickr/UniversityBlogSpot

Growth in global carbon emissions is slowing, but is still more than enough to increase global temperatures by more than 2C, according to a report released today by the Global Carbon Project. Carbon emissions increased by 2.1% to 9.7 billion tonnes in 2012, lower than the average increase of the past decade.

Experts say any fall in growth is good news, but to keep warming under the international safety threshold of 2C much greater action will be needed.

The carbon cycle report, a synthesis of studies from research institutions around the world, predicts total carbon emissions will increase by a further 2.1% in 2013 to 9.9 billion tonnes.

Coincident with the report the Global Carbon Project also released a nation-by-nation breakdown of carbon emissions. The four biggest emitters in 2012 were China (contributing 27% of emissions), the US (14%), the EU (10%), and India (6%). Developing nations combined emitted 57% of CO2.

Slowing growth was driven largely by significant climate action in the US and EU. The US reduced emissions by 3.7% in 2012, while the EU made cuts of 1.3%.

India and China are leading the way on emissions growth, increasing emissions by 7.7% and 5.9% respectively.

Australian emissions, according to March 2013 data from the Department of Environment used in the report, have remained almost constant over the past year.

The coal industry was the greatest source of carbon emissions, contributing 43% to the year’s carbon budget, followed by oil (33%), gas (18%), cement (5.3%), and gas flaring (0.6%). Emissions from land use change, such as deforestation and land clearance, are declining.

The report also assessed how much atmospheric carbon increased, finding that growth in atmospheric CO2 in 2012 was higher than average, increasing to 393 parts per million. Growth in 2010 and 2011 was lower than average thanks to La Niña conditions and increased uptake of CO2 by the land.

Annually more than half of carbon emissions are absorbed by land and ocean, with the remainder going into the atmosphere. Uptake of carbon by the land is one of the greatest uncertainties in carbon projections for the future.

Burning our global carbon quota

Dr Michael Raupach at CSIRO and an author on the report said the findings are “absolutely frightening”. Current trends match the highest emissions scenario used by the International Panel on Climate Change, setting the world on track for catastrophic warming of 3.2-5.4C by 2100.

“According to figures in the IPCC fifth assessment report, the total amount of CO2 emissions allowed to stay below 2C is somewhere around 850 billion tonnes of carbon from the start of the Industrial Revolution.”

The world has to date emitted 550 billion tonnes of carbon, leaving roughly 300 billion tonnes to emit to have any chance of keeping warming below 2C. With global emissions at 10 billion tonnes every year, Dr Raupach estimates we have 30 years before the entire world has to stop emitting carbon “cold turkey”.

“If we want to meet the target it will mean rapid decreases from now of several per cent per year until we get down to one third of current emissions in 30 years time. Then we’ve still got some of our quota left to use for carbon emissions we can’t avoid.”

Emissions savings

Dr Raupach said energy conservation measures in Europe and transition to solar, wind, hydro and nuclear energy were behind cuts to emissions.

Domestic manufacturing in Europe and the US has also moved offshore to China, decreasing domestic emissions but increasing China’s.

Dr Barry Naughten, energy economist at Australian National University, said the US shale gas revolution and closing inefficient coal-fired power stations is driving falling emissions in that country. But he warned outlooks from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) show minor cuts to emissions by 2040.

“In 2005 peak emissions were 6 billion tonnes CO2. Historical data indicates a sharp fall from 2005 level to 5.5 billion tonnes CO2 in 2009-2010, reflecting the economic recession as well as fuel switching and efficiency measures. Projections then indicate an increase from 2011 to 5.7 billion tonnes CO2 in 2040.”

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192 Comments sorted by

  1. Brad Farrant

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

    Thanks for the article.

    I agree with Dr Michael Raupach - the findings are “absolutely frightening”!

    We have to get responsible and fast. It is not ok for the adults of today to shift the costs of our behaviour onto the kids of today and tomorrow around the world.

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Good advice 25 years ago from conservative icon, Ronald Reagan who notably did not say "we are not acting unless you can tell us exactly how big the part of the hole is that we are fixing". It is not recorded whether that question ever came up but no doubt his science advisers would have told him that such a question was scientifically meaningless.

      Ronald Reagan's Statement on Signing the Montreal Protocol on Ozone-Depleting Substances, April 5, 1988

      "I am pleased to sign the instrument of…

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    2. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike

      >>> Ronald Reagan who notably did not say "we are not acting unless you can tell us exactly how big the part of the hole is that we are fixing" <<<

      Priceless, thank you.

      Hard to believe there were ever conservatives who placed value in science.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      I just reminded myself Brad of the little joke of little Johnny sitting alongside Grandpa and LJ saying " Grandpa, tell me again how you used to have to get up to change the channel on the television "
      Perhaps Brad, you'll have a whole range of tales to tell the grandkids, frightening or not when asked about climate change in the future.
      Grandpa, " What was so frightening?, were you a scaredy cat? "
      And Grandpa, what's a denier and a skeptic?

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    4. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,

      Given the minuscule chance that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are wrong, I reckon that that the kids of today and tomorrow will be asking you why it was that you put so much time and effort into opposing efforts to prevent dangerous climate change.

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  2. Jack McCadden

    Analyst

    Something that jumps out from those numbers is that the big emitters all have nuclear programmes. So while here in Australia, we were trying to provide a model for a lower carbon economy (i.e. when the carbon tax was around), it's a model which is irrelvent to the countries with highest emission growth. i.e. China and India are planning for nuclear power to reduce carbon dependency.

    I'm all for a lower carbon economy, but I don't don't see the point in providing an example which no one will follow.

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    1. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Jack McCadden

      Jack,

      I think the major point of the Clean Energy package and the associated price on carbon was to have the policies in place to enable Australia to do its fair share of greenhouse emission reductions to prevent dangerous climate change. My understanding is that the reason that the overwhelming majority of economists support a price on carbon as the best way to tackle climate change is because it lets the local market decide which technologies etc are the most practical and efficient solutions. Obviously the particular solutions may very well be different in different nations because of physical, social and historical differences etc.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Jack McCadden

      "I don't see the point in providing an example which no one will follow".
      We've slipped in rank from 47 to 51 out of 61, as one of the weakest climate change performance nations. Pathetic, and you consider this performance is somehow "leading"? as an example of what, derailing a global commitment?

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Jack McCadden

      It could just be Jack that china and India view Nuclear power generation as a supplement to building coal fired power stations to maintain their populations desire for electrical conveniences to the extent as most western nations already have.
      There may have been expected to be some plateauing because of China's one child policy but that has now been relaxed so whereas their population was expected to plateau before dropping under 1B in coming decades, that may now not be so.
      China is still building…

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  3. Geoff Anderson

    Brain Surgeon

    Does anyone actually still think that Nuclear is "Clean" any longer? After Chernobyl? After Fukushima? It may reduce Carbon emissions, but creates other major problmes that we have failed to solve.

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    1. Craig Miller

      Environmental Consultant

      In reply to Geoff Anderson

      IV Gen Integral Fast Reactors that use thorium or nuclear waste as fuel address most of the problems posed by your bog standard Chernobyl or Fukushima-type reactor.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Craig Miller

      I accept that thorium power has some attractive features in regard to availability of nuclear fuel supplies, shorter- life radioactive waste, a much reduced probability of a catastrophic accident and less likely to lead to weapons.

      Its would certainly be much better than coal-fired energy plants in terms of emissions.

      But, as I understand it, thorium plants are still in the R &D stage and we may not see a commercial plant for many years. Please correct me if you have more accurate information.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Craig Miller

      I think they could, Craig.

      They're still largely on the drawing board but they have to be worth a try - we're going to need every trick we have to get us through this!

      My inclination is that nations already operating nuclear should not abandon it but, rather, focus a lot of their effort into piloting and developing the promising new technoloies Craig is talking about while, at the same time, progressively moving to shut down their old and somewhat dangerous facilities and putting a lot of effort…

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    4. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Henry a lot of the reluctance to accept nuclear energy is based on 30-50 yr old technology. If you believe the climate scientists, nuclear must be part of the program in order to avoid dangerous climate change. If you don't believe them, there's no problem with shunning it.

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    5. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to Craig Miller

      I get sick of those people who repeat the mantra that 'new technology' is the answer, after all the 'old' failed technology was once new as well so how come the newest technology has become ultra safe?

      More over the new technology will be old in just a few years and a new lot of fools will then be making claims about what is then new or upcoming technology.

      Moreover those of us with some nous know that there is always a fine line drawn between safety and cost and often the finer the line the more competitive the product.

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    6. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Bullshit, climate scientists tell us about the danger of CO2 and other emissions, but they don't as a whole suggest nuclear is part of the solution.

      In fact many suggest the opposite as nuclear seems a short sighted solution which would enable us to continue as we are with exponential growth, destruction of diversity, etc without having to immediately face any of the more difficult questions - just the sort of things most politicians would love.

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    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Campbell

      You are dreaming if you think we can move to decarbonise quickly enough to meet the CO2 targets without nukes. It would have to be a stop-gap measure, agreed, but it provides an opportunity to do something meaningful in terms of those emissions comparatively quickly. Why the hell else do you think Japan just walked away from their targets after losing Fukushima?

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    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix

      I see no reason for the continuation of R&D into nuclear. However, we urgently need investment and action into the available, workable alternative technology we have.

      To invest in nuclear at the expense of known safe forms of energy is irresponsible - nuclear may be a part of a coal/oil/gas free future, but we need to wean off fossil fuels now.

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    9. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoff Anderson

      If it is a choice between fossil-fuelled energy, nuclear-fuelled energy, or enormous shortage of energy, I'll pick nuclear. It ain't perfect - nothing is - but at least it stands a good chance of leaving an inhabitable planet for our kids.

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    10. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug

      Not in time.

      We already have the technology - as I have stated previously, nuclear may be a part of future energy needs - in a country like Australia we can utilise far safer and cost effective technology. Now.

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    11. Mark Duffett

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoff Anderson

      The problems caused by Chernobyl and Fukushima are minuscule compared to the climate change threat - and, as others have pointed out, do not apply to future nuclear construction.

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    12. Mark Duffett

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      This is demonstrably not only false, but diametrically so. Germany is going hell for leather to build renewables. Their emissions are rising. On the other hand, France went from zero to 80% low-emissions electricity in under 25 years using nuclear. No country pursuing a renewables-only strategy is going remotely near this decarbonisation rate.

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    13. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Phillip

      "... if you think we can move to decarbonise quickly enough to meet the CO2 targets without nukes ..."

      On the other hand, we would be rapidly decarbonised if every coal-fired power station in the land was targetted by a nuke from some planet-saving (:-)) nuclear-armed power.

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    14. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      re: "Why the hell else do you think Japan just walked away from their targets after losing Fukushima?" Because they are closing down ALL nuclear power plants that's why. Fukushima is only one of them. and any nuclear plant built on the coast in order to use sea water for cooling would have similar ricks of future tsunami and storm surges to deal with too. So who knows if nuclear is a good idea or not. For inland the water demand by nuclear plants is pretty extreme for the driest continent on earth…

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    15. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Duffett

      re: "Germany is going hell for leather to build renewables. Their emissions are rising."

      Mark what does that really mean "rising"? Rising above what - one year over the last one, or every year rose over all the previous ones. I really do not know why folks can't recognise their own "spin" and actually say what is correct instead of making it up and believing they may get away with it. .

      eg Germany has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions significantly in recent years ...Germany aims to reduce…

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    16. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Duffett

      re : "No country pursuing a renewables-only strategy is going remotely near this decarbonisation rate." I am unsure which of the nations have nuclear which don't but here's some EU figures.

      CO2 emissions fell in twenty-three Member States in 2012
      Only 4 States had an increase.
      The largest decreases were recorded in Belgium and Finland (both -11.8%), Sweden (-10.1%), Denmark (-9.4%), Cyprus (-8.5%), Bulgaria (-6.9%), Slovakia (-6.5%), the Czech Republic (-5.2%), Italy and Poland (both -5.1…

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    17. Mark Duffett

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Germany 1990-2011 is a highly cherry-picked timespan. Most of this reduction is down to closure of highly inefficient and dirty East German coal-fired industry in the years immediately following unification:

      http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?country=de&product=coal&graph=consumption

      2000-2011 (when renewables ramp-up goes into full swing) is rather less impressive:

      http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/CO2REPORT2012.pdf

      2013 is on track for another increase over 2012 (which, as you say, was an increase over 2011):

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps.html

      Gee, closing down nuclear and trying to replace it with renewables turns out to be bad for the climate...who'd a thunk it?

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    18. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Duffett

      re : "Germany 1990-2011 is a highly cherry-picked timespan."

      Seriously? But 2011 to 2013 isn't?

      Mark, fair dinkum................ not wasting any more time on you buddy.

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    19. Mark Duffett

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Thank you, I'll take that as a concession. 2011 is hardly an arbitrary starting point, being when the idiotic German nuclear shutdown began, and thus going directly to the question of what combination of nuclear and renewables is most climate-effective.

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    20. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Duffett

      Well if it's important to you mark, yes you are right.

      And wrong. Why? Because your point of view continues to ignore long term K's years waste storage which has yet to be resolved on a permanent basis anywhere. Because your point of view continues to ignore the security implications of management of the fuel cycle in regard incompetence, political upheaval to nefarious use by psychopathic terrorists. Because your point of view ignores the nuclear weaponising purposes, the NNPT issues and failings…

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    21. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Duffett

      And .. not wanting to spoil your Party .... BUT fact is Germany has NOT achieved a REDUCTION in GHG emissions since 1990 because of the Building of, nor the use of, Nuclear Power Plants !!!!

      Some history for readers [check it for yourself] : the idiotic Germans pre-unification "In the early 1970s, large public demonstrations prevented the construction of a nuclear plant at Wyhl. The Wyhl protests were an example of a local community challenging the nuclear industry through a strategy of direct…

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    22. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Geoff Anderson

      Nuclear is safe.
      By any standard, from lives lost per unit of electricity produced, to long-established safety standards, nuclear is the safest of the major ways to produce electricity, by far.
      The problem, if there is one, is the poor education of people who question this, including those who rely on belief rather than data.

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    23. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      Great comment John, Nuclear power isn't just nuclear power

      There is a distinction to be made between old style reactors and Gen IV and V reactors, especially thorium reactors

      Thorium reactors have little to no waste and are walk away safe

      ie. if everyone walks away from it, it will shut down mechanically without any fear of a meltdown

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    24. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, I think those (including myself) who support a look at nuclear are up against a couple of things: Chernobyl and Fukushima are the obvious ones, but they were old, old technology. There also seems to be a bit of the 'back to nature' , 'luddite', view about our future direction, which conveniently forgets that lives were shorter and more painful the further back in history (and the older the technology) you go. Thorium reactors are, I think, one of the answers. - Michael you do know that I am also a huge fan of onsite generation, working towards a mix of solar and LNG. Cheers

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  4. Geoff Anderson

    Brain Surgeon

    How long can the Abbott Government refuse to accept the reality that is Climate Change? And the reality that their Direct Inaction scheme is an expensive and pointless waste of money?

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    1. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Geoff Anderson

      Geoff Anderson - you've claimed that the Abbott government's "Direct Inaction scheme is an expensive and pointless waste of money". Can you back that up wityh sokme facts: firstly, what action, taken by Australia is not 'an expensive and pointless waste of money" and, secondly, can you quantify the difference in effects on dangerous climate change that the alternative (to the Abbott governments' policy) action taken by Australia will be?

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    2. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      The short answer is that Direct Action was introduced to replace the price on carbon and so people are assuming that Direct Action is meant to be a long term solution as pricing carbon was (Internalising the externality)

      This is not a fair comparison, Direct Action has no mechanism for detering business from emmitting CO2 now or in the long term, it can only reward those who choose to do so.

      Direct Action is to pay business for reducing emmissions and to pay people to restore landscapes, that…

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  5. Mark McGuire

    climate consensus rebel

    At the risk of being O/T, have these corrections been included in the above calculations: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/u-n-climate-panel-corrects-carbon-numbers-influential-report-2D11577699
    Forever the bearer of researched bad news to commentators theCon: November 15, 2013 "Ten new hard-coal power stations, or 7,985 megawatts, are scheduled to start producing electricity in the next two years, according to information from German grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur and operators." http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-15/steag-starts-germany-s-first-coal-fired-power-plant-in-8-years.html Nothing Australia does is going to make a difference. Sorry.

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    1. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Mark,

      Unfortunately the evidence is growing that under the new Abbott government Australia is making a difference - in the irresponsible direction.

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/australia-turns-into-anti-climate-force-at-warsaw-40945

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/18/australia-climate-change-un-warsaw

      We are embarrassing ourselves on the world stage.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Mark, that final sentence is a logical absurdity. th etrue sentence - which is obvious anyway - would be 'Australia cannot do any more than it can do.' this, of course, is true for every nation.

      One might also add that, ultimately, pretty near everybody is going to have to do their share because even the biggest players, like China or the US, on their own cannot fix the whole problem.

      Under these circumstances, the single most foolish thing that Australia could do - particularly as a nation…

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    3. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      So it's not about the effects of our action on dangerous climate change any more, is it Brad? It's all about how we look overseas. The Paris Hilton effect, perhaps?

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    4. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      It is our irresponsible behaviour regarding failing to do our fair share to prevent dangerous climate change that is embarrassing us on the world stage. The latter is a symptom and a consequence of the former. Its all about our refusal to get responsible and our willingness to shift the costs of our behaviour onto the kids of today and tomorrow around the world.

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    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Quantify those costs Brad within the Australian context. Let's see what those costs that we are shifting "onto the kids of today and tomorrow around the world" actually are.
      What effects do you claim we, here, can achieve? You keep criticising the Australian government but then shift that argument somehow to the world stage without ever discussing the actual effects of Australia's action on that stage. If you want to lay a guilt trip on those who oppose your version of what the action should be, at least have the decency to explain that action in terms of its effects.

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    6. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      Australia can avoid shifting the costs of our behaviour onto the kids of today and tomorrow around the world to the extent that we do our fair share of emission reductions to prevent dangerous climate change. To the extent that we fail to do this then we are shifting the costs of our behaviour onto our children and future generations. It is fairly straight forward really.

      If you want to get a better idea of what those costs are likely to be then I suggest you read these -

      http://climatechange.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/Turn_Down_the_heat_Why_a_4_degree_centrigrade_warmer_world_must_be_avoided.pdf

      http://www.childreninachangingclimate.org/database/unicef/Publications/Our%20climate%20our%20children%20our%20responsibility.pdf

      http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_42166.html

      https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=22896

      http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/pr21.pdf

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    7. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      What are you suggesting John?

      That there are no adverse effects from AGW?

      Are you suggesting that 2C+ warming is not going to be harmful. You keep using the word "alarmist" in respect to the science. Can you be more specific?

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    8. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Re read my comment, Mike. I am not suggesting anything of the sort. Can you quantify the effect Australia's output of CO2 has on dangerous climate change? If you can do that, you might be able to make a valid case that argues that the LNP policies are going to lead to globally harmful CO2 emissions from Australia. DO you need me to clarify this any further, or can provide an answer?

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    9. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      SO Brad, we're back on the same old merry-go-round with you refusing to tell us what part Australia's emissions reduction will have in reducing dangerous climate change. Not one of the articles you refer to talks abnout the effects of Australia's emissions (let alone the difference between the effects of the various mitigation policies). You persist in talking about the effects in a general sense but shy away from discussing the role Australia plays in those effects. If this is an argument about science you should be able to quantify the effect we, as a nation, are having on dangerous climate change and then predict/hypothesise about the effects that mitigation strategies adopted by us will have. If you can't or won't do this, you've moved betond the realm of science into the realm of politics.

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    10. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      The answer has been provided to you previously.

      Based on the carbon budget in the IPCC report i.e. the best available science, to achieve "a reasonable chance (67% or more) of keeping below" 2C of warming, "Australia would need to adopt a target of around 38% below 2000 levels by 2020".

      If you prefer, you can carve up the budget by total emissions (Australia is the 16th largest emitter of CO2 in the world), by emissions per capita (ranked 10th) or by historical emissions. The conclusion is the same.

      https://theconversation.com/new-emissions-target-will-test-government-but-it-isnt-enough-19622

      And there is no guarantee that 2C is not going to be "dangerous"

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    11. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      Mike Hansen has spelled out what is required based on the science.

      The exact quantity of harm you seek is not relevant to whether or not we should act ethically. I believe we should avoid doing preventable harm to the kids of today or tomorrow regardless of the size of our contribution to that harm. We cannot justify doing harm to others simply because others are doing the same.

      Either you are happy to transfer the costs of your behaviour onto the kids of today and tomorrow around the world or you aren't. You may be happy for our nation to continue doing harm to others now and in the future but I am not happy for us to do this because it is deeply unethical.

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    12. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, I will look at Mike's figures - reference would've been helpful. Unfortunately you are opeating in the realms of fantasy. Do you just not understand what I am asking? If Austrlalia's emissions change by x amount what will the effects of that be on dangerous climate change? Why is that so hard for you to understand and answer?

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    13. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, thanks for providing a number to work with. I will investigate further. The 16th largest emitter tag is meaningless in the sense that the ordinal scale doesnt apply to the quantity of emissions. Have a look at the data I linked to in the guardian earlier, download it and graph it (Excel will work fine for this) You'll see graphically and numerically that Australia's action is irrelevant in the sense of it making a meanigful and actual change to overall CO2 levels.

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    14. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, additionally, the link to TC article is to a paper that (again) says Australia should act but which fails to justify that position by stating what the effects of that action will be.
      As the general population becomes inccreasingly aware of this issue, you will find it harder and harder to convince them to make sacrifices in order to achieve an effect that can't be quantified - ie an intangible.

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    15. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      Do you not understand that, regardless of the size of our contribution (and Australians are among the highest per capita emitters of ghg gases), it is not ok to shift the costs of our behaviour onto the children of today and tomorrow?

      I fail to see how calling for Australia to do its fair share to protect our kids and future generations from dangerous climate change means that I am "operating in the realms of fantasy"!

      If being responsible for our actions is a fantasy in your world view then I am glad that I don't share your world view.

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    16. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      "If Austrlalia's emissions change by x amount what will the effects of that be on dangerous climate change? "

      There is no meaningful scientific answer to that question for the reasons that I explained above. There is no modelling that provides an answer to that question. There is however modelling that allows an answer to the question re global emissions.

      Given that the modelling that the IPCC uses around emissions scenarios (RCPs) and projections of temperature rise relies on GCM software that involve man-centuries of software development and multi-million dollar supercomputers to run, clearly it is not something that the average blog commenter can determine even if it made sense scientifically.

      If you disagree, explain why and point to the modelling that would allow that answer to be provided.

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    17. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Thanks, Mike. An excellent answer. You are right in that the modelling wont work at that level. I amintain that you're going to have a very hard sell trying to convince people to act if the argument is limited to the simplistic stuff we see so often in Australia. The claims that Abbott is encouraging dangerous climate change won't cut it if folks arent told to what extent that will occur. On a basic level, you could say that if his policy doesnt cut as much CO2 as, say that of the Greens, it sounds…

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    18. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      So the answer is now "excellent" even though it is the same answer that I have been providing for a while.

      Brad's argument *is* based on the science - it comes straight from the IPCC carbon budget.

      As for convincing people, you are wrong. You must avoid reading the newspapers. Even the Murdoch owned Business Spectator is reporting what everyone in Australia (actually by now the whole world) knows apart from you and Greg Hunt.

      This morning for example.
      http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/11/20/economy/australias-lng-nuclear-bomb

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    19. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      Re "Brad uses a moral argument, and that's fine, but he dresses it up as being scientific when it is clearly unquantifiable - the antithesis of science. I would feel much happier if those who support that position came out and said we'll make bugger all difference to dangerous climate change on our own, but we need to take this particular action because we can use it to leverage the countries whose decisions will actually make a difference."

      This is pretty much what I said to you 5 days…

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    20. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, I'd disagree with your assertion that that is the same answer you've been providing but thanks for it regardless. Cheers.

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    21. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Cheers Brad. I hope it means that some of your somewhat vitriolic rhetoric will be replaced by less emotive language and more effective arguments.

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    22. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      Not sure which parts of my argument you find vitriolic? But as a child advocate I will continue to do my best to hold the adults of today to account when they act in unethical ways towards the kids of today and tomorrow.

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    23. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, generally speaking, it is the tone of your articles about how 'we' and/or the government have failed our children etc. You really can't make that claim honestly when you are talking about action taken by Australia alone. In a broader 'world view' context you could make your case but as we've been discussing, it's not as if what we do here is going warm the planet up. You speak of us doing our 'fair share' and present some views of various pundits who state figures for what that fair share may look like. Unfortunately, because of the fact that it won't stop, impede or in any way reduce dangerous climate change, those figures are moot. They represent a false debate. Brad, if crippling our economy would stop dangerous climate change, I would be all for it but we know that it wont. In fact, Australia ceasing all CO2 emissions wouldn't achieve that. I think that the government being pragmatic about the token efforts AND effects that we can have is a good thing.

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    24. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      As Australians we can't control what other nations do regarding doing their fair share to prevent dangerous climate change but we sure do have a say in our own behaviour and what policies we support and which politicians/parties we vote for. So as individual Australians we can and should live up to our ethical obligations to not pass the costs of our behaviour on to the children of today and tomorrow.

      The first false debate here is that doing our fair share to prevent dangerous climate…

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    25. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "Nothing Australia does is going to make a difference."

      The litterbug's defence.

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    26. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "Australia's action is irrelevant"

      The litterbugs defence.

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    27. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "it is clearly unquantifiable"

      A litterbug chucks litter. The quantity is what he chucked. Where is the unquantifiable?

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      When Brad talks about our legacy for future generations Mr. Grumpy says that this is a moral argument, when it's in fact a scientific one. We can slow the rate of warming. We are tracking at the top level of emissions as a global community. Do we want to reach 2050 at the projected top emissions climate change scenario, with a collapsed economy due to climate change. Or do we all incrementally decrease our emissions now. As all advice tells us. We should ignore him. He asks the wrong question (quantifiable difference), and gives false advice.

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    29. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      This is a phurphy argument. first, action to take now and into the future is a political debate, and not a scientific one. First resolve the science reality, and the latter follows.iow the basic 'framing' of this by JohnP and others running this line is not only fallacious, it's specious. Invalid.Sophistry. A shell and pea game basically. the last sentence locks in the proof of it :" If you can't or won't do this, you've moved betond the realm of science into the realm of politics." That's a meaningless…

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    30. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      "it just wont fly." these matters were all dealt with over 20 years ago initially, then a decade ago, and back in 2007, and again at COP15 2009, and now in Warsaw yet again. These matters have all been laid out by PROFESSIONALS in multiple Au Gov APH ACC CSIRO, and goodness knows how many other institutions and political/govt agreements within Australia and coordinated internationally. Those knowledgeable and responsible for such matters have been on the job for decades. Just because johnny come lately got his internet connection setup and registered on TheCon and today can float all manner of "demeaning questions" of passersby means nothing of great importance. :)

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    31. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      How is that the wrong question, Alice. You've said we can slow the rate of warming. To be able to justify this statement, you need to be able to provide a range of value that we can slow it by. If you cant do that, how can you make that claim?

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    32. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      John Phillip is attempting to become the new Gerard Dean. Repeat the same troll over and over and pretend that no one has answered it.

      The answer was provided above.

      "Based on the carbon budget in the IPCC report i.e. the best available science, to achieve "a reasonable chance (67% or more) of keeping below" 2C of warming, "Australia would need to adopt a target of around 38% below 2000 levels by 2020"."

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    33. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean, it is no such thing - referring of course to your first parapgraph. The science and the maths say that 5% of 1.5% of total global CO2 emissions will make an immeasurable difference to dangerous climate change. Mike Hansen has acknowledged that there "is no modelling that provides an answer to that question. There is however modelling that allows an answer to the question".
      You then go on to make an argument about the historical emissions of this country and other OECD Imperialist nations. The cummulative emissions are fact, agreed, but you are putting the 'crimes of the fathre onto the son' which is not scientific at all. Rather it is am ideological position.
      Try and be a little bit honest and ethical, Sean.

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    34. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      You leave out the inconvenient part of my answer John by dropping off the last part of the sentence.

      Your dishonesty is breathtaking!

      "There is no modelling that provides an answer to that question. There is however modelling that allows an answer to the question **re global emissions.**"

      You are becoming an embarrassment to yourself John.

      There is no modelling re an individual country's emissions because with a global atmosphere, it is a scientifically meaningless question. It was designed by shock jocks to allow deniers to troll it at discussions of carbon mitigation.

      There is modelling on the effect of cuts to global emissions. It is in the IPCC WG1 report.

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    35. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, Gerard Dean is not a troll. That is your defamatory attampt to avoid answering or countering his argument. You know full well that commercial air traffic produces almost double the CO2 emissions of Australia. It is beyonfd hypocritical for you to argue that we should be cutting emissions by 38% and then criticising him for stating that we should be avoiding air travel.
      We have both contributed just over 2000 comments to the blog. What gives you the right to define mine as trolling and yours as anything other than that.
      You have an unfortuante habit habit of doing this to anyone with whom you regularly disagree. Try silencing them (me) with argumets on the points raised rather than the ad homs that you revert to. It toook almost a years worth of questioning to finally come up with an answer. (When I find the source material, I will evaluate the validity of that answer.) Why did it take you so long, Mike?

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    36. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      Dear John re "Sean, it is no such thing " and my first paragraph. and your comments above. Mate, sorry, you are an idiot.

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    37. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      .. on this subject. Of course you're probably a wonderful funloving guy, who can cook up a super bbq for friedns and family, have a nicely maintained home, don't drive drunk, a loving husband and father, hard worker all your life, and maybe even handsome. But on this subject you are way out of your depth and a constant fool here.
      John you are welcome to your opinions about your own brilliance and rightness on the science and mitigation adaption aspects to climate change but that does NOT make them…

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    38. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      Gerard Dean is most certainly a troll under any definition of the term. Aviation is a major issue in climate change. But Gerard is not attempting to engage in a discussion of the issue, he is attempting to trivialise it.

      Gerard spammed this article with about 10 of his "Jet A1" trolls in quick succession and then left. He is not interested in a discussion - he is only interested in stopping any discussion of an issue that he denies.
      https://theconversation.com/broad-consensus-on-climate-change-across-american-states-20314

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    39. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      That's right, Mike. there is modelling in the WG1 report. No lie there in my response, Mike. (I admit the actuial text was crappy and shouldnt have been sent prior to editing.)
      The author iof the piece in TC that quoted from states "What might be an equitable proportion is up for debate."\
      He then goes on to suggest a figure based on his research and that is where the 38% figure comes into it.
      Nowhere does he say that our contribution will make a physical difference. His argument is about the debatable notion of equity.
      Not embarrassed at all, Mike. Just disappointed that you perpetuate the lie that if we lower our emissions here by 'x' percentage ( where 'x' is a value considered to small by your good self), dangerous climate change will be our fault. Absolute rubbish.

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    40. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      If everyone does what you advocate - refuse to take responsibility for their own behaviour until everyone else does - then we have absolutely no chance of preventing dangerous climate change. That is why we have an ethical responsibility to the kids of today and tomorrow to do our fair share now.

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    41. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "if we lower our emissions here by 'x' percentage, dangerous climate change will be our fault."

      I presume you mean if we DON'T lower our emissions. Your statement is a strawman. The claim is if we don't lower our emissions here by 'x' percentage, dangerous climate change will be PARTLY our fault.

      Since the damage costs from your laissez faire strategy will be partly Australia's fault, how do you propose we should organize paying for the damage that we will be partly responsible for?

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    42. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, I have not recommended that cousre of action. I am saying that the criticisms of the government's policies are not factual because they are not based on the effects of those policies on dangerous climate change. You know full well that what we do in this country will make no difference to the chance(s) of preventing dangerous climate change.
      I encourage people to live in as small a footprint as they can, not because they'll make a difference - collectively and individually (within the Australian context) they won't - but because a) I believe that waste is unconscionable and b) they become increasingly independent. My reasons are ideological in that sense. They are also science based in the sense that we generate too little CO2 for our action to make any actual difference in the global context.

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    43. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Either way the sentence works. Your version is the more aesthetically pleasing. In answer to your second point, Chris - how much do we already pay to international bodies regarding this issue? I dont know. Do you?

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    44. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      So are you advocating that Australia shoud adopt emission reduction targets that would see us do our fair share to prevent dangerous climate change? (e.g., those recommended by the Climate Change Authority)

      If not then you, just like our new government, are in effect advocating that Australia should refuse to take responsibility for our behaviour until everyone else does. And adopting this attitude is a sure fire way to ensure that we have little to no chance of preventing dangerous climate change.

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    45. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      RE: "You then go on to make an argument about the historical emissions of this country and other OECD Imperialist nations. The cummulative emissions are fact, agreed, ........"
      TC 21 Nov 2013
      Ninety - 90 - companies produced almost two-thirds of greenhouse gases released since the Industrial Revolution, according to new research.
      Scientists at Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado found that a range of companies such as Chevron, Exxon and BP as well as government and state run firms are within the group of 90. The companies, who mainly produce oil, gas and coal, have produced 63% of the global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 and 2010.
      The researchers also found that half of the estimated emissions were produced in the past 25 years. https://theconversation.com/two-thirds-of-greenhouse-gases-caused-by-just-90-companies-20591
      note to self: HALF THE EMISSIONS PRODUCED IN LAST 25 YEARS ... mmmm. OK then.

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    46. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      RE: "Gerard Dean is not a troll. That is your defamatory attampt to avoid answering ..." Really??

      about 8 hours ago
      Gerard Dean commented on Right at the museum: collections give clues on climate change
      [Comment removed].
      Gerard Dean about 8 hours ago
      Gerard Dean commented on Right at the museum: collections give clues on climate change
      [Comment removed].
      21 days ago
      Gerard Dean commented on New emissions target will test government, but it isn't enough
      [Comment removed].
      about 1 month…

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    47. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      Simple physics and climate
      Filed under: Climate modelling Climate Science Greenhouse gases Sun-earth connections — rasmus @ 12 November 2013
      No doubt, our climate system is complex and messy. Still, we can sometimes make some inferences about it based on well-known physical principles. Indeed, the beauty of physics is that a complex systems can be reduced into simple terms that can be quantified, and the essential aspects understood.
      A recent paper by Sloan and Wolfendale (2013) provides an example…

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    48. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half - Bugger!
      Filed under: Climate Science Instrumental Record — stefan @ 13 November 2013
      A new study by British and Canadian researchers shows that the global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is the data gaps in the weather station network, especially in the Arctic.
      If you fill these data gaps using satellite measurements, the warming trend is more than doubled in the widely used HadCRUT4 data, and the much-discussed “warming pause” has virtually disappeared.
      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/global-warming-since-1997-underestimated-by-half/

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    49. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "Your version is the more aesthetically pleasing."

      There's more difference than just aesthetics.

      "how much do we already pay to international bodies regarding this issue?"

      We pay zero for our share of any existing damage caused by global warming. Any payments Australia makes that happen to help pay for such damage come out of the (declining) general foreign aid budget.

      Now that I've answered your question, my question is (still): how do you propose we should organize paying for the damage that we will be partly responsible for?

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    50. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      We don't. We support the adoption of renewable tech over a period of time without cruelling the economy with rapid, unfocussed/poorly targeted expenditure that has no measurable effect on dangerous climate change.

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    51. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      So what? That doesn't make him a troll, just someone who pisses you off. You can find fault with anyone who regularly posts here. We ALL get the shits sometimes.
      It doesn't change the fact that he has got a very good point about jet fuel emissions.

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    52. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      And, what pray tell, is the breakdown of the sale and extent of the international operation of those 90 companies.
      Thank God Julia, didn't get hold of that or she would've had us burning effigies in the streets - a government sponsored program of course, you know to fight deadly climate change.

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    53. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Hmmm. I thought that 'payments' were supposed to somehow reduce public consumpion of energy, not just as a sop to the conscience so we can increase our consumption without feeling guilty.

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    54. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      re "So what? That doesn't make him a troll, .." so what nothing. Being a Troll makes him a Troll. Check the definition online.

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    55. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      "And, what pray tell, is the breakdown of the sale and extent of the international operation of those 90 companies. " Look it up if your interested. I'm not your secretary!

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    56. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      John Phillip does not check things for himself ever (typical Troll behaviour), but other readers may be interested in this: TROLLS

      Astroturfing the climate wars: five ways to spot a troll on The Conversation!
      https://theconversation.com/astroturfing-the-climate-wars-five-ways-to-spot-a-troll-19011

      WIKI: A troll sows discord on Internet discussion forums
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

      "How To Handle A Troll" and stop their antics permanently!
      http://www.angelfire.com/space/usenet/

      Anti Troll FAQ
      http://brucedp.150m.com/internet_trolls/internettrollanti.html

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    57. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      As soon as you recognise a Liar, don't try to get him to prove his facts - it's impossible, and he knows this.

      But, ultimately, there can be only one way to deal with him: Killfile him.

      Do not let yourself be seduced into having an argument over the validity of his "facts".

      http://www.angelfire.com/space/usenet/#six

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    58. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      "We don't. We support the .."

      So who is this WE John that you speak for here? Or is it only the 'Royal We' oh King of the Hill?

      Something tells me your psychological boundaries are bleeding all over the place. Research that. If 'all of you' can come to an agreement :)

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    59. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Thanks for the assessment, Sean. Unfortunately, you are incorrect. The implication that I am a troll is pretty juvenile but if that's all you've got, so be it. I have been called worse by better.

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    60. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      You said that you do not advocate that Australia should refuse to take responsibility for our behaviour until everyone else does.

      But you still haven't answered my question - Are you advocating that Australia should adopt emission reduction targets that would see us do our fair share to prevent dangerous climate change? (e.g., those recommended by the Climate Change Authority)

      If not then you, just like our new government, are in effect advocating that Australia should refuse to take responsibility for our behaviour until everyone else does. And adopting this attitude is a sure fire way to ensure that we have little to no chance of preventing dangerous climate change.

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    61. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      RE "if that's all you've got" .. well it isn't. Specific issues have been laid at your feet numerous times and these always get ignored and dismissed out of hand by your good self. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I am not incorrect. I am not juvenile. I am not using ad hom either, but labeling X for what it is based on the overt evidence that anyone can see if they choose to look. Doesn't bother me. Nothing personal.

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    62. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Phillip

      John P "We support the adoption of renewable tech over a period of time". Why do you support decarbonising our economy, if doing so will make no difference to global warming? Surely, you are thereby saying you support wasted expenditure and effort?

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    63. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Not at all, Doug. I support renewables because, at some point, fossil fuels will become too expensive and I, personally, like the idea of being independent of major corporations and government.

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    64. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Phillip

      John P "I support renewables because, at some point, fossil fuels will become too expensive." Fair comment. We certainly agree on that. The question may be whether they are already too expensive, because of what they are doing to the climate: I think that is the case.

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    65. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad I am against wasting our wealth taking action that will be ineffectual. You seem to be arguing that we need to take action based on some debatable value of 'fair'. Not interested. If it's going to have no effect on dangerous climate change, why do it? To feel good about ourselves isn't a valid justification.

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    66. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      So you really are advocating that Australia should refuse to take responsibility for our behaviour until everyone else does. That is completely unethical in my book.

      Adopting this attitude is a sure fire way to ensure that we have little to no chance of preventing dangerous climate change (why would the other poorer nations of the world choose to do their fair share when a wealthy high per capita polluting nation like Australia refuses to do its fair share?). My kids and grandkids will have every right to hold you accountable for your choice to oppose Australia doing its fair share.

      The only sense in which our fair share of emission reductions is in any way 'debatable' is with respect to whether or not we should also be responsible for our massive historical emissions.

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    67. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, what constitutes 'our fair share' is the debatable part. Different sources produce different figures.
      If you ask people to take action, you at least have to be able to tell them what the effects of that action are and do it in real terms. You don't do that. You can't say that a given action will lead to a given result because you know that this country's actions don't matter in terms of affecting the global climate. If you can state the figures to prove me wrong then do so. We know you cant…

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    68. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      It is simply untrue when you say "this country's actions don't matter in terms of affecting the global climate." Australia's greenhouse gas emissions (current, future and historical) drive climate change just the same as every other nation's. Australians have massive per capita emissions so we actually have more responsibility than the overwhelming majority of the world's population. Yet you seem to think that other nations with smaller current and historical per capita emissions should take more responsibility than Australia. This is clearly a very unethical position to take. Australia's past and current behaviour is doing harm to others around the world now and in the future. We should be facing up to our responsibilities to, at least, prevent further harm.

      Your attempts to duck and weave around our ethical obligations to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions are plain for all to see now and in the future.

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    69. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, I disagree that my position is unethical. I am not ducking and weaving around anything. This country has given a commitment of a 5% reduction. You say that it should be around 38%. Your claim that, aiming at the former rather than the latter is unethical, is debatable. I've asked you to justify that shift by explaining and quantifying the difference it will make to dangerous climate change. You are yet to do that. You've referred me to articles that talk about 'fair share' in general terms…

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    70. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      John re "If you are serious about winning the hearts and minds of the public, you'll simply have to do better." not necessarily focusing on Brad, that was a very good point. It rings true, and imho is the crux of the problem we all have in the pubic and political 'debates' especially in this nation that goes on and on and goes no where. I think everyone is sick of it. :)
      I'm not quite seeing what brad says being a guilt trip, though understand how it can be read that way by others. i think his…

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    71. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      This isn't some hypothetical, I personally know plenty of young people who are already holding the rest of us to account for our behaviour in relation to climate change and this will only grow as the costs of inaction become more apparent.

      If you aren't ducking and weaving around our ethical obligations to not shift the costs of our behaviour onto future generations then please explain how we are going to prevent dangerous climate change when a wealthy high per capita polluting country like Australia isn't prepared to do its fair share?

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    72. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, unless you can quantify the effects of that action, your argument is pointless. The wealth or otherwise of Australia is irrelevant. It is the overall quantity of CO2 emitted that is the problem. To that end, action by Australia doesn't rate.
      BTW, how are these young people holding us to account? What facts are they basing their decisions and opinions on?

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    73. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      The young people are telling the rest of us that it is not ok for us to continue to pass the costs of our behaviour onto them.

      They base this on the fact that Australia is a laggard in international climate change negotiations who is now actively undermining attempts to prevent dangerous climate change and is refusing to do its fair share.

      You haven't answered my question - If you aren't ducking and weaving around our ethical obligations to not shift the costs of our behaviour onto future generations then please explain how we are going to prevent dangerous climate change when a wealthy high per capita polluting country like Australia isn't prepared to do its fair share?

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    74. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Phillip

      @John Phillip. Another overall factoid about AGW Forcings fyi and really worth keeping in mind John (and others) is that GHG emissions really only account for circa 50% of total man-made drivers of global warming. And CO2 itself is only half of that or circa 25% in total.

      The other 50% is concrete manufacture and use, land use changes over time, agriculture in particular fertilisers world wide including Australias massive farming exports, land clearing and massive native rain forest destruction…

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    75. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      > . . I personally know plenty of young people who are already holding the rest of us to account for our behaviour in relation to climate change . . . >

      Of course you do! Isn't that what young people always do? Blame the older generation.

      I'd ask the young people "What are you doing about 'climate change'?

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    76. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Umm.

      Shouldn't we then not pass on the benefits of our 'climate damaging' technology to them as well?

      No airconditioning in the offices where 'young people' work. No computers, of course. Definitely no dryers or dish washers, but probably also back to the old scrubbing board and wringers. No detergents, by the way -- just good old yellow soap. No synthetic fibres and definitely nothing plastic. No TV or DVDs or anything using satelite technology. Forget using anything that benefits from the undersea cables. Forget the profligacy of refrigerators in every home.

      (Well, I know you sweet young things in your fifties think these things are normal -- but that is because they were 'invented' by your elders and bequesthed to you :-)

      In fact -- maybe nothing that was invented or came into use after the Industrial Revolution.

      What fun :-)

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    77. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Evelyn,

      Of course the adults of today should be held responsible for any negative impacts their behaviour has and will have on the kids of today and tomorrow.

      These young people are doing everything they can to prevent dangerous climate change. What are you doing Evelyn?

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    78. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, I think we need to be clear about the definition of 'we'. Who are you talking about, the Australian population or the human species in general? If is the former, we aren't going to make a lick of difference to global warming regardless of which mitigation policy we adopt. (Of course, feel free to correct me on this anytime you can present the data to do so.). In the second case, you are assuming that Australia is some sort of major international player and our decision will influence 'world opinion' . As before, what exactly constitutes our fair share is a highly debatable figure.

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    79. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      At the most basic level our fair share of emission reductions is fairly simple to calculate from the remaining carbon budget divided by the number of people on the planet. It is not highly debatable.

      The truth is that because we have massive per capita emissions Australians can actually have more of an impact in helping to prevent dangerous climate change than the overwhelming majority of the world's population.

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    80. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Trying to bring a little bit of common sense into this debate.

      It is very easy to lay the balme on 'others'. it is also very easy to spout rhetoric.

      Which i'm afraid i what most people involved in th 'cimate change' debate re doing. By and large everybody is trying to lay the balme anywhere buy on themseleve while bleating that 'something must be done!'

      Me I'm awful! I use my computer. When the tempeerature gets over 27 degrees I put the Air-con on. I buy groceries and other products…

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    81. Brad Farrant

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

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Evelyn,

      This isn't about laying blame, it is about taking responsibility for our behaviour to make sure that we don't transfer the costs of it onto the kids of today and tomorrow.

      Glad to hear about all the positive steps you are taking.

      My wife and I do everything we can to avoid passing on the costs of our behaviour. We avoid unnecessary travel, we use public transport, we consume as little as possible, we use renewable energy, and carbon offset whatever we can't avoid. Although the system needs to change so that Australia can do its fair share to prevent dangerous climate change, individuals can and should make changes today to get responsible for their own behaviour.

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    82. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      "It is very easy to lay the balme on 'others'"

      Yeah, generally when people are guilty, blaming them is rather easy

      it becomes harder to blame people when they are innocent.

      Your comment is the equivilant of stating "It is very easy to blame a murderer for their actions" - yes, yes it is

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  6. Chris Harries

    logged in via Facebook

    National carbon emission figures have to be somewhat dodgy, since certain major emissions are not accounted for. In the case of Australia, where significant manufacturing has shifted to China and elsewhere, we appear to have an improved national emissions profile, but are, in fact, importing increasing amounts of embodied carbon energy in the various items we import, cement being a big and growing one. A flattening of Australia's emissions can partly be explained by the success of energy efficiency programs here but more so to the above embodied energy factor.

    The only fairly reliable figures to go on are global figures that are calculated from the toting up of hydrocarbons that are exploited and traded, and it is these emission figures that are still rising. Since we all share the same air, our responsibility as a nation is to recognise that global problem and recognise we are a major player in the cause of it and therefore the resolution of it.

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  7. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    And still no discussion of ocean acidification, which is on schedule to extinguish major sea food chains before 2050, even if we stopped all CO2 emissions today.

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  8. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    Why shouldn't we adopt nuclear power? Here are a few expert reasons from an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The rest of the article is definitely worth reading and can be accessed at http://bos.sagepub.com/content/69/4/30, but those without university access will have to pay

    Meeting the world’s energy needs entirely with wind, water, and solar power
    Mark A. Delucchi and Mark Z. Jacobson
    July 1, 2013

    As for nuclear energy, there are many reasons that it is less desirable…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Newton

      "Moreover, nuclear engineers have rela- tively little experience with construct- ing or running thorium reactors."

      Doesn't that mean they should create opportunities for getting experience?

      Ironically, because Thorium reactors provide little, if any opportunity for producing weapons material, governments have shown little interest in them because their prime interest has been nuclear weapons.

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Newton

      "breeder reactors have several disadvantages: They are too costly; they have special safety and reliability problems related to the use of sodium cool- ant"

      This is not being particularly honest because sodium coolant doesn't need to be used at all. Liquid fluoride can be used instead.

      In relation to liquid fluoride reactors, one of the worst decisions ever made was the Nixon administration effectively shutting down molten salt reactor research in favor of liquid metal reactor research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Weinberg . Weinberg advocated increased nuclear safety using molten salt reactors but the Nixon administration fired him.

      One of the consequences of this decision is ill-informed comments such as the above.

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    3. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      You're saying the people who wrote that article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists are ill-informed?

      Dr. Mark A. Delucchi is a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, specializing in economic, environmental, engineering, and planning analyses of current and future transportation systems. He is a member of the Alternative Fuels Committee and the Energy Committee of the Transportation Research Board.

      Mark Z Jacobson B.S. Civil Engineering, B.A. Economics, and M.S. Environmental Engineering (1988) Stanford University
      M.S. (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) Atmospheric Science, University of California at Los Angeles
      And
      Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program
      Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment
      Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy

      Hardly ill-informed. You can argue with their findings but their credentials ain't too shabby

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    4. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      If Australia was run by a dictator/king today, and the decision was made to go full on no matter the cost for new safer GenIV nuclear power stations (such as several already operating in China and the world) the lead time before one could toast a single piece of bread is circa <30 years.

      The other issue is that if say a Nuclear plant had a lifespan of 50 years one still needs to factor in about 10-15 years worth of significant CO2e (plant & equip & concrete) before ANY Net gain is achieved.

      So that means that effectively a GO today means reductions in CO2e would begin circa 40-45 years from now. Nuclear in australia, even a 100% safe one, is not an option if the short term goal is a massive 80% + reduction in global CO2e by 2050. imho, by memory of various bits and pieces. .

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      "<30 years"

      If our CO2 emissions could be brought to a complete halt in 30 years then the problem would be solved. How many of our coal burning power stations will still be burning coal in 30+, 40+, 50+ years? Most of them.

      "about 10-15 years worth of significant CO2e"

      That's an exaggeration unless your have a credible citation.

      "Nuclear in australia, is not an option".

      It's not particularly significant in Australia. Far more significant is what China and India do. Australia can play its part in starting-up India's Thorium-based nuclear by exporting as much Uranium to India as India wants: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India%27s_three_stage_nuclear_power_programme

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    6. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Hi Chris, re ["about 10-15 years worth of significant CO2e" That's an exaggeration unless your have a credible citation.]
      I couldn't be bothered with a citation, that's why i used the 'about'. This aspect I looked into years ago and I have forgotten most of what I learnt then. I'm not a computer hard drive see? If I wrote a book or submitted a paper i'd provide the citations. If you or anyone else is interested in looking into the 'facts' feel free. It's a 'heads up' Chris and not a determined statement…

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    7. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Oh ps, one could say well we could bring in nuclear scientists and other experts on FIFO 457 Visas. Sure one could if they wanted to drain existing nations with nuclear programs of their "human resources" But there are not many unemployed nuclear plant experts who are not already employed gainfully, and stretched beyond limits as it is. Maybe Nth Koreans would be interested in coming though. :) There is no significant academic support base for such a move existing here to train them either. These…

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      "I'm not a computer hard drive see?"

      That's fine. But it doesn't mean you're not exaggerating.

      "My research showed something like a coal fired power station had a building CO2e less than 10% of that of Nuclear."

      Easy to say but no-one knows what exactly it refers to or how much of an exaggeration it is.

      "Australia simply does NOT have the capital base, govt supervision/planning expertise and scientific knowledge base nor construction and management experience to .."

      I'm not denying that. That's why I said it's not significant for Australia. But it makes it all the sillier to ban nuclear power stations if they're not going to be economic here anyway. Makes the people who implement the ban look like they are simply ideologues.

      As I implied, Australia's biggest responsibility with nuclear energy is to supply Uranium to countries such as India that need it.

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    9. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      " But it doesn't mean you're not exaggerating." and for all I or you know I could well be understating the reality equally so. So, only solution is go check the hard evidence for yourself, and don't believe me NOR yourself. You have no supporting evidence to suggest i am exaggerating bar it just "don't sound right" to you. See? It's a guess on your part, complaining about my memory. This is silly and woolly thinking. The info is out there in detailed credible research reports. I know I have seen a lot of it with my own eyes.
      I have no issue with Australia selling uranium. Write your state senator and local member about it. No argument here on that point. :)

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    10. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      "I could well be understating the reality equally so"

      Extremely unlikely to be equally so. Sounds a lot more like an exaggeration to me. Especially compared with the amount of steel and concrete used for wind turbines. Your 15 years compared with 50 years figure would mean an order of one third of the energy produced by a nuclear power station would be consumed in its construction. Such a ratio would destroy the economics of all nuclear power stations to begin with. The fact that lots of nuclear…

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    11. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      re: "Such a ratio would destroy the economics of all nuclear power stations to begin with. The fact that lots of nuclear power stations exist in many countries is a counter-example to your claim."
      <sigh> No it doesn't. Please try and pay attention to what was said. It had NOTHING to do with *economics* which you twisted my words into above, but the amount of CO2e contained therein. I never said a single word about "economics" or costs per se, but lots about the CO2e component. Have another look…

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    12. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      "NOTHING to do with *economics* "

      You just don't understand my point. To begin with, NO scheme can be economic if it produces less energy than it consumes. However, the laws of economics go further than that. For any scheme that takes time to produce energy after an initial investment of energy, the energy it produces must be more than the energy invested years earlier simply to break even. If you're talking about 50 years between investment and return then the return has to be several times the…

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Newton

      You can argue by authority if you like but the fact remains that completely ignoring molten salt reactors is not being honest. I note that you do not dispute my point.

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    14. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      By the way, making a claim of hypocrisy is not an ad hom argument.

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    15. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      quickly .... re "To begin with, NO scheme can be economic if it produces less energy than it consumes."

      Maaaaaate, I was NOT talking about "energy" either but CO2e emissions. - given the previous comments of nuclear being a non-fossil fuel low co2e power plant producing energy and the article subject that co2e needs to fall.

      Whilst dams use far more concrete, overall they are less co2e intensive to construct, last much longer, cheaper to run and long term far more safer to operate than nuclear. So are all other renewables already .. and they will only get cheaper and far more efficient energy wise. :)

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    16. Mark Duffett

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Most of this is untrue. The thing with dams is not just the concrete in the dam itself, but the methane emitted from anaerobic decomposition of vegetation in the impoundment - and methane is far more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2. Their design lifetime is generally <50% greater than that of nuclear power stations (not what I'd call "much longer"). And they are demonstrably much *less* safe than nuclear, by at least a factor of hundreds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam)

      And the majority of estimates are that, all things considered, nuclear's CO2e/kWh produced is comparable to that of wind and hydro, and substantially less than that of solar: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn_383-carbon-footprint-electricity-generation.pdf

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    17. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mark Duffett

      Hi mark, I couldn't be bothered about dams etc. except to say the CO2e construction component is all up front with a time delay before reliable generation supply.

      Now originally I said, and which Chris got twisted out of shape over (was my memory based) - " one still needs to factor in about 10-15 years worth of significant CO2e (plant & equip & concrete) before ANY Net gain is achieved." This is the context of my comments. My research was back in mid 2000s and have forgotten most of it - Thx…

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    18. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      In case anyone is interested, and doesn't want to waste their time Swiskoski's co2e/kwh is 10 times higher than the figures in the UK paper. Pay back time was up to 12-14 years inside my ABOUT 10-15 years range. But most of what I say is "untrue", is "hypocritical" and "exaggerated" ... yet everyone else has got it right. Sure they have. Depends on what cherries are being picked in their dreams. <shrug>

      Global CO2e emissions could be cut tomorrow by 10% across the board permanently tomorrow and solve thousands of other serious human problems across the planet at the same time. Kill the Internet! Just turn it off.

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    19. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Well I dunno.

      But we have a problem of 'wasted' energy.

      Why do we actually rely on electricity when we are therefore obliged to waste our own energy go g to the gym or jogging, or playing sport?

      We coud go quite well to 'treadle operated thingies. Just think, sit on out pedal machine and pedal to produce the electricity needed to run th TV we are watching :-) We coud pedal away to send out our emails, too :-)

      Or using a hand operated drill or saw. Or a hand held knife to cut the roast…

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    20. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to Mark Duffett

      Methane is a gas that can be burned to provide energy. Where methane is a problem then it should be collected and used.

      However if have a sneaking feeing that it is only produced in significant amounts in the first few years after the dam was filled anyway

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    21. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "You can argue by authority ..." that's a fallacy argument to suggest the 'fallacy' arguing from authority when that is NOT what John Newton was doing at all. If you are going to apply 'fallacies' to your arsenal to win a debating point, best make sure you know what you;re talking about first and do a bit more research and study on the matter Chris.
      Fallacies & Semantics

      "Tweedledee, 'If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.' " Lewis…

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    22. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      What makes Chris O'Neill a Troll on TheCon?

      All Trolls, Controversials, Liars, Boreds and Confrontationalists use "Logical Fallacies" - in other words, they lie, change their minds, or otherwise simply claim any perspective other than the concensus.

      Logical Fallacies can be a legitimate form of discussion in many instances. But Trolls can use this to their advantage, suggesting that fallacies arise in their "opponents" arguments, where, in truth, those fallacies (90% of the time) do not exist. http://www.angelfire.com/space/usenet/

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    23. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      re "By the way, making a claim of hypocrisy is not an ad hom argument."

      Chris .. you said quoting "You're just being a hypocrite." + "What a hypocrite you are."

      Now if I was actually being a hypocrite you might have a valid debating point. Given I am not, you are stooping to ad hom to try and win your irrational argument that isn't supported by valid facts, and does NOT undermine the general point & argument I was making that Nuclear is not a valid option right now for australia IF cutting GHGs asap to avoid 2C+ is the primary goal of using it.

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    24. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      This is really silly Chris " So notions that a nuclear power station would ever be built if it only produced three times as much energy as was invested in its construction are simply laughable."

      You are putting words in my mouth, making strawmen iow. No where have I claimed what you suggest above. If I did, it would be laughable. Given I didn't, it ain't. The jokes on you I think.

      RE " It's not my fault if finance 101 is beyond you. " Really? You know this "because" ...... ? How can i put this nicely and protect the innocent? Nah, doesn't matter you wouldn't believe me anyway. :)

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    25. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Evelyn, re "But honestly, our society has become so profligate with the use of electricity and internal combustion machinery." and the rest you said is very true and very wise in my opinion.

      Did you know that approx. 10% of the globes electricity goes to just keep the Internet running? :)

      I think we might be well on the way to returning to having to use a hand operated drill or saw as the only existing alternatives in the future. Best.

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    26. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      "The other issue is that if say a Nuclear plant had a lifespan of 50 years one still needs to factor in about 10-15 years worth of significant CO2e (plant & equip & concrete) before ANY Net gain is achieved."

      Complete and utter garbage.

      Taking your gratuitous advice, the figure I found for the energy required to construct AND operate (40 year) per 1000MWe of nuclear power plant was 24.7 PJ (thermal). The energy output of such a plant is 75.6 PJ/year, so the the time taken before there is a net gain in energy over the build energy cost (even including the operation energy cost) is less than 4 MONTHS.

      So you can take your 10-15 years and shove them where the Sun don't shine. You're as arrogant as any denialist.

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    27. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Really? So you found a source that fits your opinion, and you don't even give the url, let alone give a hard copy/paste of the facts you claim are there. I have seen this kind of thing before.

      Meanwhile, I already posted some info to Mark Duffett which fell onto my lap, and it's from Australia in 2006. You may remember it? This report Commissioned by Howard ... what was the final decision? It was NO.

      Life-Cycle Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Nuclear Power in Australia
      Energy payback…

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    28. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to John Newton

      > . . .Why shouldn't we adopt nuclear power? . . . .

      Simple, because it is still relying on non-renewable resources as well as fuelling increased use of 'energy'.
      Truly what is needed is NOT substitute sources of 'power' but less usage of power.

      I can remember those heady days when plastic Supermarket bags were brought in -- it was going to save our planet by phasing out paper bags which were endangering us by the felling god trees.

      (Funny though. We didn't get more forests out of that!)

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    29. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      "I have seen this kind of thing before."

      So have I: https://theconversation.com/carbon-emissions-still-growing-when-they-must-fall-report-20412#comment_260495

      I think the name for this type of behavior is shameless hypocrisy.

      For what it's worth, my citation tables R3 EROIs for a variety of plants ranging from 10.5 to 24 for diffusion enrichment and from 43 to 59 for centrifuge enrichment, as well as a breakdown of the input energies for one of those cases: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Energy-and-Environment/Energy-Analysis-of-Power-Systems/

      "it sure made you angry"

      I never get angry with shameless hypocrites.

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    30. Mark Duffett

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Generation IV reactor technology can in principle sustain all of humanity at first-world energy consumption levels for millennia. If that's not renewable, it's so close to it as makes no difference.

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  9. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "If we want to meet the target it will mean rapid decreases from now of several per cent per year until we get down to one third of current emissions in 30 years time." Makes our target of 5% by 2020 look pathetic, doesn't it? Direct Action cannot be scaled up to meet a goal of several percent per year.

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  10. Geoffrey Sherrington

    Surveyor

    What is the justification misleading by presenting a photograph showing water vapour coming from chimneys, in an article headlined "Carbon emissions...."?
    In case you missed it in Chemistry class, there is no carbon in water vapour.

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      You have got to be kidding! What a joke!!!

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    2. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Where is the joke? Look at the headline photo. It shows backlit water condensate. It is with an article about carbon. It will give people like children a wrong impression because there is no description of the outlandish deception. It's simply false advertising coupled with an attempt to indoctrinate.

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    3. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Where is the joke?

      It, right now, is looking at your computer monitor Geoffrey.

      I suggest to take your issue up with the NPP - The National Photographic Police.
      Dial Freecall 1800 123 456 789

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  11. Evelyn Haskins

    retired

    You might get a better understandig of the problem if you stop calling them 'carbon emissions'.

    It is an increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere that you mean. Every molecule of carbon dioxide contains two atoms of oxygen and only one atom of carbon.
    It is burning carbon componds to ash that causes the CO2 build up.

    Carbon emissions themselves would not be a problem at all -- in fact if we burned more organic material to create carbon, the CO2 levels in the astmosphere shoud decline…

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Hi Evelyn. It would be more accurate to use the term CO2e ... that means "CO2 equivalent" as far as the ghg effect is calculated of all the gases emitted that tend to increase warming.

      CO2 is but one of the gases involved, and it only accounts for about 50% of the CO2e. And then there are other issues over and above CO2e that are contributing to the long term warming trends.

      This graph may help - The Radiative-Forcing bar chart: AR5 version - http://www.realclimate.org/images/ipcc_rad_forc_ar5.jpg

      There is an article written by working climate scientists for the public that explains this here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/10/the-evolution-of-radiative-forcing-bar-charts/
      Best.

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    2. Barry Naughten

      Energy political economist and international relations specialist at Australian National University

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Evelyn, Sean
      There are several sources of complexity or potential confusion here.
      (1) Targets are set in terms of CO2 equivalent but conversion to COe for the component of greenhouse gas emissions other than CO2 depends on assumptions and conventions;
      (2) Emission levels from various sources, such as the fossil fuel sector, are typically cited by the climate scientists in terms of contained carbon and with the unit PgC (Petagrams of contained carbon). By contrast, energy sector analysts replace…

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    3. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Barry Naughten

      Thx Barry. The Clash of Conventions .. a good title for a movie? :)
      Much appreciated that you added this note.

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    4. Evelyn Haskins

      retired

      In reply to Barry Naughten

      > . . . these sorts of complications. To some extent, they can be avoided by reducing or simplifying the message . . >

      Unfortunately I do not agree with you. As an ex Secondary Science Teacher I can assure you that 'simplifying the message' leads to people misunderstanding what is involved.

      Un-teaching misunderstandings and previously acquired incorrect information previously received is very much harder than teaching correctly in the first place.

      Keep talking about 'carbon' and we get the pollies coming up with all sorts of irrational ideas that will do nothing to address the real problems of too many people and too much alienated land and too much buring of carbon fuels to produce CO2 (and whatever other gasses).

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    5. Barry Naughten

      Energy political economist and international relations specialist at Australian National University

      In reply to Evelyn Haskins

      Evelyn
      Having once been one myself I would not want to under-estimate the key role of secondary science teachers (or primary and tertiary ones). Climate science and climate history and its interaction with the history of human civilisation should be on the curricula and teachers need to be equipped to do justice to these fields.
      I frankly don't know why the climate scientists use Pg of contained carbon as the unit rather than Pg (or billion tonne) of CO2, consistent with the quantification of the…

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    6. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Barry Naughten

      Barry re " it has been recognised that aspects of the actual world are not capable of simple representation in analytically solvable equations. Hence, there is a role for complex models and super-computer-based simulations"
      Excellent turn of phrase. Would love to see you and Emeritus Professor John Nicol having a chat and videoing it for youtube. :)

      re "I frankly don't know why the climate scientists use Pg of contained carbon etc" I suspect it goes back to cultural norms and historical science in various nations. But one would think that by 2013 the IPCC or someone would simply the 'communication' for accuracy's sake. Climate is complex enough already without the 'semantics' & 'jargon' issues that persist since the 1980s now. .

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    7. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Barry Naughten

      Part of the general confusion arises via those who have suddenly become experts in all things carbon, attempting to lecture us all from the self-appointed grandeur of climate change, that most vital topic before which all must prostrate.
      In reality, this is simple chemistry at high school level. Take the pixie dust from the eyelids and face reality. Recognise that the information has no inherent value to all but the specialist, because the majority of readers cannot do any significant act when apprised of the solution to the general confusion.
      Unqualified stickybeaks are looking into science with little apparent comprehension and no real need..
      The solutions include not writing unless a topic has value, not straying outside fields of expertise, recognising that much climate science is poor science and not publishing part-completed work.

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  12. Glen Sheather

    telecomunications Technical officer

    The world is fast approaching the point where we will have to consider nuclear power as the only feasible form of power generation which produces zero carbon.

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  13. Glen Sheather

    telecomunications Technical officer

    You often hear that Australia is one of the largest producers of carbon dioxide in the OECD. There is one simple reason for that. We are one of the few if not the only country that does not get any of it's power from nuclear power generation (which produces no carbon dioxide). Most OECD countries use power generated by nuclear power stations from either producing it themselves or purchasing it from a neighboring country.

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Glen Sheather

      Glen re " There is one simple reason for that." It's is never that simplistic. Nuclear power is but one single aspect to a far more complex and intertwined reality.

      eg Forgetting about the rest of the world for a moment and looking at Oz in isolation. We are a nation now of 22 million, but only 4 decades ago the population was 13,303,664.

      Whilst predominantly living in cities this population was still spread across a continent almost the size of the US mainland. Florida, smaller than SE Qld…

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  14. Sean Arundell

    Uncommon Common Sense

    Some Carbon Emissions Historical Info and Future Forecasts / Goals

    Global Carbon Atlas - See bottom #3 Timeline Visual - Play 1960-2012
    http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/?q=emissions

    Contraction & Convergence is an emissions management model that relates to the 'objective' and the 'principles' of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC].
    Climate Justice without Vengeance. http://www.gci.org.uk/index.html

    START HERE: Real Climate site
    One stop link for resources that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change. Different people have different needs and so we will group resources according to the level people start at. For complete beginners: onwards http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

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  15. Evelyn Haskins

    retired

    We are still rattling on about to providing on-tap power for all of our machines.

    You people are simply not thinking of all the ramifications of the whole problem.

    Now here's a thought! Sort-of from 'outside the box' :-)

    We have people in gaol who owe a debt to society.

    Yet it is costing the tax-payer to keep these people in gaol. While they get to walk around aimlessly in the prison precincts. And eating food which they are busy turning into CO2 (and urea and lactic acid and such…

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  16. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " India and China are leading the way on emissions growth, increasing emissions by 7.7% and 5.9% respectively. "
    The key lines to be read rather than attempt to be reading between the lines regardless of the validity of the 2C.
    If you look not just at the populations of those two countries but that of the developing countries that account for 57% of emissions as it is claimed, reality is that we can expect to see continued increases given not just population increases but also those populations…

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  17. Glen Sheather

    telecomunications Technical officer

    China only produces 35% of the worlds coal but accounts for 80% of the world coal mining deaths. Mining deaths (recorded) in China in 2006 were 4746 people so there for world death estimates to about 5932 people/year

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  18. Sean Arundell

    Uncommon Common Sense

    quoting the age polling Nov 25th
    Tony Abbott's efforts to repeal Labor's carbon tax have the backing of voters, with a new poll showing 57 per cent of people want it gone now.
    But in a blow to the Prime Minister's plans, more people like the supposedly ''toxic'' carbon tax than his proposed replacement policy.
    Just 12 per cent of voters believe Mr Abbott's ''direct action'' policy of using taxpayer funds to purchase emissions reductions from polluters, and planting trees, is the answer. That…

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  19. Sean Arundell

    Uncommon Common Sense

    What Does the New IPCC Report Say About Climate Change?
    1. The warming is unequivocal.
    2. Humans caused the majority of it.
    3. The warming is largely irreversible.
    4. Most of the heat is going into the oceans.
    5. Current rates of ocean acidification are unprecedented.
    6. We have to choose which future we want very soon.
    7. To stay below 2°C of warming, the world must become carbon negative.
    8. To stay below 2°C of warming, most fossil fuels must stay buried in the ground.
    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2013/10/what-does-the-new-ipcc-report-say-about-climate-change/
    Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.UmSc6Plmh8E

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