Should you look askance at climate skeptics?

There’s been a massive shitstorm in the blogosphere since a left-leaning Melbourne lawyer, Legal Eagle, outed herself as a climate change skeptic on the SkeptiClawyer blog last week (Climate change, scepticism and elitism).

Legal Eagle also appeared on SBS’s Insight program a week ago when eminent climate change scientist, Stanford University’s Professor Stephen Schneider, was confronted with an audience of non-believers (sadly, Professor Schneider died a few weeks after the show was recorded).

Legal Eagle explained on her blog why she’s skeptical:

I am a lay person, not a scientist. I can’t make any effective judgments about the science behind Professor Schneider’s figures and projections.

I don’t have the scientific or the statistical capacity to judge the various accounts as to what is going to happen with our climate. I don’t know who is right or wrong about the ‘hockey stick graph‘ Read the rest of this entry »


How important is transport in addressing climate change?

There are some salutary lessons in the Climateworks Australia report, Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia, released publicly last month.

It reinforces the point I made on 10 March (We need to be more strategic about how we tackle GHGs) that it is important to think more deliberately about how to reduce carbon emissions. The estimated contribution that traditional “urban” policies in transport, buildings and land use planning can make to reducing emissions is relatively small, contributing together just 11% of potential savings, whereas the Climateworks report estimates power generation could contribute 31% and forestry 28%. Read the rest of this entry »


Building a green economy

Outstanding feature on climate change in the New York Times Sunday magazine last weekend by Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman. This is a great primer on the key economic issues.


The ABC and climate change

Taegen Edwards has a superb letter in The Age today in response to Maurice Newman’s upbraiding of the ABC for supposed lack of balance on climate change.

She points out that unless it resorts to ideologues, opportunists, vested interests or nutters, where can the ABC possibly find someone who opposes climate change from a rational, evidence-based viewpoint?

The ABC’s obligation to ensure fundamental principles of science and logic are respected must come before any compulsion to provide ‘balance’ in ideology and political point-scoring.


We need to be more strategic about how we tackle greenhouse gases

Do we need to tackle climate change and peak oil on all fronts or would it be more strategic to focus on priority areas?

This question is prompted by reading Victoria’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 1990-2005, prepared for the 2008 Victorian Climate Change Summit by George Wickenfield & Assocs. This report calculates that 64.4% of all carbon emissions in Victoria are generated by the residential, commercial and manufacturing sectors. Almost all of these emissions are in the form of electricity generated by brown coal.

In contrast, all passenger transport in Victoria – by both car and public transport – generates only 13.9% of the State’s total carbon emissions. That’s less than a quarter of what the electricity sector generates. Read the rest of this entry »