Archive for June 7th, 2011

June 7, 2011

Youtube: The Post-Garnaut Algorithm

This is a video version of this “Bluffer’s Guide” to the post-Garnaut world. Apols for low production values – I am a bit rusty at this. I do hope someone has a cheerful fifth option for a sequel?

Here’s the script, if I were even less audible than I thought…

On May 31, Ross Garnaut presented his final Climate Change report to Prime Minister Gillard. Speaking logically, there’s four options.
If it were accepted as the basis for legislation, and if that legislation became law, and if everything worked just ticky boo, then we could expect to see 5% cuts in emissions (on a 2010 baseline) by 2020. Since the scientists are saying we need 25 to 40 percent cuts on a 1990 baseline.
Well then, of course, we’re screwed
If it were not somehow not accepted as the basis for legislation, the whole problem would be kicked back to the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, and the emissions would keep climbing while we kept perseverating.
Well then, of course, we’re screwed
After the next election, the new government keeps the legislation. It’s option one, a year or two hence. Well then, of course, we’re screwed. Or the new government overturns the legislation. Well then, of course, we’re screwed.
So, what do we do? We prepare for all four options. We don’t lie to ourselves that getting the legislation around a price on pollution is an adequate goal. Or even much of a stepping stone towards adequate goals. This problem is the result of over two hundred years of using the atmosphere as a sewer. We ain’t gonna fix it overnight.

PS “To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.”

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June 7, 2011

Hug a Climate Scientist Day?

So, about this “Friday is Hug a Climate Scientist Day” thing.

I’m not sure the jokey “hug” meme is a proper or effective response to the death threat stuff that has presumably inspired it.

I think it should be “Get Bolt and Abbott and the other clowns to repudiate the use of moronic anti-science rhetoric publicly and repeatedly” Day, and Saturday could be “Have Bolt and Abbott and the other clowns publicly and repeatedly describe anyone who sends abusive emails etc to climate scientists, let alone death threats, as an embarrassment to bipeds everywhere” Day. (The titles may need some refinement, it’s true.)

I *ALSO* think that practical solidarity with climate scientists looks a bit different than what is presumably going to be a blizzard of tweets and feel-good photo opportunities.

Practical solidarity looks like, IMHO
– becoming effective climate activists, who innovate instead of repeat dinosaur formats (rallies, marches), and who have up-to-date websites instead of embarrassingly ugly and usually out-of-date ones, who reflect on how the movement can grow, learn, organise and win, and implement those ideas, instead of whining about climate deniers and the government and big business all the time.
– skilling up on science communication so that it isn’t left just to scientists to communicate this stuff. They are busy, and it’s not their skill-set.
– skilling up so become able to read the actual scientific papers themselves and then convert them into “English” (or French, Mandarin, whatever)
– skilling up on the use of youtube and powerpoint etc to help people who think that the science is too hard to understand (it isn’t) to understand it, to the level that matters to them
– thinking beyond the next march or rally or protest about the weakness/strength of this or that legislation, and having a strategic vision
– learning to ignore climate trolls, especially the ones who start out all aggressive and sneery and then when you call them out on that adopt a victim/more conciliatory “you might learn something” line (it’s a variation of concern-trolling).

What do other people think?

P.S. Has anyone asked these climate scientists what – while we are all waiting for the denialists developing a conscience and a cerebral cortex- THEY would like to see the climate activist movement do?

EDIT at 3.30pm, 7/6/11: I picked this thing up via some tweets, which on second look have lead back to a funny cartoon at Crikey. I am sure the cartoonist, “Firstdog,” is NOT trying to create an opportunity for feel-good do-nothingness, and that he/she is very interested in what practical solidarity would actually look like (and I appreciate that question doesn’t make for a funny cartoon, which is what their job involves!).

UPDATE: I’ve sent out requests for statements from real climate scientists (I know a few) about what they would find useful in terms of practical solidarity. Have already had this brilliant reply –

The most rewarding thing for a climate scientist, in my view, is to see our long hours of hard, heading-bashing and often depressing research and associated outputs taken forward through effective, clear but not dumbed-down communication into appropriate issue-focused debates.
There is significant pressure on us to score well for our institutions by publishing in high impact journals, which makes communication through more accessible, interdisciplinary journals or material for policymakers and lay public, less common and less valued by our peers. Also, in many cases, we are not great communicators, and the visibilty of our work, which we do after all to contribute to relevant debates, is vastly enhanced by those people who are trained or train themselves to turn academic jargon into a more accessible and visible form.
Perhaps those already demonstrating the drive to motivate and faciliate the debates could take more advantage of training opportunities or learning by doing to further compliment our incremental and sometimes rather inaccessible work. I somehow feel that it will do more good than a hug-and pleased to report that I don’t need to seek out strangers for one if I need one.

June 7, 2011

They Call Him Bruce*

The best daily paper published in Adelaide, the Advertiser, reports that “former Economic Development Board chairman Bruce Carter has been appointed to two climate-change bodies.”

Those two bodies are
a) The Premier’s Climate Change Council

The Premier’s Climate Change Council (PCCC) is a high-level independent council that advises the Premier of South Australia Open in new window on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.
Members of the council come from South Australia’s public, private and not-for-profit sectors with backgrounds including business, natural resources, science and environmental management. PCCC members are appointed for a term of up to three years.
The PCCC was established under Division 2 of South Australia’s climate change legislation.

b) The board of RenewablesSA.

Its charter is to:
* Develop and oversee the implementation of a framework for attracting renewable energy investment to South Australia
* Provide strategic advice to the Government on renewable energy policy issues
* Develop pathways for investment for the various sectors of the renewable energy industry and for the various stages of the investment process, namely research and development; deployment; downstream manufacturing; services; and related industries such as transmission and distribution
* Recommend to the Premier disbursements from the Renewable Energy Fund.
The Board is expected to meet six times per year. Although it is not a statutory Board, it is required to provide the Premier with an annual report on its activities.

*I know, I know, titles of blog entries are supposed to be straightforward factual – “Bruce Carter appointed to two boards” or some such. But I thought maybe the reference to this film might be amusing…