Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Supporting Local Businesses

I am amazed at how many businesses are home-based in our area. It is great to see as it is a wonderful way to enjoy a less pressured lifestyle and of course, lower your carbon footprint!
By supporting our local businesses we are building resilience in our communities.

I recently purchased a gift at the newly opened Art at Heart Gallery, 67 Sugars Rd, Anstead. It is run by renowned artist Jacqueline Hill and well worth a visit.

Also a wonderful local eco business is Gumnut Hill, makers of environmetally friendly stationary. Perfect for that last minute Christmas gift. Contact them through their website They also have a stall at the Northey St City Farm Markets

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Climate Change - an update on the science

Professor David Karoly from University of Melbourne presented an update on the science of climate change at the annual Australian Geothermal Energy Conference in Adelaide in November 2010. Click on talk to see the presentation. In particular see slide number 16 which shows that Australia needs to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25-40% by 2020 and 90-97% by 2050 for its fair share of emissions in order to have a 50-50 chance of avoiding 2 degrees of warming. At the December 2010 Cancun climate conferenced most countries of the world committed to the 2 degree limit.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

NASA stunner: Warmest November on record, 2010 Meteorological Year Warmest as well

November 2010 was the warmest November on record according to NASA temperature data. While this might not seem surprising for a year that has already seen record warm months, Novembers record comes in the midst of a moderately strong La Nina, (a short term climate variation that causes a temporary cooling of temperatures worldwide due to the effect of cooler sea temperatures in the pacific) and during a prolonged minimum of the solar cycle.

Here's the NASA November temperature anomaly map:

Colours a how much the temperature was above (or below) the 1951-1980 average. The map clearly shows the La Nina (blue/ cooler than normal sea temperatures in the tropical pacific) as well as the cold temperatures in the UK that have been getting so much attention. Turns out though that this is totally negated by warmer than normal temperatures pretty much everywhere else, especially in and around the Arctic.

"According to NASA climatologist and Goddard director James Hansen, the main driver for the increased warmth was the Arctic, where temperatures in Hudson Bay were "10˚C above normal" for November. That month, Hansen says, "sea ice was absent while normally that [body of water] is covered by sea ice." Water devoid of ice absorbs much more solar radiation than water covered with ice, which reflects much of the radiation back toward space."
Unlike the calendar year, the Meteorological Year runs from Dec to Nov. With the Nov 2010 data now in 2010 is the warmest in the 130 year record at 0.65 dC above the long term average, surpassing the last record of 0.62 set in 2005. It now looks almost certain the 2010 calendar year will also set a record. Whether the 2010 record is enough above 2005 to be statistically significant remains to be seen, but it certainly reinforces the trend of rising global temperatures.

Here's the NASA map for the 2010 Meteorological Year temperature anomalies.

Again this is temperatures compared to the 1951-1980 average. Note: NASA make all of this data publically available and you can view temperatures graphs and create you own maps etc here.

Update: some commentary from NASA can be found here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TTKD December "Meeting" - Christmas celebration this friday

Instead of our monthly meeting TTKD will be having a Christmas celebration this friday.

We'll be supporting the Transition to a "Slow Christmas". ie: "spend less money, spend more time".

We will be having a very relaxed evening where we all come together to create Joy and Laughter & celebrate the year as we enjoy a potluck dinner together.

Bring some music or musical instruments to play, some food and drink to share (low food miles is possible) and a Secret Santa (either something grown, made, recycled, sustainable or just fun!)

When: Friday Dec 10th from 6pm
Where : Carol's place (if you don't know the address email us)

There's a BBQ available for all to use.
RSVPs by email appreciated.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hotheads, airheads and hardheads: Climate change reporting and The Australian

The Weekend Australian has launched a vigorous defense of its reporting on climate change. This particular ball seems to have got rolling when editor Chris Mitchell starting threatening to sue academic Julie Posetti for defamation. Her “crime”? Tweating the musings of a former journalist at The OZ about what it was like to report on climate change (not a happy time it seems). Lost to The OZ seems to be this audio recording of former said journalist, backing up the content of the tweats. (Also see here and here for more reaction).

Amusingly, after essentially trying to shut down criticism of their climate change coverage, The OZ then launched into a defense of publishing all and any opinions about climate change.

There is no dispute that The Australian has opened its news and opinion pages to a wide range of views on the existence and extent of climate change”.

Scientifically there is no doubt about the “existence” of climate change (the IPCC called the evidence “unequivocal”) and The OZ spends half the editorial saying they accept the science, so to defend publishing views that question the “existence” of climate change is to defend the publishing of information you know to be factually incorrect. This is false balance at the expense of accuracy. Oddly enough, just posting an online comment under one of their stories comes with the message that your comment may not be posted if it contains obvious errors of fact. So how come this seems to be ok in opinion articles and more worryingly in news articles, which readers should be able to expect are factually accurate?

One of my "favorites" in this area is this opinion piece. Here, the author starts off his ridiculous diatribe that the world is rapidly cooling towards an ice age by claiming that temperatures fell by 0.7 degrees in 2007, completely at odds with reality and such a bizarre thing to say I can only assume the author simply made it up. But this is apparently ok to publish without any fact checking, cos, you know, all views are equally valid or something.

Now to be fair, this example is from an opinion piece, which are liable to be full of nonsense, and The OZ’s main argument is that they accept the science and, news coverage notwithstanding, this is reflected in their editorials

While the views of climate sceptics have been represented in the news and opinion pages of the newspaper they have not been reflected, and have been seldom mentioned, in the paper's editorials”
The OZ cites many editorials including one from the 12th of March 2010 where they said:

For the record, The Australian has long accepted the probability of anthropogenic climate change and favoured the introduction of an emissions trading scheme”

but this very same editorial also said:

“But reputable scientists and stakeholders deserve their say, regardless of whether they subscribe to a newspaper's editorial line. This is why we have published views as diverse as those of geologist Ian Plimer..”

Except that Plimer ruined his reputation by publishing a error riddled book on climate change containing many bold but incorrect claims for which he has systematically refused to either provide supporting scientific evidence, or retract. This kind of behaviour is a death knell for scientific credibility. It also highlights one of the major criticisms of the media's coverage of climate change, “skeptics” don’t seem to require any credibility to be taken seriously by the media. Or as nobel prize winning energy secretary Steven Chu saidIf you look at the climate sceptics, I would have to say honestly, what standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want

This March 12 editorial also said:

“Climate change is a new, inexact and contestable science, and the computer modelling on which all of the more alarming claims depend are only ever as good as the data fed in. As well as greenhouse emissions, that data should take account of other determinants of temperature, primarily the sun and the heat of the earth's core. Current predictions for sea-level rises range from a few centimetres to catastrophic levels of several metres that would swamp coastal areas. Faced with such variations, it would be negligent not to examine first-hand observations, even when they contradict the results churned out by laboratory computers.”

There is a lot wrong with this paragraph but before I break it down, re-read it and consider how it gels with their statement “the views of climate sceptics… have been seldom mentioned, in the paper's editorials”. You don't, of course, actually have to quote "skeptics" to push their views.

New, inexact and contestable: Climate science really begins with Svante Arrhenius, who was first to calculate how much the world might warm if C02 was doubled, in the late 19th century. But to be charitable to The OZ, you could say the field didn’t start to get broad agreement and knowledge till the 1979 Charney report which predicted a rise of ~3 dC for a doubling of C02, something that ~30 years on is still our best estimate. And in case you think 30 years is a short time in science, well that makes it older than most of molecular genetics (DNA sequencing, the human genome project, DNA fingerprinting etc), but no-ones calling that a “new”, or “inexact”.
Furthermore, all science is “contestable”, except that real scientists do their contesting in the peer reviewed scientific literature. Most “skeptics” are not doing science, they are doing PR, which is why they “contest” in the media.

Models: The skeptic obsession with computer models is really quite bizarre. Knowledge of climate is based on an understanding of the physics of the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect. On top of this (as Jim Hansen has explained) our knowledge comes from: 1) understanding how and why climate changed in the past and 2) observations of how the climate is responding today. Models come third and are partially used to save modern scientists the several years Arrhenius spent doing all these physical calculations by hand.

Heat from the earth's core: The scientific literature shows that heat from the earth's core equates to less than 0.1 Watts per square meter. Energy from the sun is 342 W/M2, while the back-radiation from the greenhouse effect is 324 W/M2, thousands of times larger. Just the increase in greenhouse gas heating equates to ~3 W/M2, over 30 times larger. So heat from the core is insignificant and yeah models take the sun into account. I hope the issues with this statement was just basic ignorance.

Sea level: The current rate of rise is 3.2 mm per year or 32 cm per century. So a few cm is out. Also this rate is likely to increase as thermal inertia means melting of icesheets (i.e.: Greenland and West Antarctica) starts slowly before gathering pace. Uncertainties in how fast this melting will occur explains much of the varied predictions for sea level.
Sea level around the world is based on long term observations from tidal gauges and now measured with incredible precision by satellites. The agreement is excellent. Does the writer know what a scientific observation is? And yes these observations are “churned out by laboratory computers” in so far as continuous worldwide satellite measurements of sea level is a little laborious to collate and process by hand.

Back to the present day and the editorial attempts to blame those raising the alarm about climate change for the public confusion about it:
The reality is that, despite the science, a good deal of uncertainty exists in the minds of many people, a situation that has not been helped by the exaggerated claims of some about what to expect.”

Sounding the alarm when there's a real threat is not alarmist, it’s prudent, that’s why we have fire alarms, and 000. In reality and as shown by some of the examples above, I’d wager a good deal of the uncertainty that exists is due to the exaggerated claims about the unknowns and uncertainties in climate science found in the media.

Ps: this post is, of course, an opinion piece and may not represent the views of TTKD, though I have certainly tried to keep it factually accurate.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The nuclear option: Should nuclear energy be part of Australia's low carbon future?

The debate about nuclear power has really heated up in the last few days. Should it be part of a low carbon future? Is it essential for providing future baseload power? Is it economically viable? Or do other renewable technologies render it unnecessary?

Here's a round up of some interesting articles:

Prof Barry Brook in The Australian summarizing a paper he has recently published, he claims nuclear will be the cheapest baseload power source.

Prof Mark Diesendorf in the SMH summarizing his paper that in fact nuclear power is not economically viable and is soon to be (are already is) being out-competed economically by renewable energy.

Surprising though it may be, both could be (at least partially) correct. Nuclear power is economically viable in places like China, where they can build the plants quickly and cheaply. History and current facts show the west builds plants slowly and expensively (ie: overtime and over-budget). The nuclear industry is saying new 3rd gen plants will fix this, only time will tell. Conversely, most future predictions of cheap renewable power require a continuation of the sharp drop in price of renewables, Brook is somewhat skeptical about this, Diesendorf I gather, is not. Given the drop in price that comes from economies of scale, industry learning curves and R&D some continuation of the drop in price seems highly likely.

Furthermore there was an interesting debate article in the SMH this week about nuclear power featuring Barry Brook (again), Ann Henderson-Sellers, a Greenpeace spokesperson and someone from the uranium industry.

Meanwhile the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering has released a report into making alternatives to coal power financially viable. The author Dr John Burgess has found that both renewables and nuclear power are likely to be viable in the future. But he also points out the most important part of this whole debate, whether you want a nuclear future, a renewable future, or just a low carbon future, is to put a price on carbon to ensure the stuff gets built.

Ps: Since this is a controversial area I should point out that any opinions expressed about nuclear power are mine alone and are not an official position of Transition Kenmore.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Final 2010 Green Ideas and Drinks: Thursday 2nd at the Apple Tree

Our Last Green Ideas & Drinks for the Year!!
Thursday Dec 2nd
The Apple Tree in The CourtYard
2060 Moggill Road Kenmore
Come & chat about all things sustainable...........
from 6:30pm

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Soils are Alive!!! Conference 27th Nov: Parliament House

"There is a lot more to soil than dirt. Healthy soils support the functioning of our natural environment and are the basis for successful agriculture. Although the soil biological ecosystem is considered the most diverse, it is poorly understood. Our conference will give you an introduction to all aspects of soil and will have a focus on the rich and important biology and create a link to ecosystem services and sustainable land use. Scientists from Queensland and interstate will guarantee a hugely interesting learning experience and a better understanding of soil resource management."

Saturday, 27th Nov 2010
Registration from 8.00am
Undumbi Room, Parliamentary Annexe, Parliament House, Brisbane, George St (entrance via Alice St—UBD 4 J13)
Post conference BBQ in the grounds of Qld Maritime Museum

For more information and a registration form please visit Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network Inc website here.

$50 conference

$12 post conference BBQ

Program highlights
  • Dr Peter Kopittke/University of Queensland: Introduction to Soils
  • Dr David Eldrige/University of NSW on Microbiotic Soil Crusts and their Role in Soil and Ecological Processes
  • Associate Professor Peter McGee/University of Sydney on Mycorrhizal Fungi and their Function in Soil and Application to Restoration
  • Dr Geoff Monteith/Queensland Museum on Dung Beetles and their Effects on Soil
  • Dr Geoff Dyne/Qld Section Australian Government Land and Coasts on A Hidden Diversity: native earthworm species and their role in soil processes and ecosystem integrity
  • Dr Diane Allen/Qld Dept of Environment and Resource Management on Soil Carbon and Soil Health
  • Merline Olson/Soil Foodweb International on How to measure Soil Biomass
  • Professor Richard Haynes/University of Queensland on Soil Contaminants and Bioremediation
  • Dr Chengron Chen/Griffith University on Global Changes and Soil Microbial Community

N.B: This conference has been organised by the Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recipies from 'Domestic Goddess on a Budget' by Wendyl Nissen

Store cupboard

Apple cider vinegar

Baking soda

Castile soap (I use Dr. Bronners liquid and cake)

Essential oils


Sunlight soap

White vinegar

Spray cleaner for kitchen

1 litre water

1 tsp baking soda

a few drops of liquid soap

10 drops lavender or tea-tree essential oil

(add 1 tsp olive oil for wooden benches)

Dishwasher liquid mix

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup liquid castile soap

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

5 drops tea-tree essential oil

1/2 cup white vinegar

use 2 tbsp per load

Hand dishwashing mix

3 tbsp liquid castile soap

2 cup water

1 tsp glycerine

10 drops lavender essential oil

Stainless steel

Wipe with baby oil

Toilet bowl cleaner

Throw ~1 cup baking soda into bowl, add ~1 cup white vinegar, watch it fizz!

Leave ~10 mins then scrub with brush.

Spray tea-tree spray (1 cup water with 30 drops tea-tree essential oil) in and around toilet.

Liquid handwash

250 ml boiling water

2 tbsp grated Sunlight soap

dissolve about 10 mins, then add

2 tsp glycerine

2 tsp rose water

10 drops essential oil of your choice

Magic night face cream

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tsp apple cider vinegar

~1 tbsp water

3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

I should have mentioned that this book not only has sections on natural cleaning products, natural beauty and health and the kitchen but also has sections on gardening, how to save money, how to reduce, re-use and recycle and how to manage your life! It’s a fantastic book, I highly recommend it.

Wendyl also has a website

I’d love to hear how these recipes work out for you and any other recipes that you would recommend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not one drop

I was watching ABC news breakfast the other week and they were interviewing an irrigator/farming spokesperson about the proposed reductions in water allocations in the Murray-Darling. When asked about the proposed water reductions they stated they wouldn't give up "one drop" of water.

This does seem rather short sighted thinking, but indicative of a debate where many seem to have forgotten that the economic and social health of these regions will depend on the health of the river (i.e.: the environment). After-all, if we reach a stage where there is little or no water reaching downstream farming communities and the lower lakes, it won't be just the environment that is negatively affected.

There is also a greater long term irony in this kind of thinking. As Prof Ross Garnaut said in his recent speech to the Academy of the Social Sciences on the need for action on climate change:

"If the mainstream science is broadly right, later in this century we will probably not be squabbling about whether a 37 per cent reduction in allocations to Murray-Darling irrigators is too much; but rather working hard to improve the chance of there being any water at all to allocate."

Not one drop indeed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TTKD November meeting: Reskilling (+bring your bike)

An important part of the Transition philosophy is making sure useful skills are passed on within, and around, the community.

Hence our November meeting focuses on skills and reskilling. Come along and learn how to:
  • make your own home cleaning products
  • maintain your trusty bike
  • how to use the old Vacola bottling and preserving kit
  • and even spin your own wool!

PLUS....... we would love YOU to bring along or share some activity you do that could help others on their steps to sustainability. The presentations already organised are from members of Transition Kenmore, so if you have something you want to share you are most welcome (and qualified) to do so.

PS: Jeremy, who will be doing our bicycle maintenance session is encouraging everyone to bring their own bikes along, especially if you have questions. As it's much more useful to be shown how to do maintenance on your own bike, not someone elses.

Wed 17th 7;30pm
Uniting Church Hall
982 Moggill Rd Kenmore

Saturday, November 13, 2010

QLD govt ClimateSmart vs "Something big"

A poignant slide from Dr Guy Pearse's talk "Is 'Queensland - The Smart State'? - Queensland's Continuing Addiction to Carbon" at UQ on the 28th of October. Full speech with slides available from the UQ Global Change Institute website.

Guy's talk made some very important points, (as summarised on the website), in Queensland "current policy would leave Queensland’s emissions 36% higher in 2050", which is shocking considering QLD already has one of the highest per capita emissions levels in the world and that "Meanwhile, the government is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure to help Queensland double coal exports over the next decade or so. The legacy of that is a state generating more than 50% more greenhouse pollution at home and abroad than Australia’s current national total."

Guy's talk (and the slide above) showed how all the current policy measures are not going to dent the continuing increase in C02 emissions within QLD, and even if they did, are obliterated by the increase in the coal exports we are sending to the rest of the world. Clearly far more government action is needed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

QLD govt draft transport strategy - Connecting SEQ 2031 - Have your say

The Queensland Government recently released Connecting SEQ 2031, a draft plan of rail, bus and road development over the next 20 years for SEQ.

The plan is available to download from the website and the website also contain summary's from within the plan. Overall the plan has targets to increase the percentage of journeys made by public and active transport (although note that due to population growth the absolute number of trips made by car will still increase).

There are also some very brief summaries of their rail, bus and active transport plans as well as a breakdown by region (if you want more detail look at the report, it's pretty easy going). Perhaps of most interest to people out west is the plan (although as yet not formulated in detail) to provide bus priority (although not a busway) between Kenmore and the city.

If you want to have your say, you can here, although Transition Kenmore will look at providing some comment as well. Public submissions close on the 26th of November.

Fun fact off the website:
"Some parts of the SEQ busway network carry about 12 400 passengers per hour (in one direction). For comparison, a typical motorway lane carries about 2000 people per hour."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Naomi Oreskes - Public Lecture: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming

The Global Change Institute at UQ is hosting Naomi Oreskes for their final Insights Seminar of the year. Here are the details from the GCI website:

“Merchants of Doubt”
How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming

‘Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway have demonstrated what many of us had long suspected: that the ‘debate’ over the climate crisis - and many other environmental issues - was manufactured by the same people who brought you ‘safe’ cigarettes.' Former US Vice President Al Gore

In this public lecture, Naomi Oreskes will "roll back the rug" on the dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how ideology and corporate interests, aided by a too-compliant media, have skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.
She will tell the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades.
Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly - some of the same figures who have claimed that the science of global warming is ‘not settled’ denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. ‘Doubt is our product,’ wrote one tobacco executive. These ‘experts’ supplied it.

When: Tuesday 16 November 2010, 5.30pm
Where: Abel Smith Theatre (Bldg 23), The University of Queensland, St Lucia (map)
RSVP here

Naomi Oreskes is a Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

Her research focuses on the historical development of scientific knowledge, methods, and practices in the earth and environmental sciences, and on understanding scientific consensus and dissent.
In 2004 Oreskes wrote an essay on science and society Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change (Science, December 2004). In the essay she reported an analysis of “928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 and published in the ISI database with the keywords ‘global climate change’” After the analysis, she concluded that 75 percent of the examined abstracts either explicitly or implicitly backed the consensus view, while none directly dissented from it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

SMH: "Power bills 'must rise' without a carbon tax"

It's good to see some thoughtful discussion of power prices and the effect of a carbon price in the media. This story in the Sydney Morning Herald provides some food for thought.

"AUSTRALIANS will be hit with higher electricity bills if the nation fails to implement a carbon price, the head of NSW's electricity price regulator says."

The reasons for this appear to be two fold, a carbon price is the lowest cost method to reduce greenhouse gas emission from electricity generation, while the current uncertainty around carbon pricing and government policy is making it difficult for generators to invest for the long term.

You can read the story here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why power bills are rising

The Brisbane launch of the Beyond zero emissions plan to transition Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2020 was a really interesting event with an almost full house of around ~800 people.

What was also interesting were the comments made by John Daley, the Grattan Institute's chief economist. From an economists point of view he described the BZE plan as requiring a lot of money but "doable". In conversation after the event he told me that the advantage of the plan was that it took a technological approach, asking: could current technology switch us over to 100% renewable energy by 2020? And if so how could it be done? Instead of immediately getting mired in questions about what conventional wisdom said was politically palatable and politically affordable.

John also gave a clear description of why we are currently experiencing steep power price rises, which unfortunately isn't well understood, but as a hint, it has little to do with government greenhouse policy.

Over the next 7 or 8 year we can expect power prices and therefore power bills to double, even if we take no action on global warming, because (as also reported in the courier mail):

"It is a not-well-understood political fact that within the next six or seven years that is likely to double as a result of investing in transmission because of rising airconditioner use and as gas prices are likely to double as Australian gas prices achieve parity with world prices," Mr Daley said.
The cost of transmitting electricity is about half of your electricity bill and the increased use of appliances like air conditioners (which can use several kilowatts of power) means that peak daily demand for power is increasing. To prevent brownouts you need enough wires to meet peak electricity demand and so lines companies are spending billions of dollars upgrading transmission lines, which of course, we have to pay for. There is also a sad piece of irony that a robust response to climate change (like the BZE plan) would also involve massive increases in energy efficiency, lowering peak demand and therefore decreasing the need for some grid upgrades and actually put some downwards pressure on prices (at least in this area).

So there you have it, power prices are rising because of infrastructure investments in an upgraded and expanded grid and the rising prices of fossil fuels.

PS: ENERGEX is starting up "Energy conservation communities" in an attempt to reduce peak demand. My guess is they think it will be cheaper to reduce household power usage at peak times than continually add more wires to the grid. If you live in the Centenary Suburbs (and surrounds) and have aircon or a pool filter you can sign up and they'll give you some goodies. See their website (linked above) for all the details.

3 1/2 wagons of coal

That's how much coal it takes to completely obliterate all the yearly C02 savings from the QLD government Solar Kindies scheme.

Now the Solar Kindies scheme, which puts solar on kindergartens, is a positive thing and parents and kindy teachers will feel justifiably proud that their premise's are being powered by renewable energy, but how much difference will it really make?

According to Dr Guy Pearse's talk at the University of Queensland tonight, about 42 coal trains arrive at QLD ports for export every day, that's one just over every 30 minutes. Each train has up to 100 wagons of coal, so in the time it has taken me to write this post, the greenhouse gas savings from the Solar Kindies scheme have already been wiped out by QLD coal exports.

What does this mean? Well it shows that if we are really serious about dealing with climate change we need much bigger solar programs and much bolder government action. It also means that at some stage we are going to have to think about the massive amounts of C02 emissions we are exporting to places like Japan and China with our coal exports.

PS: This doesn't mean that individual action, or small actions to reduce emissions are meaningless. A tonne of C02 saved here is as important as anywhere else in the world (after-all, the atmosphere doesn't care who emits the C02, the impact is the same) and a tonne of C02 not emitted is a tonne of C02 warming we won't have to deal with in the future.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sustainable Jamboree E-bike Bulk Buy Update

From Garry Willett

"I have some GREAT NEWS!. The electric bike bulk buy programme has been "zipping along".... So much so that the 50 bikes are being ordered as I type. this means the price of $1,600 is confirmed, which is great!
We did not quite get to the maximum number of 50, however ,Glow Worm have decided to order them anyway. This means that we have been able to extend the bulk buy programme until November 6, so you still have time, if you would like to purchase a bike.

Because the order needed to be placed the boys have had to take a guess at the number of Sprints and Torq's to order. Those that have already decided on their bike of choice and pre paid are assured of receiving their preference model. As we move closer to the end date and people take up the remaining bikes, it will be a case of what ever is left. Naturally, those that order right at the death, run the risk of not getting their first choice. Anyway, lets hope we will have enough to supply everyone. Orders over the last few days have been terrific, Two orders of three bikes and another of two., plus a few singles.

I'm really looking forward to arranging an ebike ride, where we can all come together to celebrate our new found mode of transport.

Just a bit of house keeping:

Glow Worm have had to change their bank details on the order form, so I have attached the correct version. Also all documents are now available as down load from

Sustainable Jamboree will be hosting an electric bike forum on Saturday 23rd from 1.00pm to 2.30pm. I will present and have the eZee Sprint on hand for test riding. Please come along and bring friends. Very Informal and a good opportunity to have a burn around the Mount Ommaney Library. if you own your own helmet, please bring it with you."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Walter Taylor Ward: Public and active transport candidates forum

Its on at the same time as our monthly meeting but there is a Public and Active transport candidates forum on Wednesday 20th of October for the upcoming Walter Taylor ward council by-election this Saturday. Hopefully if you live in Walter Taylor (which covers a number of suburbs including Indooroopilly and parts of Kenmore, Chapel Hill and Kenmore Hills etc) you'll be aware of the by-election and no doubt aware of the less than ideal transport situation in these suburbs.

Here are the details for the event:

RAIL back on track is hosting a candidates forum for the Walter Taylor by-election. It's a rare opportunity to call candidates from all sides of politics to account for the state of Brisbane's public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

Time: October 20, 2010 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: Indooroopilly Bowls Club
Corner of Allwood and Clarence Roads Indooroopilly
Organized By: RAIL back on Track

Monday, October 18, 2010

TTKD October Meeting - 'The Future of Food'

The upcoming Transition Kenmore meeting is a movie night:

"The Future of Food" is an in-depth investigation into unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled US grocery stores for the last decade. From Canada, across the US and into Mexico, this film gives farmers, whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by the new technology, a voice. The health implications, ecological damage, government policies and push towards globalisation and monopolisation all play a part in this story, and are the reasons why many people are alarmed about the introduction of genetically altered plants into both the environment and the food supply. The Future of Food effectively explains how genetically modified organisms are being cleverly crafted as the response to the coming global food crisis, in effect marketing GM food as the second 'green revolution'. It clearly and simply explains the forces that have already changed what is eaten in the US, and how Australia's food supply could potentially become part of this politically and economically driven movement. This film also explores organic and sustainable agri-food solutions as a real and very possible solution to feeding the world's people".

Join us on Wed 20th 7;30pm
Uniting Church Hall 982 Moggill Rd Kenmore to watch the movie

Our facilitator will be Louise Orr

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Australia should look to its food security, before all the farm is sold

Growing food and Landshare is our new initiative partly driven by reports such as this.

Australia is rapidly losing control of its food resources. The purchase of AWB - the former Australian Wheat Board - by the Canadian company Agrium, now approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board, is the tip of an iceberg where large segments of food processing and marketing have been sold offshore.Production is now the last bastion of predominantly local ownership in the food chain. But with increasing interest by foreign companies - and governments, including China's - quality farmland is also a target.

In short, Australians are in danger of becoming servants, not masters, of their own food resources.

This is not an alarmist view. In a US report last year titled The Great Land Grab, the Oakland Institute said oil-rich, arable-poor Middle East and wealthy Asian countries "are seeking to acquire land as part of a long-term strategy for food security". Purchases in South America, the subcontinent and Asia have begun.

Australia and New Zealand are high on China's list. In June, a Tasmanian real estate agent reported strong interest from China in northern Tasmanian dairy farms. Immediately afterwards, the Chinese government-controlled Bright Food Group bought New Zealand's third-largest dairy processing company, Synlait, which has 15 independently owned farms, after being beaten by a Singaporean company for CSR's Sucrogen sugar and energy business.

When overlaid with other food resource acquisitions, such trends should ring alarm bells in a country that has lost control of most of its food marketing and processing. But overseas purchases of rural property and food-related companies for less than $231 million do not need Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Almost all rural land and associated farm businesses can be bought by anyone, anywhere, any time. Unlike media, telecommunications, transport and defence equipment, rural land and food production - or food marketing and processing for that matter - are not part of a "prescribed sensitive sector" for foreign investment. Perhaps they should be. In a world becoming increasingly concerned about food security, Australia's abundant, highly productive farmland is ripe for the picking.

Already, interests as powerful as the Sultan of Brunei, the Swire family of England (a major shareholder of Cathay Pacific) and Count Carl Gustav Wachmeister of Sweden own significant rural properties here, as do many other companies and individuals. Even if such purchases remain isolated, there is always the prospect of foreign companies with major stakes in Australia's food marketing and processing buying farmland.

There are precedents. Gordon Edgell, who started growing asparagus near Cowra in the 1920s, developed an iconic food production and processing company that is now owned by the US giant JR Simplot.Australia's biggest meat processor, Australia Meat Holdings, with 10 abattoirs and five cattle feedlots, is owned by the Brazilian company JBS, the world's largest meat processor. Two of the other top three meat processors, Cargill Beef (in the US) and Nippon Meat Packers (in Japan) are beef producers. Nippon operates the largest cattle feedlot in Australia near Texas, Queensland, and a grass-fed operation on King Island; Cargill owns the Jindalee feedlot near Wagga Wagga. All its grain comes from Cargill's oilseeds and grain supply business, and the company owns 40 per cent of Allied Mills, Australia's largest flour producer.The largest shareholder in the nation's biggest cattle producer, the Australian Agricultural Company, is the Dubai food group IFFCO. Consolidated Pastoral Company, formerly owned by the Packer family, has 16 cattle stations in northern Australia, and is now controlled by the British investment group Terra Firma.

Three of the four biggest dairy processors - National Foods, Fonterra and Parmalat - are owned by Japanese, New Zealand and Italian companies respectively, leaving Murray Goulburn Co-operative as Australia's remaining representative in dairying's big league. The tuna industry has taken a similar route. Safcol, which began in 1945 as the South Australian Fishermen's Co-operative Limited, is owned by the Tropical group of companies in Malaysia. Greenseas was bought by Kraft Foods in 1961 and subsequently by HJ Heinz in 1974.

Approval of the AWB purchase is yet another loss of local control in the food chain. It follows last year's sale of ABB Grain, the former Australian Barley Board, to another Canadian company, Viterr. In a little over a decade since they were both privatised, these two once-dominant grain traders have gone offshore. AWB bought the rural services company Landmark from Wesfarmers in 2003, meaning that one of the remaining big two pastoral houses (the other is Elders) is now foreign-owned. Apart from a lot of top farmland, there isn't much left.

Paul Myers is a former editor of The Land and was founding editor and publisher of OUTBACK magazine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beyond Zero Emissions Brisbane Launch

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday 27 October, 6-8pm

Plaza Terrace Room, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Cnr Merivale and Glenelg Streets, South Bank, Brisbane

The event is free but you must register online beforehand.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Emergence - how life creates radical change

I wanted to share my thoughts with you on an article that a friend recently gave to me on 'emergence' - of community, of connection, of ideas and of movements. I think it really captures what Transition Towns is all about and why we are all involved. The article was written by the founders of the Berkana Organisation, who work with and for communities all over the world. Transition Towns also is about communities working with and for each other, encouraging and supporting people to live more sustainably. How we can actually achieve that is something that I know I for one am grappling with, constantly searching for answers.

Emergence happens when individuals connect with other other individuals in the same locale, sharing knowledge and ideas and forming new ways of doing things. If those new ways and thoughts stayed in that locality, then it would be hard to discern that change. When individuals share their knowledge and their ideas with other like-minded individuals in other communities, and they too begin to change, suddenly a pattern emerges, and a whole new movement has arisen.

Transition Towns is a model of an a emerging movement. A loose network of connected communities, full of people with the same hopes and desire for change. It is up to us to keep sharing our knowledge and stories, within our diverse communities and other networks, and forming new connections, until gradually these ideas become new ways of doing things.

If you're interested in reading about the 'Lifecycle of Emergence' here is the link:

I hope this article inspires you as much as it did me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

update on ebikes buying group

I ordered an ebike as promoted at our recent meeting, and the scheme is going ahead with a delay until 6 November to get the numbers up. But the good news is the supplier in an email I received today has decided to guarantee the fully-discounted price even if they don’t make the target of 50.

Here’s a pointer to the Sustainable Jamboree web page with more detail on the bulk buy.

TTKD Growing Food & Landshare Initiative -plenty of interest so far

Transition Kenmore recently announced the Growing Food & Landshare Initiative where we will match people who have spare land with people who want to grow food.

Interest has been steadily rolling in from people who want to share their land and those who'd like to make use of it. Thanks to everyone who has gotten in touch to date. So if you have been thinking about getting involved but weren't sure if there would be somewhere for you to get your hands dirty, it already looks like that isn't going to be a problem.

Want to get involved? Here's the details again:

TransitionTown: Kenmore District (which covers the Pullenvale Ward) would like to engage with people interested in exploring the possibilities of:

1.Landshare and setting up an online Landshare register

2. Co-ordinating people who are already growing food and have a surplus, no matter how big or small.

3.Co-operatively selling food through the local Moggill Markets in the first instance then onto a wider local food supply network.

Who should register interest?

Anyone interested in growing food.
Anyone with land they are happy for others to use with a written agreement as to the terms of that use.
Gardening Mentors: people in the area who have experience in growing food and are willing to share that knowledge.

Register your interest by sending us an email: transitionkenmore"at"

"From little things, big things grow" - Lets start growing!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Green Idea and Drinks - 7th Oct at The Apple Tree

A reminder this Thursday (the 7th) is our monthly Green Ideas and Drinks get-together.
It is a great opportunity to get to know new people, hear what others are doing, and be inspired!
See you there for a Sip and Chatter about all things Green.

When: Thursday 7th August....from 6:30pm
Where: The Apple Tree
The Courtyard: 2060 Moggill Rd Kenmore

Green Ideas and Drinks is a relaxed way to introduce your friends and neighbours to the ideas of transitioning to a lower carbon lifestyle.
Green Ideas and Drinks occurs on the first Thursday of each month. So come down, say Hi and share you Green Ideas. - 10/10/10 Global Work Party (this weekend)

"With your help, 10/10/10 is going to be the biggest day of practical action to cut carbon that the world has ever seen.
We're calling it "A Day to Celebrate Climate Solutions"--together we'll get to work in our communities on projects that can cut carbon and build the clean energy future.

But we won't stop there--we'll be using the day to pressure our leaders to Get To Work themselves by passing strong climate policies promoting clean energy and reducing emissions.

Thousands of people around the world have already registered their plans, including bike repair workshoppers in San Francisco, school insulating teams in London, waste-land-to-veggies-gardeners in New Zealand, and solar panel installers in Kenya."

This weekend marks the global day of action for, a worldwide grass roots network working towards getting carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere back to 350 part per million, considered to be a safe amount for maintaining a climate similar to the one we have now.

The emphasis of the Global Work Party is to get to work in your community doing something that reduces carbon emissions and by doing so show our leaders that we're taking action and you should be too. Currently there are an incredible 6174 events planned in 184 countries, including a number in Brisbane (click the link for information about all the listed events and how you can get involved/ RSVP).

Popular events for Brisbane include, setting up community gardens and permablitzing gardens, planting trees, picking up rubbish and cleaning up creeks and making energy efficiency improvements.

Here are some of the event being run by the community climate network members and friends

  • UQ Gets to Work! - UQ Climate for Change will be having (environmentally friendly) bbq on campus and helping people to create plans to cut their carbon footprint by 10%.

Hopefully you can make it to one of these events, if you can't consider doing something around your house, plant a tree, sign up for green power, look into getting solar hot water etc and "get to work".

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Good bills want to become good laws - Container deposit legislation and Palm oil labelling

Parliament has been back in business this week and I have noticed there are two bills that have either just been introduced or under consideration in areas Transition Kenmore has previously spoken up about.

The first is container deposit legislation (or trash into cash as the SMH so wittily puts it), which would provide a 10 cent rebate for bottles, cans and cartons like they have in South Australia. Such a law would boost recycling rates and stop millions of these containers going to landfill everyday, or being left to litter the landscape. We supported a petition back in February to introduce this in QLD, the answer to which was basically, "we're thinking about it at a national level". Well, The Greens are trying to get a federal law past, but despite it being popular with the public, things are moving very slowly. If you'd like to see this made law, then a brief email to, or chinwag with, the new Environment Minister Tony Burke would be a good place to start.

Second up, many readers will be aware of how deforestation and habitat destruction on a massive scale has been occurring in Indonesia and Malaysia to clear rain forest for palm oil plantations. This is causing not only enormous greenhouse emissions but is also threatening species such as "the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, Asian elephant, Asian rhino and other rain-forest species with extinction". Palm oil is literally in everything, but currently it's difficult to know which products contain palm oil or whether the palm oil is actually from a sustainable source.
Enter Sen Nick Xenophon with his truth in labeling bill to make food products which contain palm oil say so, as well as allowing responsible companies to state they're using sustainable palm oil. Informed choice is a good thing and we've supported a similar petition previously. A message to our new local MP supporting this bill might be a good idea.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Green Buildings and Retrofitting - Helping the economy and the environment

With energy use in buildings making up a large amount of worldwide CO2 emissions (some 40-45% in the USA for example) it's no secret that making new buildings Green and Green retrofitting provides a clear path to combating climate change.

The benefits of such activities are obvious, using less energy and water means lower bills, less waste and less exposure to rising prices without even considering the environmental benefits. While there are productivity and physiological advantages of, for example: buildings schools that don't fry in the heat in a state like QLD.

Of course the question that everyone asks about Green buildings is: Won't it cost a lot more?

Well according to Gregory Kats and his new book Greening our built world the answer is NO.

Working with ~100 "architects, developers, green building consultants, and building owners" Greg and his team surveyed 170 Green buildings from schools to laboratories, residential complexes to offices and found:

Green buildings—designed to use fewer resources and to support the health of their inhabitants—are commonly viewed as more expensive to build than conventional buildings. For example, a 2007 opinion survey by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development found that, on average, green buildings were thought to cost 17% more than conventional buildings. But we found this widespread perception—that greening costs a lot more than conventional design—to be wrong. In fact, the green 170 buildings analyzed for Greening our Built World cost, on average, less than 2% more than conventional buildings; moreover, green buildings provide a wide range of benefits—both direct and indirect—that make them a very good investment.

So not only do Green buildings not cost much more, but because they create large energy savings that pay back multiple times over there are a good investment too.

More info and plenty of graphs can be found here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

TTKD Growing Food & Landshare Initiative

Growing Food and Landshare Initiative:
Interested in growing food?

Your local Transition Town: Kenmore District group is continuing the process of self-empowerment.

We are launching the Growing Food & Landshare Initiative.

Please share the following information with your email lists, neighbours, friend and family in the area.

Here in the Pullenvale Ward (from Kenmore/Chapel Hill through to Moggill) we are very fortunate to have a mixture of medium density housing through to peri-urban acreages. This diversity creates an opportunity for those without land, or land unsuitable for growing to match with landholders who do not have the time or resources to utilise their land. This synergy can result in a very productive and stronger community.

This idea of matching people keen to grow food to people with available land came to fruition in the U.K . Landshare was launched by KEO films in the UK in 2009 through the River Cottage TV program. The concept is simple: to connect people who wish to grow food with landowners willing to donate spare land for cultivation. Since then it has flourished into a national movement of more than 50,000 people, sharing more than 3,000 acres of land, with matches in every region of the UK.

TransitionTown: Kenmore District (which covers the Pullenvale Ward) would like to engage with people interested in exploring the possibilities of:

1.Landshare and setting up an online Landshare register

2. Co-ordinating people who are already growing food and have a surplus, no matter how big or small.

3.Co-operatively selling food through the local Moggill Markets in the first instance then onto a wider local food supply network.

Who should register interest?

Anyone interested in growing food.
Anyone with land they are happy for others to use with a written agreement as to the terms of that use.
Gardening Mentors: people in the area who have experience in growing food and are willing to share that knowledge.

Register your interest by sending us an email: transitionkenmore"at"

"From little things, big things grow" - Lets start growing!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Political bias at The Australian and the reporting of climate change

Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown's criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box.
The Australian, Editorial, 9th September, 2010

This week's Mediawatch on ABC "Gunning for the Greens" looked at how The Australian appears to be running its own political campaign against The Greens.

The role of the media in a democratic society is necessarily to report the news, cut through spin and to provide an honest critique of the policies of all political parties. However as the quote from the Editorial in The Australian shows, they have apparently decided to target a particular political party. In this they have crossed the line from reporting the news to political advocacy, the editors clearly think this is ok, I would suggest it is not. Does this now mean all articles regarding The Greens are now being written with the agenda to destroy them at the ballot box? Hardly the stuff a reputation for solid journalism is made of.

Why is The OZ so steamed at The Greens? For one it seems they are angry The Greens didn't vote for the CPRS and then attacked Labour for a lack of climate action. Now I don't think The Greens ever said they were going to vote for the CPRS so holding out for a stronger scheme wasn't all that hypocritical. On the other hand The Coalition did agree to support the CPRS before backflipping after a leadership change, while Labour declined to call a double dissolution over the senate CPRS logjam and chose instead to jettison its climate change policy altogether. Neither of those decisions left either major party covered in roses, so why is The OZ so steamed solely at The Greens?

Shift back to the present and we have a new Government reconsidering its policies on climate change and growing calls from the business world calling for the new Government to get on with it and put a price on carbon, so the debate about how best to reduce our emissions isn't about to go away. Given the results of the election, the Australian people have made The Greens a key player in this debate, so by declaring war on them has The Australian just limited its own ability to report fairly and credibly on this critical issue?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Background on Dr Paul Martin - one of our speakers our electric bicycle meeting

Dr Paul Martin is a Specialist Anaesthetist who for the past 9 months has been riding a bicycle for transport instead of taking the car - commuting, grocery shopping, going to restaurants, you name it!

His first difficulty was finding a bicycle that was suitable for this task - in a country where most bicycles are sports equipment or toys. In this search, he discovered the electric assist bicycle; in his case a Dutch built e-bike. This allows him to overcome the last few obstacles when traveling by bicycle in his normal clothes - the heat, humidity and hills. He is a strong advocate of cycling for transport - normal folk in normal clothes - and believes that the key to urban cycling is quality infrastructure and not emphasising cycling as a 'dangerous' sporting activity only, requiring special equipment and safety gear.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Electric Bicycle Buying Group

Our upcoming meeting is on electric bicycles. Garry Willett from Sustainable Jamboree, will be talking about the e-bike bulk buy he is organizing. For those considering this offer, here is some more information about the bikes available (taken from the Sustainable Jamboree website).

"Please let us know if you’re interested to buy an electric bicycle for $1600 ($700 off)! Models on offer include the eZee Sprint or Torq.

We’re in the process of organising a buying group in partnership with Glow Worm bicycles but we need 50 people to order one with them through Sustainable Jamboree.

Those interested can contact Garry for an order form etc: garry [at]

For information about the Queensland Government’s position on e-bicycles see:

This buying group does not constitute a product endorsement. Please do your own research before making any decision."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

TTKD Sept Meeting: Electric Bicycles - The future of transport in the city?

Electric bicycles offer an affordable, sustainable and congestion free way to travel in the city.

Come and hear from some local electric bicycle enthusiasts, try out their bikes and check out the opportunity to get an electric bike at a heavily discounted price.

Speaking on electric bicycles will be

Dr Paul Martin, an Anaesthetist and electric bicycle enthusiast. Paul has been able to replace most car journeys with cycling and will be speaking about the advantages of electric bikes and why they are well suited to a city like Brisbane.

Garry Wilett, a member of Sustainable Jamboree, Garry is organising an electric bike bulk buy will talk about how you can purchase your own electric bike at a heavily discounted price.

Why an electric bike? well as Garry told us:
"This probably does not mean much, but let me tell you my bike can do 30Kmh without peddling. Faster if I peddle. It can travel 40km on a charge and up to 90kms if I peddle a bit. It flys and guess what I don't feel like I have been rung out when I get to the other end. No heart palpitations or wobbly legs. Oh, and I don't wear lycra. I just ride in my every day clothes. The bike paths are getting better and I have found riding the bike quite safe."

Wed 15th 7:30pm
The Uniting Church Hall
982 Moggill Rd Kenmore

Monday, September 6, 2010

How many scientists does it take to change a skeptic?

Tongue in check perhaps, but on Tuesday night (7th of Sept) SBS Insight is a Q&A between renowned climate change scientist Prof Stephen Schneider and an audience full of climate skeptics.
Recorded before his untimely death in July, the program promises to be quite interesting. Stephen Schneider had a life long passion for engaging with the public and it will be interesting to see not only if he can educate and sway opinions but for those interested in communicating complex science to a skeptical public what does and does not work.

I'm also curious about the level of scientific knowledge of the skeptics and whether their skepticism appears based more on honestly held opinions and or ideology. I guess we'll see.

SBS Insight 7.30pm
Tues 7th of Sept

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Green Ideas and Drinks - Sept 2nd at the Apple Tree

Hi everyone, a reminder for Green Ideas and Drinks on Thursday Sept 2nd.

Its a a lovely informal way to hear what others might be doing, share an idea, be inspired and to meet people interested in sustainability.
Invite you neighbours and friends for a chat, a coffee or drink and something to eat, perhaps after they have done their shopping or are on their way home from work.

Meet you at The Apple Tree
2060 Moggill Rd
From 6:30pm

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mitigation, adaptation and misery

Facing climate change we have a choice between mitigation, adaptation and misery. Mitigation is cheaper than adaptation, which is preferable to misery. Likelihood is we’ll get all three but the ratios are for us to decide.

In our lives we are happy to pay for mitigation, we try to prevent fires with smoke alarms and ceiling sprinklers and if your house catches on fire you call the fire brigade who, funded by your taxes, puts out the fire, that’s mitigation. Adaptation would be to let the fire burn, hope you can adapt to the outcome and rebuild from the wreckage. Misery is when you can’t afford to rebuild and have to live in the wreckage.

Right now the world is smouldering and a fire has broken out in the arctic, the attic of the world. If you set your attic on fire, you wouldn’t say, “hey don’t worry it’s still nice and cool in the basement”. Nor would you say “well fires have occurred naturally in the past so even if I did cause this one it’s nothing to worry about”, you’d call the fire engines. It’s time we did the same for the planet.

With thanks to John Holdren science advisor to Pres Obama and Dr Jeff Masters who had these ideas first

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers

The Australian Academy of Science is a prestigious body of Australia's most outstanding scientists. They have just released a short booklet on the science of climate change written by some of Australia's top climate scientists.
Scientific Academies tend to be quite conservative, so when they release reports like this you can be confident it is based on well established, consensus science. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn more about the science of climate change.

Download the pdf of view the booklet online here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

UQ Sustainability Week

Next week UQ Climate for Change are running Sustainability week at UQ, there's lots of good stuff on, so if you are at UQ make sure you check out some of the events.

(Click to see large flier)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

'The Last Hurrah' Ryan Candidates Forum - Wed 18th August

On Saturday August the 21st the nation will vote.

On Wednesday August 18th you have one of the last opportunities to meet your local candidates and hear their views on issues important to you. Ryan is one of the most marginal seats in the country and it is important to know the person behind the 30 second sound-bite who will be representing you in Canberra.

Who are the 'Real' candidates?
What personally drives their vision for our electorate and the nation?"

We have asked the candidates to address the following;
Local issues of concern such as *transport *overcrowded schools *support for adaption of businesses to cleaner, greener practices
National issue: what do they see as the environmental, social and economic strategies needed address climate change and create a Sustainable Australia?.

Each candidate will have 10 mins to concisely state their position then the floor will be open to your questions.

Don't miss this opportunity to see your local candidates;
Steven Miles - Labour,
Sandra Bayley - Greens,
Michael Johnson - Independent

(Jane Prentice- Liberal, still to advise).

When: Wednesday August 18th 7:30pm
Where: Uniting Church hall
982 Moggill Rd Kenmore

Friday, August 13, 2010

Local power's bulk solar panel buying group is back

Local Power, a not for profit group based in Brisbane have a new Solar Panel (PV) buying group going.
After over 400 homes and 600kW of power installed in buying groups 1-4, buying group number 5 is now open.

The Local Power model is to get a big bunch of householders together and then buy the solar panels and inverters in bulk to keep the costs down. Prices for a 1.5Kw scheme start at around $3700. So if you are interested take a look at there website, where all the information and costs are laid out.
Also they generally fill their buying groups pretty quickly, so if you are interested, don't muck around and get in touch with them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ten climate policy ideas Julia or Tony could steal

Did you know that India has a tax on coal burning? No, neither did I. Thankfully Graham Readfearn's on the case and has an article on the ABC called "Ten climate policy ideas Julia or Tony could steal" where he investigates policies being used overseas to cut carbon emissions, including carbon taxes, electric car rebates, green roofs, solar hot water mandates and the rather intriguing Carbon Points rewards scheme in Korea.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact that India, a developing country, has introduced an (admittedly small) tax on burning coal which will go towards installing solar power, something that a rich country like Australia has been unable to achieve.

Check out the article.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ryan election forum Aug 18th - hosted by Transition Kenmore

Our local seat of Ryan is shaping up to be one of the most interesting contests in the federal election. Taking in much of Brisbane westerns suburbs and stretching along the Brisbane river from Milton to Karana Downs but also over Mt Coot-tha to include suburbs like The Gap the race in Ryan looks tight.

Transition Kenmore's monthly meeting next Wednesday 18th will be a candidates forum where everyone is welcome to come and hear from the candidates and ask questions on a range of topics.

Already confirmed are:
Sandra Bayley - candidate for The Greens
Michael Johnson - Indepedenant and current member for Ryan
Steven Miles - candidate for the ALP

Jane Prentice and the Family First candidate have also been invited.

Transition Towns Kenmore Election forum
Wednesday 18 August 19:30
Uniting Church hall,
982 Moggill Road, Kenmore

All are welcome, see you there.

Other upcoming forums include:

ACF/WWF/GetUp hosted forum
Thursday 12 August 18:30 - 21:30
Peter Doherty Theatre, Indooroopilly State High School,
107 Ward St, Indooroopilly

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Will global warming be good for us?

One argument made by some climate contrarians is that we shouldn't worry too much about global warming because a warmer world with high C02 will be good for us. John Cook over at Skeptical Science shows that this view is not supported by the evidence and realistically it's hard to put a positive spin on melting glaciers, rising sea levels, ocean acidification and species extinction.

But what about the predictions that rising temperatures will be good for countries like Russia and increase their agricultural output? Unfortunately global warming doesn't just mean more winter bbq's it also means more extreme heat with more frequent and more severe heat waves and in some places more drought. This isn't a future prediction, it's already being observed, as the IPCC found:
"Since 1950, the number of heat waves has increased........The extent of regions affected by droughts has also increased as precipitation over land has marginally decreased while evaporation has increased due to warmer conditions".
So what about Russia? Large parts of western Russia are currently in the grips of an unprecedented two month long heat wave that has shattered temperature records. The death rate in Moscow has soared. The record heat combined with drought has lead to thousands of wildfires breaking out with loss of life, villages and air thick with smog. Heat and drought has also lead to the loss of millions of acres of wheat (leading a ban on wheat exports for the rest of the year and spike in world prices).

So yes, while in some years Russia may benefit from longer growing seasons it will also have more years like 2010 (currently the hottest year on record worldwide) with extreme heat and heatwaves, which if anything like this year, won't be good at all. And of course it's worth mentioning that global warming has only really just begun, currently temperatures are up ~0.65 dC and our most optimistic proposals are generally to attempt to hold warming below 2 dC, better get to work.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Green Ideas and Drinks - August 5th at The Apple Tree

A reminder this Thursday (the 5th) is our monthly Green Ideas and Drinks get-together.
It is a great opportunity to get to know new people, hear what others are doing, and be inspired!
See you there for a Sip and Chatter about all things Green.

When: Thursday 5th August....from 6:30pm
Where: The Apple Tree
The Courtyard: 2060 Moggill Rd Kenmore

Green Ideas and Drinks is a relaxed way to introduce your friends and neighbours to the ideas of transitioning to a lower carbon lifestyle.
Green Ideas and Drinks occurs on the first Thursday of each month. So come down, say Hi and share you Green Ideas.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Symposium - Awakening the dreamer - Sunday the 8th of Aug

This coming Sunday 8th of August Transition Kenmore will be hosting The Awakening the Dreamer symposium at the Brookfield Centre, 139 Brookfield Rd.

If you are like me and find the idea of "awakening in the dreamer" a little hard to define, then it might be easier to think of the event as more "the future of our community" both locally and worldwide.
The symposium will trace how "we" have got ourselves into a number of environmental and social predicaments, but also encourage us to look for and work towards solutions. If we want to transition to a more sustainable community and a more sustainable world we'll need to be working towards solutions right here in Kenmore/ South West Brisbane, hence my thinking along the lines of "the future of our community".

Over time these symposium's, which are held worldwide, aim to redefine the way we look at the world, or as the website puts it:

Our mission is bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on Planet Earth

You can watch the trailer for the symposium here.

Sunday 8th August
The Brookfield Centre,
139 Brookfield Rd
Kenmore Hills
Cost: $20 maximum, $50 per family

RSVP to our email: transitionkenmore(at)
Hope to see you there

Support our Farmers and Protect our Climate. This Wednesday Lunchtime

Our Water, Our Land, Our Future. Only 3 days to go!

Support our farmers and protect our climate at this parliamentary protest.
When: this Wednesday 4th of Aug, lunchtime 12-1pm.
Where: State Parliament House, George St, Brisbane

Fossil fuel extraction is exploding in Queensland to the detriment of our climate, our farmers, rural communities and groundwater. At lunchtime this Wednesday over 100 farmers will descend on Parliament House to call for protection of our cropping land from coal and coal seam gas extraction and they need your support.

A list of excellent speakers from across the Darling Downs and from conservation and climate groups will take the message to our politicians that real climate action begins in our own backyard.

Both the Liberal-National Party and the Greens have confirmed that they will respond to our demands on the day, with the Government as yet unconfirmed.

Come along and hear from:
Ruth Armstrong from Cecil Plains on behalf of Save our Darling Downs
Rob McCreath from Felton on behalf of Friends of Felton
Scott Collins from Tara on behalf of the Western Downs Alliance
Toby Hutcheon from Queensland Conservation
Drew Hutton and Hannah Elvery from Six Degrees, Friends of the Earth, Brisbane
Jo-Anne Bragg from the Environmental Defenders Office

Politicians speaking on the day include:
The Queensland LNP (speaker to be advised)
Larissa Waters - The Greens lead senate candidate

RSVP on facebook.

For more information, or to join the farmers for morning tea or lunch, please contact Brad on 0413280006 or at or go to

This is a cross post from the CCNQ