here’s two media statement releases on Friday 29 August that I have had nothing to do with, obviously.

29 08 2008

Green’s Ocean Reef candidate on public transport, car dependency, and petrol price vulnerability. CSIRO released a study in June 2008 that included scenario modelling of $8 a litre by 2018. It’s coming peoples.

Sustainable Energy Now release calling for strong support for sustainable renewable energy solutions from all parties to the 2008 WA State election. Hear hear. [Direct link to the release.]





at what point do we declare the global climatic equivalent of DEFCON 1?

27 08 2008

How about now?

Just a reminder, that’s 7 metres of sea level rise if the Greenland ice sheet goes. The Petermann glacier is actually floating ice, but loss of these ice barriers allows the main on-land glaciers and the ice shelf itself to increase their outflow rates into the ocean.

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ultra quick and dirty explanation of emissions trading

26 08 2008

What I wrote in about 4 minutes in a chat session. Will clean later!

quite important to appreciate that emissions trading (ETS) is not equal to ‘carbon offsets’, ‘carbon neutral’, or for that matter even projects under Kyoto’s ‘clean development mechanism’ (ie, energy projects in developing world countries).

each emitter must surrender a number of permits every year that covers their assessed emissions. each permit is worth a set amount of emissions, say 1 tonne CO2-eq. permits can be obtained in a number of ways, the best being by auction from the government; ie, you must buy the permit in the first place. the trading part comes in because firms (polluters) trade these permits on a market between themselves — that’s important because firm A might be able to reduce emissions much easier than firm B, so they do so and sell their excess permits to firm B for a profit. end result is same level of reduction but at ‘least cost’. and finally the cap — cap and trade — comes in because the government (via a new statutory authority set up for the purpose) explicitly limits the number of permits available. # of permits = cap on # of tonnes CO2-eq per year. the cap is then constantly reduced over time, with clearly published trajectories, and that forces emissions down.
as they do so the price of a permit naturally increases — this is the ‘price signal’ — because the ability to emit GHGs is made ‘artificially’ scarcer
it’s only artificial in the sense that it is made scarce by gov action in the form of regulation, but that regulation/scarcity of course reflects the very real impact of GHG emissions in the real world. hence that impact — the ‘negative externality’ — is ‘internalised’ into the market price and thereby gives a price signal to move away from GHG goods and processes
biggest effect will be to finally make energy supply more accurately reflect its true cost to society and the environment, so renewables become much cheaper by comparison. then their use goes way up and renewables themselves become cheaper and cheaper due to economies of scale, innovation, better understanding, etc. etc.




letter to the CFMEU of Western Australia: a shift from coal mining to sustainable, renewable energy

25 08 2008

UPDATE: No signs of a response to this unfortunately. 1/9/2008

Dear CFMEU WA,
I’m not really sure how to go about this because I fear you might regard me as hostile to you in some way. I hope you will believe me when I say I am not!

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Fail.

15 08 2008

sigh.

Currently, up to 26 coal-fired power plants — which would burn either hard (anthracite) or brown (lignite) coal — are either being built right now or are in the planning stages in Germany.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2396828,00.html





City of Stirling: transport report

15 08 2008

I will actually post non-uni-work at some point…

This is another report originally written for Cities & Sustainability. It looks at the City of Stirling Local Government Area (LGA) in inner Northern metro Perth, with a focus on transport patterns and proposing sustainable transport alternatives, including light rail, transit oriented development (TODs), traffic calming, pedestrianisation, etc.

To be clear, this is university course work only and none of the suggestions are realistically costed in any way.

Justin_Wood-2008-CoS_Transport_report Creative Commons License

Also, this is further text written for a slight variation on this paper, looking at social and cultural sustainability in the same area.

***

Community cohesion and support of cultural diversity

Closely related to cars is the role of streets and the built environment in nurturing communities. For thousands of years the street was an integral part of peoples’ ‘home territory’, the ‘extended sense of home’, providing a strong sense of place (Engwicht 1999, 13-4). That territory has been dramatically eroded by the car, so much so that traffic now  invades even our psychological space (pg. 15).  The dual purpose of streets as movement space and as space for social exchange — of goods, friendship, knowledge, culture, work, education, emotional and spiritual support, or wisdom (pp. 19, 33) — has been lost in too  many areas.

Streets engender this dual role when they are used for walking, cycling, and public transport (which is shared); car-based movement-only space is simply wasted (Engwicht 1999, 19, 21-2).

The streets as public space — as place — allows the spontaneous social exchanges that are fundamental to the creative life of a city, to citizens’ personal development and well-being, to equity of access, democracy, and economic prosperity. Car traffic — as a mobile ‘privacy capsule’ — denies that spontaneity and instead forces only planned exchanges (Engwicht 1999, 25-7).

Reclaiming and redesigning streets for people thus has great impact in building and maintaining communities.
***

Engwicht, D. 1999. Chapter 1: Robbed Blind – Taking Stock of What Has Been Stolen. In Street Reclaiming. Creating Liveable Streets and Vibrant Communities. Annandale, NSW: New Society Publishers.





The long road to nowhere

14 08 2008

This is a paper originally written for Cities & Sustainability in semester 1 2008 (in Murdoch’s sustainability school). It’s something of a polemic, but I don’t apologise for that; not the least because Perth is one of the most car dependent cities on Earth.

Justin_Wood-2008-The_long_road_to_nowhere Creative Commons License

You can watch crude price here — it’s pretty confusing, but usually ‘the price of oil’ is referring to the NYMEX crude future (for delivery in a few months time).