The Bullroarer - Friday 1st January 2010

Happy New Year Folks! I was reminded last night (as I watched babies playing together) that happiness does not come from material things. I hope that in the year ahead we all find the inner joy, happiness and peace that we may need and that we continue to enjoy life this year and in all the years ahead, regardless of what events may transpire over that time.

ABC - Australia's coal addiction set in train 30 years ago

As the world battles to secure a low-carbon future, secret cabinet documents from 1979 show that before global warming was on the radar, Canberra acted to lock in Australia's coal-based energy future.

It was the year of the second oil shock, when Iranian oil supplies slumped and crude prices skyrocketed on the back of Iran's Islamic revolution and nations scrambled for policies to reduce their dependence on foreign oil.

Global politics were volatile in 1979 and included the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve of that year, which was also seen in significant part through the lens of energy security.

NZ Herald - Life in 2030: Public transport and battery power set to be way of the future

Electric-bicycle carts for our shopping and sail-assisted cargo ships for our exports are examples of transport innovations needed for New Zealand to survive a looming oil supply squeeze.

Dwindling supplies by 2030 will put pressure on indigenous transport energy sources - notably hydro-electricity, wind power and biofuels - to keep us moving.

Liquid fossil fuels will be increasingly reserved for high-priority uses such as wholesale food distribution, meaning a greater reliance on public transport for longer urban trips and "personal mobility" vehicles such as battery-powered Segways, bikes or small electric cars for neighbourhood errands.

NZ Herald - Another threat to electricity network

Power companies' intentions to build new power stations have collapsed over the past year, with potential for electricity shortages re-emerging from 2013 onwards unless more new projects are committed in the next 12 months, says the Electricity Commission.

The Australian - More evidence CO2 not culprit

Earlier this month (The Australian, December 9) I commented on recently published results showing huge swings in atmospheric carbon dioxide, both up and down, at a time of global cooling 33.6 million years ago.

Paul Pearson and co-authors in a letter (The Weekend Australian, December 11) took exception to my use of their data and claimed I misrepresented their research

NineMSN - Insight: Prepare for lower oil prices

The outlook for the oil price remains mired in much confusion. Peak oil theorists see production in terminal decline. Others, who expect the oil price to revisit its 2008 highs, argue that rapid demand growth from emerging markets, most notably China, will underpin a long and aggressive rally in the price.

Radio NZ - Sombre forecast on electricity supply

The Government says it is already dealing with many issues raised in a sombre forecast on energy supply from the Electricity Commission.

The report indicated possible supply problems next year and follows a series of similar problems in the past decade.

In a document issued just before Christmas, the commission said electricity supply this year will be adequate, but the supply of electricity is likely to be tight in 2011.

It said investment in new electricity plant is slowing, with more than 600 megawatts of new generation deferred until at least 2013, or cancelled.

ABC - New mines needed for coal expansion

The New South Wales Government has conceded new mines will have to open to meet a planned expansion in coal exports from the Port of Newcastle.

Starting today, the Hunter Coal Export Framework will see exports double from 90 million to 180 million tonnes in five years.

The first vessel to operate under the new agreement enters Newcastle port this morning, to accept 82,000 tonnes of coal for a Korean customer.

Courier Mail - Electricity prices set to double

Opposition energy spokesman Nick Minchin yesterday accused the Rudd Government of trying to hide the real costs of tackling climate change.

"I think Australians will be stunned to learn that their power bills could more than triple as a result of Mr Rudd's climate change policies," Senator Minchin said.

The Australian - Don't expect too much down Mexico way

IT has been said that Copenhagen was all about attitudes and aspirations and the meeting this year in Mexico City will be about results. But without the leadership of the US - which accounts for 20 per cent of all greenhouse gases - the prospects of an enforceable, verifiable and legally binding new global treaty on emissions reductions are virtually zero.

All the evidence indicates that President Barack Obama won't be able to lead the world to a post-Kyoto deal. This is because the politics of the environment have shifted dramatically in recent months. There are many reasons for the changing climate in Washington. Here are four of them:

SMH - Second oil shock pushed crude price up 250%

The second ''oil shock'', coupled with cuts in supply, limits on production imposed by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and panic buying drove the price of crude up 250 per cent.

On June 26, cabinet approved measures to reduce dependence on imported oil. These included a cut in fuel octane ratings, sales tax incentives for fuel-efficient cars and encouraging the use of liquefied petroleum gas. A submission on the use of ethanol failed to inspire the cabinet.

But it deemed the situation dire enough to consider a compulsory requirement on oil companies to report supply, consumption and export data. There were also measures to shore up locally produced energy, such as urging the joint venturers Esso and BHP to be ready for a terrorist attack.

The Australian - War of words over cost of ETS to households

A ROW over the impact of Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme has erupted, with Tony Abbott claiming half of middle-income earners will be left worse off by higher electricity and gas prices. In reply, the government has accused the Opposition Leader of being "fraudulent" over his charge the scheme will cost households $1100 a year.

As Mr Abbott challenged the government to release modelling showing the impact of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme on average families, Acting Climate Change Minister Peter Garrett returned fire by accusing Mr Abbott of failing to back up his $1100 figure with "reliable, accurate and relevant" modelling.

Happy New Year to you all.

I'm getting a bit tired of the endless "climate skeptic" pseudo-science served up by The Orstrayhun though - it would be nice if the science could be de-politicised (impossible I know).

" would be nice if the science could be de-politicised (impossible I know)." Impossible indeed. When the propounded remedies seem to be leaning towards even more supercilious governmental micromanagement of every detail of every individual's life than in the worst of the twentieth-century totalitarian states, that's nothing if not political. One ought to expect the science - and "science" - to be scrutinized, debated, and argued over ad infinitum. It would be a huge surprise if it were otherwise. Popcorn anyone?

Sorry,but politicising the issues is about the only way that the grip of the oligarchy on our future is going to be broken.Politics is the art of the possible and all conscious Australians must do their utmost to convince our politicians that real change in our system is possible.

Write,email or telephone your local state and federal members as well as the cabinet and shadow cabinet.Write or email the MSM when they produce some God-awful distortion of the science.

In short,get involved in any constructive way you can.

Short of getting out the pitchforks this is the only way the citizens can effect change.Waiting till election day when you get the chance to choose between two dysfunctional major parties is not good enough.

BTW,I think 2010 will be a very interesting year.The old model is just plain broke.We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift,for better or worse.Best of luck and good wishes to all at TOD.

BTW,I think 2010 will be a very interesting year.The old model is just plain broke.We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift,for better or worse.


I've had it with denialists.
We need wild adults: not infantilised, domesticated Beasts of Burden.

The SMH has an article on Transition Towns in Sydney - Pioneers aim for cleaner, greener lives in suburbia

SYDNEY residents concerned about peak oil and government inaction on climate change are taking matters into their own hands, forming groups to turn their suburbs into low-carbon ''transition towns''.

The movement, which began in the town of Totnes, in Devon, is called Transition Towns and aims to reduce reliance on global sources of energy and food.

For anyone in Sydney who is interested in Solar Photo-Voltaic panels, the NSW State Government has just announced a very attractive "gross feed-in" tarrif, which, combined with up-front financing available from retailers like Integral (, makes for an absolute gold-plated profit-earner for the small householder (with a suitable north-facing pitched roof) who'd like to go into the part-time greenpower generation business!

However, the very attractiveness of this scheme makes me suspect that it will not last... ("Oh dear, budget's run out - just like last time!") so I recommend that you get in quick and stick to the gesture-esque 1kW size panel which attracts the maximum subsidy.

Personally I'd rather see the Govt investing in efficient large-scale solar-thermal installations (see - thanks Gav for another of your great posts), but if the householder desires a green-cred badge up there on their roof for all the street to see, now is the time.

Thanks Cretaceous :-)

I agree that the scheme will likely run out of money - but I think encouraging PV is a good thing - we should have a mix of solar thermal and PV - the more diversity of supply the better !

Encouraging PV is one thing, but ripping off one section of the community and handing a generous subsidy to another section is just organised theft IMO, particularly when the capital costs have already been heavily subsidised by the taxpayers. This is akin to giving the Snowy Hydro Scheme to Macquaire Bank and then paying them 60c KWh because so they so green.

The NSW government would have been better to make "Green energy" the minimum tarrif and use the excess proceeds to build solar farms, wind, CSP or invest in efficiency measures. Of course the Labor government can't be trusted with money so thats probably not a good idea either.

Which section of the community is being ripped off ?

It sounds just like many other government spending programs if you ask me...

NZH about 2030, i love how these forecasts seem to think there will be an economy when there isnt enough oil for cheap private transport.
this world doesnt work without growth and disposable income. oil can and will take away both.

IF we had all these hover packs and robot taxis today, i'd still like to see them get the 800million cars off the road fast while keeping the subprime in check.