Newsletter #15 - July 2008 for the Crisis Coalition at


What is a Footprint?

Comparison of US and Australian ecological footprints with African. Every Australian puts 26.5 tons of CO2-e into the atmosphere every year, every American puts 23.6 tons and most Africans a lot less than 1 ton each.

FOOTPRINTS Newsletter #15 - For earlier ones see the archive.

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Greenhouse emissions soaring – SBS report
Electricity emissions have increased by 47 per cent since 1990, from transport 27 per cent and per capita emissions are 28 tonnes per year. This is the highest in the world. The data is contained in the recently published National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2006.
This seriously exceeds IPCC projections and makes nonsense of and claims for caution. It is obvious with these figures that if we are to get out of this hothouse mess we are in we have to demand draconian legislation to stop all this – but how can government do this unless we – the people – demand it so loudly that Coal and Oil have to agree.

Coping with Climate Dread - Bryan Zandberg
Short interviews with environmental scientists: “How do you keep working in spite of feeling distraught at what is happening?” James Lovelock commented that “there's nothing to stop the earth from slouching towards 'a coma' now, taking billions of us into that good night along with her.” The very tendencies that gave humans such a leg up in the competition with the other species 50,000 years ago are maladaptive today. If we are intelligent enough to recognize that, we should be able to over-ride our reluctance to act. If we don't ........

Rising sea levels threaten cities – Rosslyn Beeby
Sea-level rise is already tracking above the global average along Australia's northern and western coastline. Scenarios outlined in a recent federal inquiry into environmental impacts of climate change concluded that the risk of storm surges and tidal damage to four of Australia's coastal capitals Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, had increased at least fourfold.
At last a realistic assessment that thousands of homes will be lost – but not yet any discussion on where these climate refugees will go – nor of the many millions from South-East Asia and Egypt who will be forced to move.

Ocean warming on the rise – Catia Domingues
A team of Australian and US climate researchers found the world’s oceans warmed and rose at a rate 50 per cent faster in the last four decades than documented in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report. The rise included water from melting of Greenland and Antarctic glaciers.
Once again the IPCC report has been found to be conservative, with nearly every indicator being at the top end of their range of forecasts.

Energy Department grants $30M to plug-in vehicle projects - David Shepardson
The U.S. Energy Department has announced $30 million to fund three plug-in vehicle projects, and Detroit's automakers will use the money for test fleets and to accelerate mass production of battery technologies.
However, this is still using electricity that mostly comes from coal. It needs to be coupled with solar panels in each home to provide the power source.

Living on the Ice Shelf: Humanity's Melt Down – Mike Davis
The current ruthless competition between energy and food markets, amplified by international speculation in commodities and agricultural land, is only a modest portent of the chaos that could soon grow exponentially from the convergence of resource depletion, intractable inequality, and climate change.
A searching enquiry with a very bread perspective – worth a deep read.

'We're toast' without action on global warming– James Hansen to US Congress.
James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the "dangerous level" for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. British protesters have chained themselves to gates and equipment at sites of several proposed coal plants in England.
Do we have to do the same?  ??????

The Food Chain In Fertile India, Growth Outstrips Agriculture - By Somini Sengupta
With the right technology and policies, India could help feed the world. Instead, it can barely feed itself. India’s supply of arable land is second only to that of the United States, its economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, and its industrial innovation is legendary.
But when it comes to agriculture, its output lags far behind potential. It was not supposed to be this way.