Newsletter #18 - August 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.

For earlier Footprints #13 (June), #14 (June), #15 (July), #16 (July) and #17 (August) and the archive.

The Crisis Coalition aims to raise awareness and to galvanise action.
For the latest information read this fully referenced report.

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Doom or Disaster? - John James
Nearly every projection for the future of civilisation made in the IPCC reports has been exceeded. Events that were forecast for the end of the century have been moved back to 2070, then to 2040, and now to ‘within the next few years’. The goal posts are moving towards us at a terrible pace.

How Would Climate Change Influence Society in the 21st Century? - Rajendra Pachauri
The Chairman of the IPCC and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner warned we have a window of seven years to stabilize CO2 at today’s levels if we are to limit global mean temperature increase to around 2.4 degrees. A world this hot would be very unpleasant place. Extreme precipitation events, heat waves and other natural catastrophes will become more frequent, endangering vast swathes of humanity. We stand to lose 20-30% of species if warming exceeds this. The rapid loss of ice sheets will lead to sea level rises and the flight of large populations.

State seeks funds to defend against rising seas – The Age
The Federal Department of Climate Change has warned that a one metre increase in sea levels would push the waterline inland by an average of 100 metres. It warns that storm surges and king tides could trigger additional flooding. State government experts have warned that Elwood, St Kilda and South Melbourne are at risk, while Lakes Entrance and Seaspray will probably need to be moved to higher ground. Victoria's Civil and Administrative Tribunal earlier this month vetoed the construction of six coastal homes because of the threat of rising sea levels.
AT LAST the message is percolating through. We know that historically every time there has been a major shift in temperature there has been a concomitant change in sea levels. The ratio is 4+ meters per degree. Since we are committed now, inevitably, to 2+C, we are equally committed to 8+ meter sea rise. To build a national policy on 1 meter is ridiculous, and any monies spent will be wasted.

If you want the evidence that 2 degrees is now inevitable, evidence accepted by all the scientists I know, then download

Harsh Climate Change Once Fell Swiftly – Discovery News
Discovering that it took just one year for the northern hemisphere to be plunged from a temperate climate into a deep freeze. This was during the Younger Dryas 12,679 years ago.
We need to realise that quick, catastrophic changes in climate have often occurred in the past and could happen again from glacier collapse, alto-wind changes etc. The film The Day after Tomorrow illustrates this event.

The Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us – The Observer (Feb 2008)
Bush was warned that climate change could over the next 20 years cause a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters. The secret report warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate, within twelve years!. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. The document predicts that climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies - a threat to stability that vastly eclipses terrorism.

Humanity's Footprint 1961-2003
How many Earths were needed to meet the resource requirements of humanity for each year since 1961? The Ecological Footprint for the world as a whole is the product of population times per capita consumption, and reflects both the level of consumption and the efficiency with which resources are turned into consumption products. Though biocapacity varies each year, the trends are clear.
Assembled by an impressive group, this is worth your study. The over-population of the earth is becoming as critical as the over-use of oil and coal. I enclose these sites for more information.

Families in 'eco-towns' must have one person who does not drive to work - Daniel Martin
Every household in controversial new eco-towns should be within a 10 minute walk of frequent public transport. In these green communities at least one worker from each house should be able to get to their job by walking, cycling or using public transport.
I was surprised at the opposition to such a sensible approach to down-sizing the national footprint. Calls that this was ‘communist’ and ‘fascist’ abounded. When will governments recognise that they need to be the educators of the people if they want to change things.

Victorian community goes it alone on wind farm – ABC
Frustrated that governments are not doing enough to address climate change, the people of Daylesford, north-west of Melbourne, are going it alone with their own wind farm. The Hepburn Wind Farm will produce enough power for 2,300 households. This is nearly all the homes in the area. Locals will buy shares in Australia's first community-owned wind project, and will anage it themselves.
This is a terrific initiative. If we cant get government to do it, then the people should. Who will be next?

Coping with Environmental Refugees - John Cairns Jr.
Environmental refugees are produced when the population exceeds the carrying capacity of the region or when natural resources are diminished by drought, flood etc. Refugees will overload the carrying capacity of the new region, so their efforts will usually have been futile.

Eating Fossil Fuels – Dale Pfeiffer
It takes 10 calories of petroleum energy to produce 1 food calorie at the dinner table. That is unsustainable in an age of Peak Oil and burgeoning population.

Small gas power plants to make the city self-sufficient – SMH
Dozens of miniature gas-fired power plants sprinkled around the inner city could Sydney almost self-sufficient in energy over the next two decades. In gas trigeneration, small turbines use their own heat as an energy source to power surrounding buildings. A single plant in a basement can power a skyscraper and feed electricity back into the grid, with less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of coal-fired electricity.

The Royal Road to Terroir: Biodynamics in Modern Wine - Max Allen
Why are vintners going biodynamic? There’s one glaringly obvious reason and that’s environmental. Allen says he is a little bit scared about what we’re doing to the planet and the way we’re doing it and how it’s going to make the life of my children much more difficult than the life I am experiencing now.
This is a sign of the times, as well as being interesting to any wine buffs.

Five book to read:
Climate Code Red: the case for emergency action – David Spratt and Philip Sutton
Climate policy is characterised by a culture of failure. There is an urgent need to understand global warming and the tipping points for dangerous impacts that we have already crossed as  beyond the politics of failure-inducing compromise. We are in a race between climate tipping points and political tipping points.

Heat - George Monbiot
Monbiot demonstrates that we can achieve a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 without bringing civilisation to an end. Combining his unique knowledge of environmental science, he shows how we can transform our houses, our power and our transport systems. But he also shows that this can happen only with a massive programme of action which no government has yet been prepared to take.

The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth is Fighting Back - James Lovelock
Lovelock speaks as a 'planetary physician' with more than forty years' experience of thinking of how to respond to the Earth's needs as a living organism. He draws many radical conclusions, most controversially a passionate advocacy of nuclear energy. This, he argues, is not only a secure, safe and reliable source of energy but also the only way to counter the lethal heat waves and rising sea levels which will increasingly threaten civilisations. This is a passionate manifesto to lessen our impact on the Earth before it is too late.,,9780713999143,00.html

Twisted – Ian Enting
Exposing the inconsistencies and misrepresentation of the so-called "greenhouse sceptics", to show that what they present for public debate is not an alternative scientific view, but a set of inconsistent fragments.

Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us about Our Future – Peter Ward
Rapid increases in greenhouse gases have shut down the ocean conveyor several times, resulting in severe climate change and mass extinction. If Ward's analysis is correct, we know what caused it and we know how to make it happen again. The question is: can we save us from ourselves?

John James

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 Let us together save this precious planet.

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