Newsletter #26 - November 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 visit the the archive.

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

Dear Friends

FOOTPRINTS #26 – November 2008
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The Psychology of Denial in the Age of Consumerism - John James
It was recently reported that the average summer temperature in Sydney could be close to 50 degrees C. Average?? So we all 'solve' that by getting air conditioning. But what runs that but electricity, and in this country that means coal. Being the creatures we are, we arrange to keep cool by using just what is required to make us even hotter. The fact that we can even consider this idiotic idea to save us in the future, without dealing with our lifestyle now so it does not happen, is the reason for this article.

Heavy cost to China from use of coal - EPA
China will rely on coal for the bulk of its energy needs for decades. This has brought a hidden cost of $250bn a year in lost and damaged lives, waste and environmental degradation, being about 7% of GDP. None of these costs are reflected in low coal and energy prices. "Behind China's large production and consumption of coal ... lie expensive and worrying environmental and social costs," warns The True Cost of Coal, a report jointly commissioned by Chinese economists and international environmental groups. As a result it said there was little incentive to introduce cleaner, safer and more efficient sources of energy.

The Truth About Rising Seas - By John James
Flood Bangladesh We know that were all the ice on Greenland to melt, sea levels would rise over 7 meters. The question is how long may this take? The IPCC estimate of hundreds of years is being contradicted by studies of past glaciations. Andrew Glickson and Bradley Opdyke showed that at the end of earlier ice ages the glaciers collapsed suddenly. Suddenly does not mean over a century or two, but within a decade. We all saw the speed at which this can happen in 2002 when 2,600 square kilometres on the Larsen B ice shelf in the Antarctic disintegrated and disappeared in less than five weeks.

World is facing a natural resources crisis worse than financial crunch - Guardian
• Two planets need by 2030
• Humans using 30% more resources than sustainable
The world is heading for an "ecological credit crunch" far worse than the current financial crisis because humans are over-using the natural resources of the planet. We are running up an ecological debt of $4 trillion every year - double the estimated losses made in the credit crisis.

Potent greenhouse gas more common than estimated – AFP
Nitrogen trifluoride is many thousands of times more warming than CO2, and is four times more prevalent than previously thought. It is used during the manufacture of liquid crystal flat-panel TV displays and electronic microcircuits.

The methane time bomb – Independent
Massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and ice retreats. The sudden release of underground stores of methane have in the past been responsible for rapid increases in global temperatures, dramatic changes to the climate, and the mass extinction of species. Scientists aboard a research ship that has sailed the entire length of Russia's northern coast have discovered intense concentrations of methane – sometimes at up to 100 times background levels – over several areas covering thousands of square miles of the Siberian continental shelf with the sea foaming with gas bubbling up through "methane chimneys" rising from the sea floor. The sub-sea layer of permafrost, which has acted like a "lid" to prevent the gas from escaping, has melted away to allow methane to rise from underground deposits formed before the last ice age.

Electrifying cars Down Under - Scientific American
Better Place plans to bring the electric car recharging system already planned for Israel and Denmark to Australia by 2012. Electric charge garages and battery exchange stations throughout Australia would be powered by wind turbines and other renewable resources. They plan that electric cars like the Renault-Nissan eMegane [under development, can drive around 100 miles on one charge with a top power of 91 horsepower] to work like cellphones.

German town forces homes to fix solar tiles – Guardian
Solar panels will soon grace the roofs of the quiet medieval town of Marburg under a controversial new law forcing owners of all new or renovated buildings to include solar panels. This is a national precedent passed by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. The law stipulates that, from October, a 1 sq metre panel must be built for every 20 sq metres of surface area.

Power, water, roads at risk – SMH
THE country's electricity and water supplies are at high risk from climate change, and immediate action is needed to prepare for the threat. Dams, roads and power stations are at risk from increasing number of droughts and bushfires and rising sea levels. A national taskforce should be formed to develop guidelines for adapting to climate change and to consider legal liabilities for allowing developments to go ahead. Electricity production and distribution has "a very high degree of vulnerability" as warmer temperatures curtail snow falls and as less cooling water is available to coal-fired power plants.

Climate disaster, an urgent challenge – CrikeyProjected temperature rise
Prepared by Dr Barrie Pittock PSM (former leader, Climate Impact Group, CSIRO, IPCC Lead Author, and author of Climate Change: Turning Up the Heat), and Dr Andrew Glikson (Earth and paleoclimate research scientist, former Principal Research Scientist, AGSO; Visiting Fellow, Australian National University), endorsed by 40 leading environment scientists. The current global financial crisis must not be allowed to detract Australia’s attention from the serious deterioration of the Earth’s atmosphere with its potential effects on future generations.
The graph on the right shows the projected rise of temperature from what we have already put up there. This is the delayed response, so that were we to stop all pollution now we would still reach 2C. The delay is about twenty years, so if we wait until then to do something it will be seriously too late. There is no way out of this. The evidence for this and the consequences may be found here.

Targets underestimate carbon cycle feedback's effects on global warming – Crikey
Many commentators and policy makers fail to note the fact that the IPCC-AR4 2007 hardly takes carbon feedbacks into account, qualifying its CO2 projections in the following terms:
The emission reductions to meet a particular stabilization level reported in the mitigation studies assessed here might be underestimated due to missing carbon cycle feed-backs.
Yet despite the huge gap between the IPCC's final report and the true scale of the challenge we really face once carbon cycle feedbacks are taken into account, IPCC projections form the basis for official CO2 emission-reduction policies.

Arctic is melting even in winter - Times Online
The Arctic icecap is now shrinking at record rates in the winter as well as summer. After the summer 2007 record melting, the thickness of the winter ice also nose-dived. What is concerning is that sea ice is not just receding but it is also thinning. Winter air temperatures were not the cause. There is some other, longer-term change happening, possibly a rise in water temperature or a change in ocean circulation that has brought warmer water under the ice. This means that the Arctic is likely to melt much faster than had been thought.

John James
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 Let us together save this precious planet.

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