Australia ratifying Kyoto: that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

December 5, 2007

It’s been a while since I wrote a post. I’ve been so busy recently I’ve hardly had a spare moment (which is something I couldn’t have imagined six months ago!).

While it’s two days late now, I have to say about Australia ratifying the Kyoto protocol: there, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

TREC – Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation

March 4, 2007

Via a comment at LP, I just became aware of the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC), the work of which may have quite a bit of relevance to Australia given the amount of desert on the Australian mainland. The best way to describe TREC is to merely copy the contents of that webpage: Read the rest of this entry »

The rusting Australian landmass

January 25, 2007

I love looking at the scenery while flying – it’s so interesting to look at the topography and patterns of human settlement, imagining how towns developed and noticing how the environment shapes human settlement and land use so clearly. The scientist in me is fascinated. During most international flights the plane is often too high to make out too many details, but watching the scenery is one of the joys of domestic flying.

(Flying on a clear night last year heading north-west over Indonesia, I was astonished to be able to make out lights from cities and roads. Upon access to a map, I realised that I had had an almost cartographic view of part of eastern Java! Incredible.)

I flew back to Sydney from Adelaide today, and the ground was a partially dried watercolour painting during the first part of the flight over South Australia. During the latter part of the flight, outbreaks of rust riddled the land, as if it were sick. Overlaid was the geometric shading of land use. Startling.

Using Google Earth as a platform

January 3, 2007

On the plane home from Adelaide this afternoon, I was inspired by a mention in The Economist’s “The World in 2007” that the Jane Goodall Institute uses Google Earth (GE) on its blog to educate people, to think that GE could be an excellent platform for all kinds of geographically relevant data. I went to an oceanography seminar six months ago in which GE was being developed/used as a platform for information about ocean currents and my brother recently e-mailed me a GE file showing several points of his adventures in India. Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainability Science

October 14, 2006

Last night Mr T and I went to hear Prof. Ian Lowe give the first Rick Farley Lecture at the Sydney Conservatorium. It was quite interesting, and good to hear the phrase “sustainability science” again, which I havn’t heard for a while.

Essentially, sustainability science seems to be about understanding the life support systems of the planet and then, hopefully, it’s up to societies to live in accordance with these life support systems. A few years ago I found this CSIRO paper  on sustainability focussing on Australia.

In the Q & A session I asked Ian about the oft-levelled charge at renewable energy sources: that electricity supply is not guaranteed. His reply drew on Australia being such a huge continent and that it was known to be possible.

Darfur dead higher than thought, Islands appear in the receding Arctic

September 16, 2006

From Scientific American I just noticed two particularly interesting stories: a very sad one: Darfur Dead Much Higher than Commonly Reported  and this one: Polar bears drown, islands appear in Arctic thaw.