OPPORTUNITY, OPPORTUNITY, OPPORTUNITY
Humans love doomsday theories. Ozone, nuclear holocaust, population explosion, and fundamentalism. What will be the next? No doubt about it, climate change rules the roost when it comes to scary global threats. Look at the explosion of interest in the media. Look at the interest that politicians are taking in the issue. Look at the ferocity of opinion, and the public interest. What about the explosion of carbon reducing technologies. A lot of this has happened in just the last 6 months.
Is the interest deserved? The more I look into climate change, the more serious the threat seems to be. But the more I learn, the more optimistic I become. Attitudes are changing, at a pace that leaves us scrambling. Coal and other fossil fuels are increasingly being seen as the energy of last century, as we look for alternatives (there are many) that can provide baseload power generation.
What an exciting time. We are on the brink of an energy revolution, and SE NSW is well placed to be a big part of it. Within the next 5 years, renewable energy is going to be one of the most dynamic, innovative and expansive industries the planet has ever seen. This is a bandwagon we need to be on.
So, how do we attract the renewable energy industry to our part of the world? We need a couple of ingredients. Firstly, we need a community that has been thoughtful enough to appreciate that climate change is a threat, and smart enough to realise that renewable energy offers us an industry that provides an excess of opportunity. With 3 shires in SE NSW that have agreed to a 50/50 by 2020 target, we are well down that path, and already renewable energy companies are working hard to get set up in our part of the world. This will bring investment opportunity, attract small and large businesses, create employment and allow us to tap into what will become more than just a niche industry. The tourist potential is too good to ignore.
The second ingredient? To benefit from a global energy revolution, we need to set ourselves up as a centre of excellence in renewable energy. How do you become a centre of excellence? Stage one…….call yourself a centre of excellence. How do we call ourselves a centre of excellence? Why not change the name of our shire to the “Clean Energy Shire”. Wouldn’t that create some attention. By the way, does anyone know what the motto for the Bega Valley Shire is????
What about painting our “50/50 by 2020” target on a couple of big water tanks around the valley. It doesn’t take much of an angle to attract the tourist dollar. Does anyone have an objection?
By the way, “50/50 by 2020” is a 50% reduction in the consumption of energy, and a 50% production of energy from renewable sources by 2020. We at “Clean Energy for Eternity” believe that these targets are entirely achievable, and by striving for them, offer our community enormous opportunity.
The Antarctic as a reservoir for 90% of the Earth’s fresh water ice, plays an important part in the history and future predictions of global warming.
Current estimates are that 25% of current world sea level rise is directly due to glacial melt. The ice in Antarctica, however, does not melt from the top alone, but mainly from below where it contacts with the warm sea water. Ocean temperatures have a far greater effect on changing the melt rate in Antarctica than rising air temperatures. The warmer this sea water the faster the melt. The ocean is warming.
Records since 1955 show that 84% of global warming is found in the sea with the northern part of the Southern Ocean showing the greatest change. As the sea warms it expands further contributing to sea level rises. The melting ice enters the ocean as fresh water which in hand changes the mixing of the ocean and hence further changes the ocean currents. Other side effects of fresher water includes the changing of the composition of salts and other chemicals in the ocean which are essential for phytoplankton and other forms of life.
Calving of the ice , to produce icebergs, is a normal process and part of the equilibrium of Antarctica. As ice builds up on the continent it pushes out to the edge and eventually breaks off, or calves. The concern for scientists at the moment is that it is breaking up at a far faster rate than predicted. Furthermore, it is breaking up mostly in the area of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet which is held together by other large ice sheets. Once the ice sheets lose the protection they now have it is unknown how long they will last, causing a domino effect
The other significant factor in Antarctica is the shrinking of the sea ice. Sea ice is frozen sea water, usually less than a metre thick and covered in snow. Sea ice provides an insulating effect to the relatively warm (-1.8 degrees c) ocean below, from the cold atmosphere, much in the same way as a thick blanket. One main influence the sea ice has is reflecting solar radiation. On snow covered sea ice, that can be as much as 90%, thereby precluding further warming of the ocean in that area.
Satellites have been taking measurements of the sea ice for only the past 30 years. Even within this short period, the sector west of the Antarctic Peninsula, a region with strong regional warming shows a significant decreasing trend. The shrinking of the sea ice and increased calving of the west Antarctic Ice Sheet are important, not only to sea level rise but also as the loss of habitat, for animals requiring the sea ice to survive.
On 3/6/07, Clean Energy For Eternity will be hosting a public meeting on Climate Change. The meeting will be held at the Bermagui Country Club, this Sunday, at 2 pm, and we are inviting anyone on the South Coast to come along. We are particularly keen to get students involved.
This will be a no nonsense discussion about climate change, and how we should respond to it. The formal presentation will try and answer the following questions;
-why do we need to change the way we think about energy?
-what timeframe do we have in which to act?
-how do we make the necessary changes at an individual, community and national level?
-how do those changes allow us on the South Coast to be part of a solution?
-how does being part of a solution offer us enormous opportunity?
The speakers will include Matthew Nott, Philippa Rowland, Derek Povel, Bill Caldicott, and Richard Moffatt
We believe that the science of climate change is convincing, and the reasons to change are compelling. Bringing about change, being proactive about climate change, and setting targets that are challenging (50/50 by 2020), is a way of attracting business, jobs and tourists to our coast, at a time when fuel prices will start to rise, and our environment gets hotter and drier.
There will be a number of trade displays at the meeting, demonstrating the technology needed to achieve our 50/50 by 2020 target (a 50% reduction in consumption, and a 50% production of energy sources, by the year 2020).
What we need to know is how much money we are likely to save by conserving energy, how much it will cost to turn our houses into a net PRODUCER of energy, and what are the most cost effective ways of getting there? What is the strategy for reaching 50/50 by 2020, what progress has been made, and are we likely to meet our targets? How do we set the South Coast of NSW up as a centre of excellence for renewable energy?
At the end of the presentation, a couple of ideas are going to be discussed. As usual, we are looking to engage the community. And we are continuing to look at raising awareness, and look for achievable solutions. An exciting idea comes from a group of high school students who plan to form a combined South Coast school human sign towards the end of June. Come and find out what’s going on.
This is all about seizing opportunity.