Understanding Climate Risk

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July Update

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Thanks all for your comments to the last post, which didn’t really explain my absence, but now the world hasn’t ended…

Thinking about it, there were a few reasons as to why this blog went a bit quiet. A short list, then you can bother me to give further updates on some of these matters, because they are of interest.

  • Early May was taken up with the writing and submission of the IPCC Working Group II First Order Draft. A frantic few weeks as the coauthors of the chapter Foundations of Decision-making worked hard to get a complete draft. The report is now in review and if readers are feeling a bit expertised, instructions for registering can be found here.
  • Then straight to Den Haag, The Netherlands for a meeting on the new emission scenarios process, specifically on the shared socio-economic pathways that are being developed. These will contribute to new scenarios involving climate, social and economic change for modelling by research groups around the world. The topic was how to linked the needs of integrated assessment modelling with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability research. A summary presentation given to the UNFCCC by meeting organiser Tom Kram just afterwards can be found here (pdf).
  • A week back to catch up with a few things, then off the Adaptation Futures conference in Tucson Arizona. Second international conference after the one on the Gold Coast two years ago. The research is slowly becoming more developed as research and implementation are becoming more closely linked. I spoke on what non-linear climate change means for adaptation and hired a road bike for the week, climbing this big mountain (except I rode from the centre of town, not the foot of the climb). Turned out it was maybe Tucson’s hottest day ever measured. Have a few pics of the Sonora Desert that I’ll upload when there’s a bit of spare time.
  • Then back in Australia, attended a design charrette in Sea Lake, northern Victoria as we talked adaptation with the locals. A really interesting 24 hours – the locals have been really resilient over time but are still suffering loss of population due to underlying economic drivers. Capacity building in local government is a key issue. Telling stories about climate giving a “deep” history of change over time is much better to feed into discussion than presenting facts and figures (though it’s good to have them in publications to give away).
  • Gave a talk on 19 June on the Ecology of the City, for a series of talkes hosted by Geoff Lacey at the Augustine Centre in Hawthorne on sustainability. Another “deep history” of Melbourne as a meeting place, from geology and biodiversity, to people and climate.
  • Still back in town, wrote a context paper on adaptation and industry with Celeste Young in preparation for the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research annual forum Monday June 25, which was closely followed by the NCCARF national conference Climate Adaptation in Action 2012. This conference was also pretty big showcasing the work that’s going on in Australia, where research and practise are also coming closer together, though there’s a way to go. At both events we showed that it’s possible to have fun and engage serious topics, with a hypothetical orgnaised by the Environmental Defenders Office and hosted by Rob Gell on the Monday (I was a green developer in 2032) and an intelligent squared debate on Wednesday set up by Kate Auty, Commissioner of Sustainability for Victoria. The latter on science policy got into a number of issues that are exercising state of the art research, but in an entertaining manner. Down with boring panels, I say.
  • Next week is the 41st Australian Conference of Economists here at Victoria University. I’m on a boring panel on climate change which will be a little less boring as I castigate economists for not communicating their discipline effectively, especially when it comes to the economics of climate change.

Can post presentations from these events and will put up links when the conference material becomes public. Of course, I need to produce and bury a huge amount of compost to offset those flights (beyond the offsets I’ve already purchased), but that amount of travelling is not normal for me – I’m usually on a bike, not in a plane. Got a lung infection on the way back from the States that required a tonne of antibiotics – not blaiming my trashing of my immune system due to climbing big mountains, though. So that’s why no posts for a bit – better now: good to be back on the bike.

I can change your mind on climate – live blog

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Welcome to the live blog for I Can Change Your Mind About … Climate on ABC1 from 8:30 pm AEST. From the show’s blurb:

Separated by a generation, and divided by their beliefs, two passionate, intelligent and successful Australians go on a journey of mutual discovery to see if they can change each other’s minds about the most divisive issue in Australia today: climate change.

It’s a pity we don’t have cards for climate change bingo to mark off squares for “It hasn’t warmed since 1998”, “scientists are only in it for the grant money”, “the temperature record cannot be believed” and so on. Likewise, I don’t recommend drinking games. You’ll be on your ear by 9. Read the rest of this entry »

Can the ABC make its mind up about climate?

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Tonight the ABC is broadcasting  the battle between science and belief in the minds of ex Senator Nick Minchin and Australian Yoof Coalition founder Anna Rose. This will be followed up by a Q&A on climate change (yep, another one) with panelists

Oh goody – not a climate change scientist amongst them, though there will be a few in the audience.

I’m going to live blog the show here.

Stefan Lewandowsky and colleagues will be doing an expert live blog here: http://myresearchspace.grs.uwa.edu.au/events/icanchange and tweeting under the hashtag #qandascientists

Clive Hamilton at Crikey has already concluded that by framing it as a debate, the ABC has handed a win to the doubters. The picture below showing that the largest poll group on the ABC site is dismissive of climate change shows the site is being gamed. My inside intelligence says the program is pretty interesting.

ABC Climate Change Poll 7:45 pm April 26

If you want to have fun in my sandpit, come along and join the fun here online and with the TV on from 8:30 Eastern Australian Standard Time.

Coal Seam Gas in depth media project

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Coal Seam Gas presents a wicked problem. It provides a possible transitional fuel for managing greenhouse gas emissions and contributes a stream of income to the economy but it also has its downsides.

There are conflicting interests around land use, there is uncertainty about the factual basis of the debate, there are apprehensions that governments will roll over in the face of a $40 billion industry. And the debate can often become very clouded by claim, counter-claim, framing and spin.

For some time, a group of bloggers and analysts have been working on a model of analytical and interactive journalism which will hold such a debate accountable to fact. Led by Mark Bahnisch of Larvatus Prodeo, other LP bloggers Brian, Kim and Robert Merkel have partnered with some leading researchers and bloggers, among them John Quiggin and moi, FAQ Research has been launched.

First cab off the rank is a major media project being launched to coincide with the Queensland election campaign, in which Coal Seam Gas and its impacts is a very live issue.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

February 21, 2012 at 9:54 am