What plant is that? Zamia

Macrozamia fraseri and Macrozamia riedlei are types of Cycad. The Cycadales Order is an ancient group of plants that have lived since the Permian era, more than 200 million years ago. [1] Australia’s Macrozamias could have been eaten by dinosaurs! I knew them as Dinosaur Plants when I was a kid.

Macrozamia fraseri in bushland

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CPRS: Carbon Politics Renders Squat

The whole point of introducing an emissions trading scheme is to make sure that polluting industries phase out and are replaced with cleaner alternatives, renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes. [1]

While the Australian Federal opposition dithers on passing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation which would enable carbon trading, Australia’s weather gets hotter and hotter.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Australian Climate Statement for 2009 noted last year was Australia’s second warmest year since high-quality records began in 1910 and the past decade was the warmest on record.

Mean Temperature Deciles 2009
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Dingo, Dingo

Reflections of a Dingo at Johnston Lakes, Goldfields, WA by Alan Carmichael

Last year I blogged about whether dingos were Australian, due to their (relatively) recent arrival in Australia from Asia. The Complete Book of Australian Mammals includes dingos (Canis lupus ssp. dingo) in the Introduced Mammals section [1]. The Introduced Species Summary Project of Columbia University also lists dingos, but describes them as “a near-native species of Australia” and details conservation measures needed to protect the species [2]. The Federal government lists the dingo as native fauna and they’re protected in National Parks, World Heritage areas, Aboriginal reserves and the ACT [3].

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Government Visions

jabiru in the NT I just read Quarry Vision by Guy Pearse. I’m a bit slow because it’s no longer the most recent issue of Quarterly Essay. When it came out I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I assumed it was more of Pearse’s results from his PhD thesis on Australia’s greenhouse mafia, otherwise known as the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (AIGN),

an alliance representing almost all of Australia’s biggest fossil-energy producers and consumers, either directly or through their industry associations. [1] p.38

Not that I wasn’t interested in his research. He wrote High & Dry [2] a couple of years ago and I thought I’d heard all there was to tell, but I was wrong.

As I read the first few pages of Quarry Vision I thought, don’t we all know CCS is a pipedream of the coal industry and something drastic needs to be done about greenhouse gas emissions, but no government wants to. I kept reading and now I know why nothing much has changed in terms of Australia’s climate change policy. Rudd et al would like us to think otherwise, but while a different political party is in power,

the deep pockets of the Australian carbon lobby have made its members ubiquitous. [1] p.37

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How many is too many?

We know that babies add more to global warming than anything else in our home. Isn’t it time to cut back? [1]

crowded street in San Telmo by Jeff C Many people don’t like talking about our ever increasing human population, more than 6 billion, and likely to be 9 billion by 2050 [2]. For some, population policies bring to mind the human rights abuses of past governments and beliefs such as eugenics. Greenhouse gas emissions from an ever growing human population will continue to exacerbate the greenhouse effect and subsequent climate change. This makes population one of the most important factors in climate change.

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April Showers

Perth has just had the wettest April on record. (Rainfall records in Perth commenced in 1876.) The Bureau of Meteorology said,

As an example of the relatively dry period that Perth has been experiencing in recent decades, the breaking of the April rainfall record is the first occurrence of a monthly rainfall record in any autumn or winter month since Perth’s July rainfall record was exceeded in 1958.

April (mid autumn) isn’t usually such a wet month in Perth, but in April last year 76.4mm of rain fell – more than double the average amount. The wettest day had 40mm. This April had 153.6mm of rainfall – five times the average. The main culprit was the day 58.6mm of rain fell. This didn’t mean we lacked sunshine or 28°C+ days (6 of them). Rain fell on only 13 days of April. Halfway through April April’s average rainfall was 31.1mm, but because of April 2008’s deluge, the average has now risen to 38.8mm.

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Cheap Coal for Sure (CCS)

I know I should try to write shorter posts, but once I get started, I can’t seem to stop. So make a cuppa before you start reading.

magpies on power lines The New South Wales state government is about to privatise NSW’s electricity generation and the retail electricity market. Former Executive Director of The Australia Institute Clive Hamilton, investigated the problems of future emissions trading schemes for investors in NSW’s coal fired generators [1]. I read his report as WA’s state government is experiencing problems two years after privatising our electricity generation. To sweeten the deal for the WA public, electricity prices for small business and households were capped until 2009. I doubt the NSW government will take any notice of what’s happening in WA, but it might help them if they did.

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Learning about Climate Change

in class by Susan NYC on Flickr The Australia Institute, with funding from Australian Ethical Investment, put together a series of teaching materials on climate change for high school teachers of Year 9 and 10. High school teachers and university academics were consulted in compiling the nine modules.

Teaching climate change cuts across a number of different school subjects, including Science, Society and Environment and Economics. The teaching materials address all aspects of climate change and can be used in their entirety or just those relevant to a particular subject.

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