Native residents from the arctic are noticing the impacts of warming [via Harvard Science]:

Less snow, less sea ice, freezing rain in winter, and the appearance of mosquitoes and robins, creatures so foreign the native residents have no word for them.

Scary… and the item was posted in Feb 2007.  Since then the northwest passage has opened up [via Guardian Unlimited]:

“Since August 21 the North-West Passage is open to navigation. This is the first time that it happens,” Nalan Koc, head of the Norwegian Polar Institute’s climate change programme, told reporters in Longyearbyen, a town in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

As focus on the climate crisis intensifies, its interesting to see more and more scientists coming up with innovative ideas to help the situation.

One example from Harvard Science.

By electrochemically removing hydrochloric acid from the ocean and then neutralizing the acid by reaction with silicate (volcanic) rocks, the researchers say they can accelerate natural chemical weathering, permanently transferring CO2 from the atmosphere to the ocean. Unlike other ocean sequestration processes, the new technology does not further acidify the ocean and may be beneficial to coral reefs.

and they are aiming to produce a process which closely mimics natural weathering to avoid other side-effects, however

The team cautions, however, that while they believe their scheme for reducing global warming is achievable, implementation would be ambitious, costly, and would carry some environmental risks that require further study.

Of course, the way things are going, we’ll probably need technology marvels like this and energy efficiency and non-polluting energy sources and reduced consumption of other resources if we’re really going to have a sustainable future.

Nothing is more important.

I almost purchased a new computer for home on the weekend. It was a great deal – Q6000 CPU, 4Gb RAM, 500Gb HDD, for $1089 – I assume courtesy of Moore’s Law and the falling US dollar.

I’d like a new computer, no I’d really LOVE a new computer. It would be faster, more reliable and more fun. Of course, it would be a hassle transferring data, and making all our software work under Windows Vista. Now, I’ve spent a lot of money on technology over the years; such as $1,800 on a mobile phone around 20 years ago, and before that $550 on my first 10Mb HDD (yes, megabytes). I’ve felt the pain of buying too early and I hesitate to buy again.

I was ready to buy with just a small amount of trepidation. Then I realised that NOT purchasing was a positive step for the environment. Less purchasing = less waste, less resource use, less greenhouse gases.

Obvious, I know, but I got there in the end. Here’s to being a tight arse!

I was talking with my wife a couple of days ago and she was saying that she finds all this negative environmental news depressing and overwhelming. I try to stay positive but today I feel that I understand her better after listening to a new CSIRO podcast.

CSIRO’s Dr Mike Raupach explains why the Earth is absorbing less carbon dioxide and how it will affect our climate. (6:22)

The short report outlines the results from some new climate research to be published later this month in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Its a good journal, a good piece of research and its more bad news.

There is strong evidence that the environment’s natural carbon sinks (such as the sub-arctic pine forests and the oceans) are becoming less effective at removing our polution. Even if we capped our emissions today the lag built into the Earth’s climate systems means that we’ll still get two to five degrees average temperature increase. Two degrees is bad, five will be very bad.

Is it already too late? Can we turn around this suicidal course we are on? We have to. Because nothing is more important.

I asked earlier, is labor much better? It seems they are offering a better alternative than our current government.

From ABC Online earlier this week:

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has committed a Labor government to a mandatory 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.

And now ABC Online:

Prime Minister John Howard has ruled out matching Labor’s proposed 20 per cent renewable energy target for 2020.

Of course, it is still not nearly enough and I’m voting for the Greens. Because nothing is more important.

In the 1970s, Iceland was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Today it is one of the richest, with a per capita GDP higher than that of Denmark, from which it won full independence in 1944.

How did it accomplish this remarkable transformation? A key element was the shift from imported coal and oil to geothermal energy. Iceland now uses geothermal energy to generate a large portion of its electricity and nearly all of its heating needs.

[via Harvard Science]

ABC Online tells us this morning that Nationals Leader Mark Vaile and MP De-Anne Kelly still question whether climate change is occurring. Like it or not there is some uncertainty, that’s just the way it is, report researchers from the University of Washington. There is strong evidence that dangerous man made climate change is occurring and the stakes are too high to not act.

But (Mr Vaile) says efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should still be made.

This isn’t the leadership I want. This is not the leadership we need.

… but are Labor much better?

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