When energy counts in a changing climate

From Craig Macaulay, CSIRO:

While recent political activity has centred on the passing of the Clean Energy Bills, 170 delegates from 50 countries were meeting (http://www.csiro.au/news/Securing-energy-supply-in-changing-variable-climate.html) away from the limelight in conversations centred on a closely-related subject, energy and climate.

With Australian science heavily engaged at the research coalface in all forms of energy generation, CSIRO has sought to bridge the international gap at the interface with climate through its support of the first International Conference on Energy and Meteorology on the Gold Coast last week.  (http://www.icem2011.org/ICEM2011_Final_Programme.pdf)

The conference brought together scientists, engineers, planners, and insurers to review  the scope for related lines of research that will re-enforce risk management and energy security in weather, seasonal variability and global and regional climate change, as outlined broadly in this interview with the ABC’s World Today program – http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3358909.htm

The pace of growth in renewable energy and community attitudes towards it, food and biofuel production, forecasting to maximise energy generation, and support for decision-making were common themes in a week that the International Energy Agency also released its 2011 report.

CSIRO Energy Group leader, Bev Ronalds, provided an opening keynote, outlining what she described as a ‘rainbow’ of options for Australia’s energy mix through to 2050, and the conference closed with a keynote from Energy Tansformed Flagship Director, Alex Wonhas.

Convenor, CSIRO’s Alberto Troccoli, said he hoped that from among the extensive range of presentations given, there would be a wealth of seeds sown to generate collaborations and relationship to further bridge the energy and climate sectors, with CSIRO as a potential leader in the process. The Climate & Atmosphere theme of CSIRO was a major sponsor of the event.

Timing is everything

From Craig Macaulay, CSIRO:

Depending on where you source your news, the November 18 release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on weather extremes (http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/) attracted a mixed response in Australia.

This can be partly attributed to the leaking of a draft report earlier in the week, a pre-empting of the report outcomes based on documents held by the BBC but more particularly the timing of the release by the IPCC’s Chris Field at 1.30 pm in Kampala, Uganda – 9.30 pm on Friday evening AEST, a time convenient for US and European media but when most Australian newspapers had been put to bed.

Contributing through the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, Kathy McInnes was the only Special Report co-author on the ground in Australia and accessible. The other Australian co-authors, Neville Nicholls from Monash and John Handmer from RMIT, Melbourne, had been in Uganda and were en route back to Australia.

The full report can be found at – http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/ – and a separate assessment of the treatment can be found in The Conversation by former CMAR scientist Roger Jones – http://theconversation.edu.au/spinning-uncertainty-the-ipcc-extreme-weather-report-and-the-media-4402

 Extremes report key findings

For Australia, it is very likely that there has been an overall decrease in the number of cold days and nights and an overall increase in the number of warm days and nights,

There is low confidence that any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity are robust, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.

It is likely that there has been an increase in extreme coastal high water related to trends in mean sea level in the late 20th century.

It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures on the global scale. There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation on the global scale. It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme sea levels via mean sea level contributions. There is low confidence in attribution of changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences.

It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur through the 21st century and it is very likely that the length, frequency and/or intensity of warm spells, including heat waves, will continue to increase over most land areas.

IPCC terms | Virtually certain:  99-100% probability | Very likely:  90-100% probability | likely:  66-100% probability | About as likely as not:  33 to 66% probability | Unlikely:  0-33% probability | Very unlikely:  0-10% probability | Exceptionally unlikely:  0-1% probability


Climate change workshops – special offer for ASC

Starting this August is a wonderful opportunity for professional development for those working in the area of climate change communication, policy, education and engagement:
Communicating Climate Change Workshop Series

  • Workshop 1: Communicating the Science with Jenni Metcalfe (11 August 2010)
  • Workshop 2: Communicating the Story with Sohail Inayatullah (25 August 2010)
  • Workshop 3: Communicating for Action with Kath Fisher (8 September 2010)

ASC has collaborated with The International Association for Public Participation Australasia and the Sydney Environmental Educators Network to present this series of three innovative workshops with three leading practitioners during August and September 2010. There is a substantial discount for members of these organisations to attend the sessions. Spaces are limited and if you are keen to attend book now. You can book for the entire series or for individual workshops.

The series is designed for anyone working in the area of climate change communication, policy, education and engagement and is hosted by the Powerhouse Museum as part of the Ultimo Science Festival.

Cost: $110 for IAP2, AAEE and ASC members, students and NGOs (incl GST), $220 other non-members (incl GST)
Venue: Powerhouse Museum, Board Room

Book today – don’t miss out. Go to www.iap2.org.au/events for information and to register (scroll through the Events page to August 2010 and September; IAP2 NSW – Communicating Climate Change – Workshop…). The workshops are three hours long and there are two sessions each day.

Follow this link to view the flyer of the workshop series: Climate change workshop flyer

Jesse Shore

Climate adaptation conference: Call for abstracts

29 June 2010to1 July 2010

The Climate Adaptation Futures Conference, Gold Coast June 2010 is now calling for abstracts.

There are 3 obvious communication topics: Risk communication and behavioural change, Communication of information for adaptation, Climate information for users.

More info: http://www.nccarf.edu.au/conference2010

This conference will be one of the first international forums to focus solely on climate impacts and adaptation. It will bring together scientists and decision makers from developed and developing countries to share research approaches, methods and results. It will explore the way forward in a world where impacts are increasingly observable and adaptation actions are increasingly required.