Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Global Cooling" Will Not Last Unless We Act

There's a great article in Real Climate, refuting the latest hype about "global warming being over" or "taking a pause" because of a short-term cooling trend. We've got to watch the real long-term average trend, using data without "holes" (e.g. not being blind to arctic warming). So enjoy the current reminder of what the climate used to be like. It will not last unless we take some serious action, and soon.

(h/t to BBC blog comment by PeterHN)

Doing Just Two Things Is Enough to Prevent Climate Change

For Blog Action Day 2009, wrote that "If We All Just Do Two Things We Can Prevent Climate Change" -- and what are those two amazing things?
"1) Sign Up For Green Power With Your Utility"

"2) Stop Eating Meat"
Sounds familiar to me.

- We're on green power from BullfrogPower since January 2007
- We've been vegetarian for the last 20 years.

Both changes have been easier than many people think. Among many other benefits, vegetarianism saves you money (beans and whole grains are cheap - meat is expensive). Green power may cost more per kWh -- but if you conserve electricity throughout your house, you could cut your consumption in half, and pay the same in the end as you did for conventional power, with no major impact on your lifestyle.

But why stop there? We've done lots of other things too:

Transportation - driving as little and as efficiently as possible by:
- Walking - healthy, community-friendly and cheap!
- Biking - folding bikes, child bike seats and bike trailers work great, too!
- Taking a train - GO Transit or VIA Rail - train schedule permitting
- W
orking from home (telecommuting) - one of us does it each working day
- Driving very fuel-efficient conventional and hybrid cars - we buy the most fuel-efficient used cars that we can find - they also tend to be the most reliable and therefore cheapest to maintain
Home Energy
- Insulating our basement and crawl space
- Upgrading to very energy-efficient basement windows
- Using a programmable thermostat to save natural gas
- Installing super-efficient, dual-flush toilet - less water used = less energy wasted on pumping and treating it!
- (We're also looking into installing a solar water heater - stay tuned!)

Reuse & Recycling
- Bringing our own mugs/plates/utensils or asking for reusable ones
- Packing litter-free lunches for school

Avoiding bottled water by filling up water bottles tap or fountain
- Using recycled paper in the office, kitchen, living room and bathroom
- Composting or using the municipal Green Bin program for kitchen scraps
- Recycling everything we can using the municipal Blue Bins
- Scrapping and recycling old cars (over 10-12 years old and not worth repairing) via Car Heaven
- Bringing old, unfixable electronic and computer equipment to a municipal recycling depot
Passing it On
- Educating our children on why we do all of this
- Writing this blog
And yes, we live a comfortable, happy life in a typical Canadian city. Self-preservation means moderation, not self-deprivation.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day is Nice, Now We Need Government Action on Climate Change, in Copenhagen And Beyond

Blog Action Day this year takes place on October 15, 2009. It deals with the core topic of this blog, climate change. It's great that thousands of bloggers as well as some companies, NGOs and Governments are blogging and Twittering about climate change. But it would mean nothing without concrete, binding targets to reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and fast. To their credit, the Blog Action Day folks have collected some great links to organizations and campaigns that are trying to prod the world in this direction. Check out the "Take Action" tab on their site.

The Copenhagen Conference (December 7-18, 2009) may be our last, best chance.
But a wise person (Aesop? Lou Holtz?) once quipped,
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
In fact, UN Climate Chief Yvo De Boer has recently warned against a "half-baked climate deal":
"'The time for speeches is over' before final negotiations in December, he said. 'Our planet is being plundered and pillaged on an unprecedented scale.'

"De Boer said the EU, China and Japan are taking needed steps to prevent climate change, but other countries must do better."
I bet he's looking at you, Canada!
"Canadian position prompts walk-out by developing countries at climate talks"
(Story: CP, via Buckdog)
Our country better smarten up, and quickly. There is too much at stake, and no time to lose.