We Are Alone! Climate Change Laws Span The World

Some more great content from Simon Wild!
I wonder how many Aussies realise where we stand on this issue when compared with the rest of the world…


alone There was a great article in Forbes magazine recently called “We Are Not Alone. Climate Change Laws Span The World”. But unfortunately the ‘we’ refers to the US not Australia. In Australia we are alone. And it will put us in a competitive disadvantage. Here’s why.

Let’s start with the article. The main gist is that American’s aren’t alone in the creation of national or state level climate change legislation. The article focuses on the results of a global study put together by the Globe, the Global Legislators’ Organisation, and the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. The study found “almost 500 climate change laws having been passed in the countries covered by the study” and that  “Eight countries passed climate laws in 2013, from Bolivia to Poland to the United Arab Emirates, with another 19 making positive advances.”

The article goes on to talk about the…

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Sustainability v. Climate Change

Here I am shamelessly stealing Simon Wild’s content again! Simon has a great blog which covers sustainability as opposed to climate change specifically. Enjoy the post and go follow him – it’s a great read!


20130905-084231.jpg A quick post on my recent experiences in the different perceptions of climate change and sustainability.

I recently ran a sustainability workshop in a town located in Northern NSW, beautiful town, on a river prone to flooding, near the ocean but low lying and in an area most hit by the global financial crisis. So while we were setting up for the workshop I asked a few of the local community a couple of questions.

Is climate change an important issue for the community?No, not really. The majority of people don’t really believe in climate change, we have natural weather cycles. OK I thought a fairly common response, that’s ok.

What about green buildings, building green and such?No, not really. We don’t really see a need for that where we live.

OK keep pressing I thought. I left it a couple of minutes, talked about politics…

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Coal export is a bad investment says Goldman Sachs

Some evidence to further support recent decisions from Obama and the World Bank re. Not investing in coal…


20130805-210832.jpg An interesting one from Grist – a report from Goldman Sachs has highlighted the financial investment risk of coal export terminals in the US.

Grist starts off by highlighting the famous Warren Buffet saying that the financial investment in new coal fired power stations is a bad bet – certainly something that has been muted in Australia. Plus the fact that a large proportion of the planned new power generation facilities are renewable or gas is a good indication of the lack of financial viability of coal, not sure what this means for CCS.

The article then goes on to suggest that US coil companies are now starting to look at coal exports as a way of continuing a revenue stream from thermal coal – if I can’t sell it locally, flog it elsewhere. We have certainly been taking advantage of the rapid growth in China and India, particularly…

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Sunday Morning Disruptive Technology – Robotic Underground Bike Store


20130614-182347.jpg Giken in Japan have been pushing automated underground car parking for a while and now they have produced a smaller version for bicycles.

It looks awesome. You ride up to it, swipe your access card and your bike gets whisked away into the underground store. It gets kept dry, secure and out of sight.

Love it. I hope we get one in Australia soon, I can’t wait to try it.

Giken describe their concepts as ‘function below ground, culture above ground’ I wonder what other functional stuff we could put below ground?

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China stops taking our rubbish – how it could impact Australia

We really need to look at Waste to Energy more seriously. There are far better ways of meeting our energy demand of course, but, there is room for a little bit of WTE. Plasma-arc gassification can deal with some pretty nasty waste which just can’t be recycled. Some plastics can be converted to biodiesel using pyrolysis http://youtu.be/hZ6Rv6hERfY – I’m not sure how clean these processes are but for every tonne of end-use plastic there is an opportunity to produce 800 litres of biodiesel. Too good to be true? I don’t know but it’s certainly worth investigating!


20130514-204909.jpg The impact of the recently imposed Chinese Green Fence on the trash produced in American cities was covered recently by Quartz. But what impact could it have on Australia?

First up, the Chinese Green Fence.

We have very effectively exported the energy, water and environmental impact of processing waste from our own countries to developing countries – whether its e-waste, plastic or paper there is an energy, water and toxic chemical impact of recycling these products.

China over the last few years has become more and more aware of the environmental impact of processing our waste. And they have recently established what they have called The Green Fence to try and minimise the impact of our waste on their country.

The Green Fence sets out minimum standards on the cleanliness of the waste plastic (fair enough thats what we do), they have set standards to say that if an…

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Plastic Bag Free Freo Update

A brilliantly simple law! The statistics around how long plastic stays with us in landfill and in our oceans are horrendous. A great way for the entire community to feel good about itself.

City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt's Blog

The City of Fremantle’s local law which prohibits retailers from providing customers with single–use non–biodegradable plastic bags will come into effect from 21 August 2013.

SO we are starting to role out the education campaign. Some more info is here :


byo bags


Why is the City introducing this law?

Despite our reduction in plastic bag use Australians still use over four billion plastic checkout–style bags a year–all of them made from non–renewable fossil fuels. We only use plastic bags for minutes, but many of them can take hundreds of years to break down.

What does the new law require me to do?

The ban will prohibit you from selling or giving away plastic bags made of polyethylene polymer less than 60 microns thick. Check with your supplier if you are unsure about composition or thickness.

Will the ban apply to all Fremantle retailers?

Yes. The ban applies to…

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Why ratings tools don’t necessarily help to reduce carbon emissions

The biggest disadvantage in trying to rate buildings or precincts using a sustainability tool is that there is no metric in which to measure sustainability. This might seem like an obvious statement but it’s importance cannot be understated!

The way around this ‘inconvenience’ is to use some kind of weighted rating system which ends up manifesting itself in stars (as in our own Green Star scheme) or leaves (EnviroDevelopment), precious metals (LEED in the US) or you could even be given a hearty pat on the back with a score of “excellent” or even “outstanding”! as only the Brits could do! (look at BREEAM).

There is however, an alternative and it has been developed right here in Australia.


Kinesis, a consultancy based in the Surrey Hills, Sydney provide evidence based strategies for tackling climate change to businesses and government at all levels. They have developed a suite of tools that assist them including CCAP Precinct, a tool I have used to examine case studies as part of my PhD research. The tool allows the user to set a baseline and measure performance in a number of KPI’s but what I find most interesting for my research is that it gives real numbers in terms of carbon emissions across all of the indicators. So if you really want to see how effective a developmental proposal is in reducing emissions you might want to use a tool that provides some metrics rather than a tick in a box.

I’ve also written a review paper on the Precinct tool which I presented at the MODSIM Conference in Perth last week. If you’d like a copy of the paper contact me through the comments section.

Thoughts of a Decarb researcher