Saturday, August 27, 2011

Climate Change Course

Climate Change. Animal Science, La Trobe University, 2011. Dr Gideon Polya.

A. Man-made global warming and GHGs.

1. Earth’s atmosphere: troposphere (surface to 9 km at poles, 17 km at equator); stratosphere (from tropopause boundary to 50 km; UV-absorbing O3 layer); mesosphere (from stratopause boundary out to 80-85 km; where most meteors burn up); ionosphere (from 50 km out to 1,000 km; solar radiation ionizes molecules).

2. Dry air composition: 78% nitrogen (N2) 21% oxygen (O2), 0.9% argon (Ar), 0.04% CO2 . Air typically has about 1% water (H2O) and increases with temperature in the range 0.01% (dry, polar) to 20% (humid tropical).

3. Greenhouse effect: thermal radiation from sun absorbed by surface and air; re-emitted and reflected light absorbed & re-radiated by air molecules, notably carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), H2O, man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs). Greenhouse effect (John Tyndall, 1858, UK) keeps planet warm. CO2-equivalent (CO2e): total GHGs including CO2 and other GHGs.

4. Radiative forcing and Global Warming Potential (GWP) of GHGs. Radiative forcing measures warming (positive) effects of e.g. GHGs and carbon particles and cooling (negative ) effects of e.g. sulphate aerosols and reflectivity (albedo) of ice, snow and clouds. Relative GWP based on infra-red (IR) absorbance properties and half-life in atmosphere is directly proportional to radiative forcing and inversely proportional to half-life in the atmosphere.

GWP relative to same mass of CO2 on a 20 year time frame: CO2 (1.0), CH4 (79; 105 if aerosol impacts are considered), N2O (289), chlorofluorohydrocarbon CFC-12, CCl2F2 (11,000), hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-22, CHClF2 (5,160), hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-23, CHF3 (12,000), sulphur hexafluoride SF6 (16,300), nitrogen trifluoride NF3 (12,300).

GWP relative to same mass of CO2 (1.0) on a 100 year time frame: CO2 (1.0), CH4 (25), N2O (298), chlorofluorohydrocarbon CFC-12, CCl2F2 (10,900), hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-22, CHClF2 (1,810), hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-23, CHF3 (14,800), sulphur hexafluoride SF6 (22,800), nitrogen trifluoride NF3 (17,200).

5. O3-destroying chlorofluorohydrocarbons (CFCs) such as chlorofluorohydrocarbon CFC-12, CCl2F2 were replaced under the Montreal Convention (1987) by hydrofluorohydrocarbon refrigerants and propellants such as hydrofluorohydrocarbon HFC-23 (CHF3) but the HFCs are now posing an increasing threat because of their increasing use and high GWP.

6. CO2 is the major contributor to anthropogenic global warming (AGW), deriving from aerobic respiration involving oxidation of carbohydrate ( (CH2O)n + O2 -> n CO2 + nH2O), lime (CaO) in cement production (CaCO3 -> CaO + CO2), and the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal ( C + O2 -> CO2) , oil (CH3(CH2)nH + ((3n +4)/2)O2 -> (n+1)CO2 + (n+2)H2O) and natural gas, mainly methane (CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O).

Major CO2 sinks include photosynthetic bacterial photosynthesis and plant photosynthesis yielding cellulose and related carbohydrates of wood and thence of soil carbonaceous compounds of humus. Photosynthesis yields carbohydrate: nCO2 + nH20 + solar energy -> (CH2O)n + nO2. Most of photosynthesis is reversed by carbohydrate oxidation by fires or aerobic organisms: (CH2O)n + O2 -> nCO2 + nH2O. Some CO2 dissolves in ocean water, this resulting in biologically deleterious acidification: CO2 + H2O -> H2CO3 -> HCO3- + H+; HCO3- -> CO32- + H+ (see later: threat to coral from ocean acidification as well as warming).

Coal derives from anaerobic geologic conversion of cellulosic carbohydrates to carbon ((CH2O)n + heat, pressure -> nC + n H2O). Subterranean oil drives from anaerobic decarboxylation of biologically-derived fatty acids (CH3(CH2)n-COOH + heat, pressure -> CH3(CH2)nH + CO2. Subterranean methane derives from anaerobic reduction of carbohydrates by anaerobic bacteria (reduction being addition of electrons (e-), addition of hydrogen atoms (H) or removal of oxygen (O)): (CH2O)n + 4H (derived from catabolism and reduced coenzymes) -> nCH4 + nH2O.

7. Methane derives from anaerobic degradation of biological material e.g. in swamps, waste dumps, livestock digestion: (CH2O)n + 4H (derived from reduced coenzymes) -> nCH4 + nH2O. Global warming is already releasing CH4 from H2O-CH4 clathrates in tundra and in shallow parts of the Arctic Ocean. Fugitive CH4 emissions occur from coal mines, coal seam gas (CSG) extraction, conventional natural gas extraction, from coal seam and shale fracking and from systemic gas reticulation leakage.

8. Nitrous oxide (N2O) derives from agricultural use of nitrogenous fertilizers and from fossil fuel (coal, gas and oil) combustion.

9. CO2 concentration. As determined from ice cores the atmospheric CO2 concentration has been 180-300 parts per million (ppm) for the last 800,000 years (excluding the last century), during which time Homo sapiens finally evolved (glaciation at low CO2 and inter-glacial at high CO2). Indeed these circa 100,000 year cycle oscillations (determined by the earth’s orientation towards the sun and the ellipticity of its orbit) crucially contributed to the final evolution of man (repeated severe selection pressures). Atmospheric CO2 , now 394 ppm and increasing at over 2.4 ppm per year (seasonally oscillating, Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii), is reported as a dry air mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of CO2 divided by the number of all molecules in air, including CO2 itself, after water vapor has been removed. Man-made from burning fossil fuels (decreasing 14C; fossil CO2 lacks 14C) and deforestation (initially non-tropical, now mostly tropical).

10. CH4 concentration now 1774 parts per billion (ppb) versus 700 ppb in 1750 (i.e. pre-industrial). N2O concentration is 319 ppb now as compared to 270 ppb in 1750.

11. Temperature change correlates with GHG change. Modelled temperature change from GHG forcings fits observed pattern in nearly all zones (IPCC; key evidence for Anthropogenic Global warming, AGW).

12. Forcing of man-made GHG and absorbing particles 30x that of change in solar input effect. 1750-2005 heating change in watts/m2: air CO2 (+1.7), CH4, N2O, CFCs (+1.0), net O3 (troposphere up, stratosphere down; +0.3), soot (+0.3), reflective particles e.g. sulphate aerosols (-0.7), indirect, cloud-forming particle effects (-0.7), human land-use increasing reflectivity (-0.2), solar input change (+ 0.1).

13. Photosynthesis and re-oxidation carbon cycle. Terrestrial carbon fixation of 121.3 GtC/y (x 44/12 = 3.7 -> 449 Gt CO2 = 449 billion tonnes of CO2) of which about half returns annually to the atmosphere through plant and animal respiration and most of the remaining half returns to the air through the action of soil fungi and bacteria. Net terrestrial biome production 0.7 GtC/year. Ocean photosynthesis (prokaryotic cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae) 45 GtC /year.

14. Biochar from anaerobic pyrolysis (400-700C) conversion of cellulosic material to carbon (C, charcoal, biochar, Amazonian Indian terra preta): (CH2O)n + heat -> nC + nH2O. Current potential: 1.7 GtC/yr (straw from agriculture) + 4.2 GtC/yr (total grass upgrowth from grasslands upgrowth) + 6 GtC/yr (possible sustainable woodharvest) = 11.9 GtC/yr. Professor Johannes Lehmann (Cornell University): could fix 9.5bn tonnes of carbon per year using biochar, noting global annual production of carbon from fossil fuels is 8.5bn tonnes (see later: biochar is a major means of returning atmospheric CO2 to 300 ppm from current dangerous and damaging 394 ppm; geoengineering abatement).

15. Carbon storage. 750 GtC in atmosphere (mostly CO2; half due to historical fossil fuel combustion); 700 GtC in biomass (mostly wood); 1,600 GtC in soil; 36,000 GtC in ocean as bicarbonate ion (HCO3-); no net CO2 from vulcanism and weathering (time scale < 100,000 years).

16. World Bank analysts have recently re-assessed annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution as 50% bigger than hitherto thought and that the livestock contribution is over 51% of the bigger figure (major element: 20 year time frame considered for CH4 GWP).

B. Already observed climatic disruption consequences of global warming.

1. Climate is the pattern of weather. Average surface temperature + 0.8C; +2C inevitable on current trends; may reach +4C by 2100.

2. Non-uniform temperature increase e.g. +2C (Indian Ocean), +4C (Arctic), average +0.8C; thermal inertia, >90% extra heat in oceans.

3. Uneven heating changes wind patterns e.g. East Asia monsoon weakening.

4. Glaciers are shrinking word-wide. No net deposition of ice in Himalayas (no deposition of atmospheric radioactivity) – feeds rivers from Pakistan to China.

5. Permafrost thawing (Fairbanks, Alaska: average circa 0C, +2C over last 50 years). Permafrost melts at T> 0C (noting CH4 release and positive feedback).

6. Arctic summer sea ice disappearing (80% decrease of total mass; NIDC data: half surface area gone already, the rest to go by about 2030, NW Passage open in summer).

7. Surface melting in Greenland expanding (+ 7 metres sea level if all goes).

8. China: increased floods (south), increased drought (north); same pattern in Australia of increased floods (closer to equator), increased drought (south).

9. A 4-10-fold increase in major flood events per decade around the world (1950-2000) (increased sea temperature means increased humidity, increased precipitation). Statistically proven AGW cause for recent Welsh floods but hard to prove in general because of weather variability (cf cannot prove an individual smoker’s lung cancer due to smoking).

10. Consensus prediction of an increased number of the more intense storms as AGW increases (arguable doubling of tropical hurricane intensity 1950-2000; tropical cyclone power increase parallels increased sea temperature).

11. Melting land ice and thermal expansion increasing sea level (3.0 mm/yr, 1993-2003; 1.5 mm/yr, 1910-1990; circa 20 cm). Major problem for India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, other tropical megadelta regions (storm surges).

12. Ocean acidification due to CO2 dissolution and ionization (0.1pH; see below: coral threat).

13. Loss of major CO2 uptake by Southern Ocean (increased storm intensity impact).

14. Over 90% of extra heat in oceans.

C. Already observed biological impacts related to AGW.

1. Ecosystem migration towards poles with AGW (e.g. ocean phytoplankton, deciduous trees in Canada).

2. Heat waves 2x more frequent in Europe (2003 heat wave killed 35,000-50,000 people). January 2009 heat wave prior to 7 February 2009 Victoria Black Saturday killed 500 in SE Australia (elderly more frail, decreased stress signaling).

3. Drought and heat causing increased forest fires (4-10-fold increase in forest area burned in W USA, 1970-2000). Amazon forests threatened by drought and burning positive feedback cycle. Threat to Australia.

4. Mountain pine beetle (MPB) Dendroctonus ponderosae blight (warmer winters, increased survival; larval feeding; fungus infection prevents tree resin defence; devastation of North American conifer forests, US, Canada).

5. Disease migration towards poles (e.g. dengue fever and malaria spread through mosquito vector migration).

6. Increased drought impact in Southern US, Central America, Brazil, Europe, Russia, Mediterranean, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa, Siberia, Central Asia, Northern China, Southern Australia, SE Asia (+1C -> 10% decrease in sub-tropical grain yield).

7. Increased temperature, droughts, floods and coastal loss coupled with increased population (9.5 billion by 2050) means greater impact on ecosystems.

8. Coral loss started at 320 ppm CO2 (general death above 450 ppm; ecosystem disaster).

9. Sex ratio changes in reptilian species due to increased average temperature.

10 Species extinction rate is now 100-1,000 times greater than previously, impacted by AGW and increasing human population and land use.

D. Projected biological impacts.

1. Increasing temperature, drought, floods, sea level rise (possibly 2 metre by 2100), increased high intensity storms and storm surges (see (C) above) resulting in further loss of arable land, ecosystems, pressure on remaining ecosystems.

2. Coral loss due to ocean warming (expulsion of Zooxanthellae photosynthetic algae symbionts and coral bleaching) and ocean acidification from CO2 dissolution impacts on calcareous exoskeleton formation. Major coral death above 450 ppm CO2.

3. Ocean acidification impacting all ocean organisms with calcareous exoskeletons (e.g. lobster, crab and shrimp crustaceans).

4. Above 500 ppm CO2 major loss of phytoplankton (bottom of the ocean food chain) and dimethyl sulphide (DMS) production (involved in cloud seeding); complete loss of Greenland ice sheet (long-term loss yielding 7 m sea level rise); loss of terrestrial plants as CO2 sinks (i.e. net CO2 emission).

5. Complete loss of Arctic summer sea ice in circa 2030 (loss of ecosystems, increased risk of oil pollution in Arctic.from increased shipping).

6. Successive loss of Antarctic sea ice, phytoplankton, krill and thence krill-eating animals e.g. fish, penguins, seals, whales.

7. Water stress in particular regions with agricultural, ecosystem, peace impacts.

8. Climate genocide. Both Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Director, Tyndall Centre, UK) have recently estimated that only about 0.5 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming. Noting that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050, these estimates translate to a climate genocide involving deaths of 10 billion people this century, this including roughly 2 times the present populations of various non-European groups, specifically 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. Biofuel genocide (food for fuel, price increase, volatility).

E. Urgency of required action.

1. Just as we turn to top medical specialists for advice on life-threatening disease, so we turn to the opinions of top scientists and in particular top biological and climate scientists for Climate Change risk assessment. Thus some opinions: (a) Professor James Hansen (top US climate scientist, head, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies): “We face a climate emergency”; (b) Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty: “We are in real danger”; (c) Professor David de Kretser AC (eminent medical scientist and former Governor of Victoria, Australia): “There is no doubt in my mind that this is the greatest problem confronting mankind at this time and that it has reached the level of a state of emergency”; (d) Dr Andrew Glikson (palaeo-climate scientist, ANU): “The continuing use of the atmosphere as an open sewer for industrial pollution has … raised CO2 levels to 387 ppm CO2 to date, leading toward conditions which existed on Earth about 3 million years (Ma) ago (mid-Pliocene), when CO2 levels rose to about 400 ppm, temperatures to about 2–3 degrees C and sea levels by about 25 +/- 12 metres”; (e) Synthesis Report of the March 2009 Copenhagen Scientific Climate Change Conference: “Inaction is inexcusable”; and (f) 2010 Open Letter by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences: “Delay is not an option”.

2. Climate emergency actions urgently required: (a) Change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management and biological sustainability with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying; (b) Urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm (as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists to address the current mass species extinction event and to permit return and sustainability of Arctic sea ice); (c) Rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that have currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power and a 4 times cheaper “true price” taking environmental and human impacts into account) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon as biochar to soils coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth.

3. Budget approach to last remaining permissible GHG pollution.

(a). Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany): for a 67% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise the World must cease CO2 emissions by 2050 and top per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) polluters such as the US and Australia must get to zero CO2 emissions by 2020.

(b) Australian Climate Commission's 2011 "The Critical Decade" report: for a 75% chance of avoiding a disastrous 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise the World can emit no more than 1 trillion tonnes of CO2 before reaching zero emissions in about 2050. Australia's high Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution rate means it must get to zero emissions in 1.9 years (or in 4.6 years ignoring Exported GHG pollution).

(c) WBGU (that advises German Government on climate change), “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” (2009): for a 75% chance of avoiding a disastrous 2 degree Centigrade (2C) temperature rise the World can emit no more than 0.6 trillion tonnes of CO2 before reaching zero emissions in about 2050. Australia's high Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution rate means that by August 2011 it had already used up its “fair share”.

F. Further key points..

1. Gas is not clean, it is dirty, 1 tonne of methane (CH4) generating 2.8 tonnes CO2 on combustion. Gas burning is cleaner than coal burning in terms of twice the MWh/tonne CO2 emitted and less health damaging pollutants but gas is not cleaner than coal burning GHG-wise. Thus methane (CH4) leaks (3.3% in the US; 7.9% from fracking shale deposits) and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a GHG on a 20 year time frame taking aerosol impacts into account, this meaning that a Carbon Tax-driven coal to gas transition could double electric power industry-derived GHG pollution (if shale gas used).

2. Climate change is damaging and destroying ecosystems (ecocide) and the species extinction rate is now 100-1,000 times greater than normal (Australia is a word leader). We must not destroy what we cannot replace.

3. Leading scientists, economists and analysts slam the Carbon Trading Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) approach as empirically ineffective, dangerously counterproductive and inherently fraudulent because it involves governments selling licences to pollute the one common atmosphere of all countries.

4. 2.6 % leakage of CH4 yields the same greenhouse effect as burning the remaining 97.4% (noting that 1g CH4 has 105 times the GWP of 1 g CO2) – ergo, stop gas exploitation, aquifer-poisoning and aquifer-depleting fracking of shale and coal seams.

5. Many countries (e.g. EU countries and Australia) support a 450 ppm CO2 -e and 2C temperature rise "cap". However the Synthesis Report of the 2,500-delegate March 2009 scientific Copenhagen Climate Conference indicates that we have already exceeded 450 ppm CO2-e and over 90% of delegates polled thought 2C was inevitable.

6. Atmospheric CO2 must be urgently returned to about 300 ppm for a safe Planet.for all peoples and all species. Circa 320 ppm CO2 is required for restoration of the Arctic sea ice and for coral sustainability. However atmospheric CO2 concentration is currently 394 ppm and is increasing at about 2.4 ppm per year. Less not more!

7. Stop shale oil exploitation (e.g. Canada-US keystone oil pipeline) means “game over” for Planet. Dr James Hansen (NASA): “The tar sands are estimated (e.g., see IPCC Fourth Assessment Report) to contain at least 400 GtC (equivalent to about 200 ppm CO2). Easily available reserves of conventional oil and gas are enough to take atmospheric CO2 well above 400 ppm, which is unsafe for life on earth. However, if emissions from coal are phased out over the next few decades and if unconventional fossil fuels including tar sands are left in the ground, it is conceivable to stabilize earth's climate. Phasing out emissions from coal is itself an enormous challenge. However, if the tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is essentially game over.”

8. “Annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 54 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included).

G. Australia

1. Carbon burning pollutants have been estimated from Canadian and New Zealand data to kill about 10,000 Australians yearly. Australians dying each year from the effects of pollutants from vehicles, coal burning for electricity and other carbon burning total about 2,200, 4,600 and 2,800, respectively.

2. Australia has about 0.3% of the World’s population but its Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution is about 3% of the World total (climate exceptionalism, climate racism, and climate injustice in addition to horrific intergenerational inequity).

3. Australia already has a huge negative carbon tax of $12 billion annually to subsidize carbon burning.

4. It is estimated that an Australian carbon tax of circa $25/tonne carbon will encourage gas-fired power, $70/tonne carbon will encourage wind and about $200/tonne carbon will encourage concentrated solar thermal installation (indeed Australian Government hopes for a Carbon Tax-driven coal to gas transition).

5. True carbon price. A risk avoidance-based estimate of $7.6 million for the value of a statistical life and Australia’s annual Domestic GHG pollution (2009) of 600 million tonnes CO2-e (162 million tonnes Carbon) yields a Carbon Price of $7.6 million x 10,000 annual deaths/ 162 million tonnes Carbon = $469/tonne carbon.

6. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) has projected that Australia's black coal exports will increase at an average rate of 2.6% per year over the next 20 years and that liquid natural gas (LNG) exports will increase at 9% per year over the same period. Further, it is estimated that Australian exports of dried brown coal will reach 20 million tonnes by 2020, this corresponding to about 59 million tonnes CO2-e after combustion.

7. The Carbon Tax-ETS-Ignore Agriculture (CTETSIA) policy of the Australian Government fails comprehensively in 3 key areas, specifically (1) it entrenches climate change inaction for decades by promoting a Carbon Tax-driven coal to gas transition (that will double electricity generation-derived GHG pollution if shale gas used) and scuppering science-demanded 100% renewable energy by 2020; (2) it adopts an empirically ineffective, disastrously counterproductive and inherently fraudulent ETS approach and (3) ignores major GHG sources of petrol, diesel, biofuel, fossil fuel exports (apart from fugitive emissions, extraction and transport costs), soil, forestry and agriculture (agriculture is responsible for over 50% of GHG pollution).

8.. Success in “tackling climate change” is surely measured in terms of GHG pollution reduction but Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution increased from 1,018 Mt CO2-e (CO2 equivalent) in 2000 to 1,415 million tonnes CO2-e in 2009 and is expected to reach about 1,799 Mt CO2-e by 2020 and 4,490b Mt CO2-e in 2050. However Treasury ABARE and US EIA data show the following Australian Domestic and Exported GHG pollution (in millions of tonnes of CO2-equivalent, Mt CO2-e) for Australia under the proposed Carbon Price plan:

2000: 496 (Domestic) + 505 (coal exports) + 17 (LNG exports) = 1,018.

2009: 600 (Domestic) + 784 (coal exports) + 31 (LNG exports) = 1,415.

2020: 621 (Domestic) + 1,039 (black coal exports) + 80 (LNG exports) + 59 (brown coal exports) = 1,799.

2050: 527 (Domestic) + 2902 (coal exports) + 1,061 (LNG exports) = 4,490.

H. 100% renewable energy, cessation of GHG pollution, re-afforestation and biochar.

1. The Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) plan for 100% renewable stationary energy for Australia by 2020 (Zero Carbon Australia by 2020, ZCA 2020) involves 40% wind energy, 60% concentrated solar thermal (CST) with molten salts energy storage for 24/7 baseload power, biomass and hydroelectric backup (for days of no wind and low sunshine) and a HV DC and HC AC national power grid. The BZE scheme was costed at $370 billion over 10 years, with roughly half spent on CST, one quarter on wind and one quarter on the national electricity grid.

2. Seligman scheme. A scheme for 100% renewable energy for Australia has been set out by top electrical engineer Professor Peter Seligman (a major player in development of the bionic ear). Professor Seligman’s scheme involves wind, solar thermal, other energy sources, hydrological energy storage (in dams on the Nullabor Plain in Southern Australia), an HV AC and HV DC electricity transmission grid and a cost over 20 years of $253 billion.

3. Wind power. Ignoring cost-increasing energy storage and transmission grid costs and cost-decreasing economies of scale for a 2- to10-fold size increase, here are 2 similar cost estimates for installation of wind power for 80% of Australia’s projected 325,000 GWh of annual electrical energy by 2020: (1) 90,000 MW capacity, 260,000 GWh/year, $200 billion/10 years (10-fold scale-up from GL Garrad Hassan) and (2) 96,000 MW, 260,000 GWh/year, $144 billion (2-fold scale up from BZE ).

4. Science-demanded reduction of atmospheric CO2 from 394 ppm to 300 ppm requires “negative GHG emissions” achieved by cessation of GHG pollution ASAP and CO2 reduction though re-afforestation, renewable energy driven CO2 trapping in alkaline solutions, and biochar (as much as 12 billion tonnes carbon as biochar can be fixed annually globally from renewable energy-driven anaerobic pyrolysis of agricultural and forestry cellulosic waste).

5. Re-afforestation (SE Australian native forests are World’s best forest carbon sinks; 14 M ha, 25.5 Gt CO2, 460 Mt CO2/yr avoided for next 100 years if retained). Nicholas Stern: only $20 billion pa to halve annual global deforestation.

6. Livestock production inefficient, requires compensating carbon sinks – we are all in this together.

I. Some useful references.

This course synopsis is on the websites for the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group (see: and ) and (see: and ) together with numerous detailed Web-accessible references (these sites also contain many other carefully researched and documented articles).

James Hansen, “Letter to PM Kevin Rudd”: .

John Holdren, “The science of climatic disruption”: .

Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, “Terra quasi-incognita: beyond the 2 degree C line”: .


1. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, “Terra quasi-incognita: beyond the 2 degree C line”< 4 Degrees & Beyond, International Climate Conference, 26-30 September 2009, Oxford University, UK : .

2. Beyond Zero Emissions Zero (BZE), Zero Carbon Australia by 2020 Report (BZE ZCA2020 Report), 2010: .

3. Australian Climate Commission, “The Critical Decade. Climate science, risks and responses”, 2011: .

4. Gideon Polya, “Country By Country Analysis Of Years Left Until Science-demanded Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, Countercurrents, 11 June 2011: .

5. Gideon Polya, “Australia's Carbon Tax And Coal To Gas Transition Will Double Power Generation Greenhouse Gas Pollution”, Countercurrents, 15 May 2011: .

6. Gideon Polya, “Carbon Price & Climate Change Action Fact Sheet for leading per capita greenhouse gas polluter Australia”, Bellaciao, 14 March 2011: .

7. Phillip Levin, Donald Levin, “The real biodiversity crisis”, American Scientist, January-February 2002: .

8. “Australia’s threatened species”, Nova: .

9. “Experts: carbon tax needed and not cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme (ETS”, .

10. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?”, World Watch, November/December 2009: .

11. Synthesis Report from the March 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, Climate Change, Global risks, challenges & decisions”, Copenhagen 10-12 March, 2009, University of Copenhagen, Denmark: .

12. “ – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm”, .

13. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA, “Recent monthly mean CO2 at Mauna Loa”: .

14. “Australian carbon burning-related deaths”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: .

15. “Climate Genocide”: .

16. Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), “Australia spends $11 billion more encouraging pollution than cleaning it up”, 1 March 2011: .

17. Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), “Carbon pricing – will it benefit renewable energy”, February 2011: .

18. Gideon Polya, “Australia's Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution has increased under Labor”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: .

19. ABARE, “Australian energy national and state projections to 2029-2030”: .

20. Peter Seligman, “Australian sustainable energy – by the numbers”, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne , 2010:

21. GL Garrad Hassan .

22. Gideon Polya, “Forest biomass-derived Biochar can profitably reduce global warming and bushfire risk”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: .

23. “Climate crisis facts and required actions”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: .

24. Gideon Polya, “Oz Labor’s Carbon Tax-ETS & gas for coal plan means INCREASED GHG pollution”, Bellaciao, 27 August 2011: .

25. Gideon Polya, “Shocking analysis by country of years left to zero emissions”, Green Blog, 1 August 2011: .

26. Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch , Gavin A. Schmidt , Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science, 30 October 2009:
Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: .

27 Shindell et al (2009), Fig.2: .

28. Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro and Anthony Ingraffea, “Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations”, Climatic Change, 2011: .

29. Australian Treasury, “Strong growth, low pollution. Modelling a carbon price”, 2011: .

30. John Holdren, “The Science of climatic disruption”: .

31. James Hansen, “Letter to PM Kevin Rudd”: .

32. Brendan Mackey, Heather Keith, Sandra Berry, David Lindenmeyer (ANU), “Green Carbon. The role of natural forests in carbon storage”: .

Dr Gideon Polya currently teaches science students at a major Australian university. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has recently published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007): ) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: ). He has just published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: bengalfamine_programme.html ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: and .