Sunday, March 3, 2013

Climate change infographic

Just over nine years ago, I resigned my senior job at CSIRO Australia, the national applied research laboratory.  I had spent nearly 30 years as an academic and government researcher in industrial and applied mathematics, and I’d decided that the rest of my productive life would be as an inventor in renewable energy and related fields.  That led to an interesting journey, which still continues.

Most of those nine years have focussed on new ideas for solar thermal power such as BRRIMS.  There have also been investigations of dryers and dehumidifiers and desalination, the latter topic being so secret that I have never described my work in publications or on the internet.

My passion still burns fiercely – I think we are making the world worse, not better, and I want contribute to an improvement.  I am deeply concerned about excessive consumption of resources, especially energy, and the damage this causes to our spaceship home, Planet Earth.  Above all, there is the terrible prospect of long-term climate change that in a worst case might leave the planet uninhabitable for humans.  See here and here for my further comments on these issues.

It’s always a pleasure to meet others holding similar views to mine, especially when they have a different set of competencies, a scientifically honest standpoint, and are willing to promote their views for all to see.

This blog post then is a tribute to the authors of the handful of blogs I read every day.

In the field of climate change, I only read four blogs: is, quite simply, astounding.  If my memory serves me well, it was founded by a school teacher who wanted to rebut denialist views of his father.  Or was it the father-in-law?  Whatever, it is now an immensely valuable resource in which up-to-date climate science is presented daily in a very readable way. is at a higher level.  It’s written by the people who publish in the best journals in the field.  The blog posts aren’t all that frequent, but what appears is of extremely high quality. is a blog written by “tamino”, nom de plume of a US-based statistician.  He is razor sharp and blogs frequently.  He can be counted on for a lacerating debunking of denialist posts, often within hours of them appearing. is written by my former CSIRO colleague Nick Stokes.  A natural genius, Stokes will always find a new way to look at big problems such as climate change and then pursue in-depth practical implementations.

I also follow two blogs concerned with oil and fossil fuel energy: is a big blog with numerous contributors.  Most of the postings are written by engineers in the fossil fuel industry.  Typical posts deal with technicalities, such as how much oil remains, who is producing what, and what are the major issues that need to be confronted.  The blog is refreshingly free from commercial hype, and I read it to know better the devil that must not be fully exploited. deals with similar issues to The Oil Drum, but is less frequent and has more of scholarly standpoint.

That’s the long and short of the blogs I read.  On some days there is enough reading for 30-45 minutes, on other days I skim the contents in 5-10 minutes.  My daily reading also includes the mainstream media and various e-magazines, but I won’t discuss them here.

I was inspired to write this blog post because I recently had an approach from Allison Lee, who I assume is a young person based in the USA.  She had found my blog and asked if I’d comment on some infographics that she had prepared.  The topic – why it’s climate change of course!  I like the way she assembles relevant information and provides it in a palatable way for a younger audience such as 10-18 year olds at school, or for young adults with similar educational levels.

You can check out Allison’s infographic here.  It might be a useful link for your children or grandchildren.

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