Postcard from Bangkok

This is a guest blog from Oxfam NZ’s executive director Barry Coates, in Bangkok for the latest round of negotiations in the run-up to Copenhagen. Barry sets the scene:

Tcktcktck. The clock counts down to the deadline for climate change negotiations. Not to achieve an agreement is unthinkable. It was good last week to hear the speeches of heads of state at the UN meeting in New York saying how committed they are to a deal. But the key question is how. It is not easy to negotiate a hugely important global deal amongst 192 countries. And especially since climate science demands that there be a dramatic transformation of economic activity worldwide.

That’s the scene setting for UN negotiations on climate change that started yesterday in Bangkok. There are 15 days of negotiations before the Copenhagen conference and hundreds of pages of densely typed documents. The challenge? Distill it all down to about 30 pages, agree on some of the key issues and avoid a massive greenwash.

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Time loves a hero

“I used to be very frustrated. But the blog keeps my blood pressure down.” Joseph Romm, quoted in Time Magazine’s article naming him as one of their Heroes of the Environment 2009. His blog Climate Progress doesn’t read like a blood pressure-lowering exercise. Every day brings several fresh and vigorous posts cheering on those working to tackle climate change, demolishing the naysayers and delayers, drawing attention to developments in clean energy, focusing on significant developments in the science, chiding lazy journalism. 

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Carter, the unstoppable text machine

homer.jpgBob Carter’s writing style (logorrhea, leavened with pomposity) is on display once more at Quadrant Online, and this week’s missive from planet Bob – headlined Media Ecoevangelists — finds him fulminating about an ABC documentary on the future of coal, The Coal Nightmare. I can’t comment on the film, it not having screened over here so far as I can tell, but I can question a few of Bob’s wilder assertions… Continue reading “Carter, the unstoppable text machine”

Sciblogging: they blinded me with science

This week sees the launch of the next big thing in science communication down under – Sciblogs, the new science blogging platform from the NZ Science Media Centre. Sciblogs is hosting 25 blogs, from scientists in Crown Research Institutes, universities and private research companies, with two dozen PhDs involved. I’m letting the side down on that score… but Hot Topic is very pleased to be on the Sciblogs blogroll as one of the founding participants. There are some established bloggers on the platform, including Ken Perrott’s Open Parachute and Jim McVeagh’s MacDoctor, and there many others that deserve a wider audience. New bloggers include Andy Reisinger, a senior climate researcher from VUW, and there’s my new favourite blog with kakapo pictures: Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings (title explanation).

All Hot Topic‘s posts are being syndicated to Sciblogs, and will appear there under our own banner, but this site will continue as before. All discussion will take place here, unless and until we can work out a way of syncing comments between the to two platforms. Sciblogs looks set to be a one-stop shop for great science coverage from New Zealand, and I wish it (and all who sail in her) well.

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Climate compendium: important insights

Compendium“The Climate Change Science Compendium is a wake-up call. The time for hesitation is over”. So wrote Ban Ki-moon in his foreword to this UN Environment Programme publication released last week. The publication is a review of how climate science has evolved since the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), and is based on some 400 major scientific contributions in the peer-reviewed literature or from research institutions since the deadline for inclusion in AR4 three years ago. It appears in response to the request of many governments and stakeholders for a snapshot update. Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the Environment Programme makes it very clear that it doesn’t replace the painstaking rigour of an IPCC process, but he hopes it will provide important insights into the rapidly developing and fast moving realm of climate science so that the choices made by leaders in Copenhagen in December are informed by the best and the latest research available to the international community.

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