The Climate Show #23: Durban and the return of the electric car

Grab some holly, deck your halls, heat up some mince pies, and then settle down to the last Climate Show of 2011. We look at the outcome of the Durban conference, discuss heavy rain in New Zealand and record-breaking weather extremes in the USA, and ponder the implications of news of more methane erupting from the seabed off Siberia. Glenn interviews Chris Paine, director of EV documentary Revenge of the Electric Car, and we round off the show with some optimistic news on possible energy solutions.

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The Climate Show

News & commentary: [0:02:00]

Durban – the deal, and what it means

Mark Lynas at Hot Topic:

Gareth’s take:

Climate Action Tracker

Flooding in Nelson:

Philippines: 400+ killed in flash floods yesterday: BBC

Record year for extremes in US: NOAA, Jeff Masters.

WMO on 2011: world’s 10th warmest year, warmest year with La Niña on record, second-lowest Arctic sea ice extent: release.

Methane in the Arctic: Independent.

[Background] and the links therein.

Interview [0:34:30]

Chris Paine: Revenge of the Electric Car

Solutions [0:54:00]

Game Changing Technologies Promise Climate Change Optimism: Celsias NZ

U.S. Geothermal Resources Could Replace Coal 10 Times Over: Ecogeek

Solar Power Much Cheaper to Produce Than Most Analysts Realize, Study Finds: Science Daily

Solution Fail: Congress spared the 100-watt incandescent light bulb from a government-enforced phaseout in a win for Tea Party activists over manufacturers who said they are already switching to more energy-efficient products: Business Week

Thanks to our media partners: Idealog Sustain, SciblogsScoop and KiwiFM.

Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.

11 thoughts on “The Climate Show #23: Durban and the return of the electric car”

  1. Australia has indeed phased out incandescent light bulbs!

    Immediately the casualty wards filled to overflowing with people who’d tripped over the cat in the initial few-seconds twilight, causing a massive increase in ‘sickies’ taken, soaring veterinary bills, and a commensurate sharp decline in the nation’s GDP. Them Soci@lists just want to take away my ‘freem’ at the light-switch.


    Aaaargh! Fusion! And the process is so hush-hush they don’t even have a website? Why am I reminded of the South Sea Bubble; “a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is”? I tend to suspect that things that seem too good to be true probably are, but we’ll see…

    Thanks for the show! Look forward to 2012.

    (Um, is that really the best of the 3 still previews Youtube had to offer? 😉 )

  2. In desperate times gleeful hands of white coated magicians rub the genie-bottle of nuclear miracles faster than ever. I am unsure if holding my breath to wait what emerges is going to be a viable option…. 😉
    For Phsyics geeks like myself the idea has (theoretical) merit. Some discussion of guys who seem to know more about it than me here:

    But I would say this: Waiting for big tech to come to the rescue with any of this is a massive gamble. Good on them and by all means we should throw decent money at anybody with a solid idea and a sound mind (which excludes the exotic loonies and their dream of perpetual motion devices and their self published “journals” aka Rossi et al), but my sense is that Solar PV is where its at at the moment + serious reductions in personal energy requirements through a good dose of “Do I really need this?” therapy….
    A month in a bush hut with a single LED slight and an A4 size solar panel will cure the brain from a lot of the “can’t live without” delusions which got us into the rough in the first place. And this sort of thinking is going to “save” uudles more energy and we could with any measure create fast enough with any “sustainable” means. We need to engage with our personal Energy Decent Plan urgently. It would make a significant difference and the best of it, we can start TODAY and need nothing but our brains….

  3. My daughter and I have each downsized by 300 items this year, we don’t miss any of them. They have been recycled, sold or given away. I reckon I could get rid of another 1000 things without a tear being shed. It’s amazing how much “stuff” we stockpile. Less stuff = less room needed=smaller house=lower energy needs. Sweeeeet.

  4. Great show again. It is always a pleasure to follow “the Climate Show”.

    Would it be possible to try and get in touch with Grant Foster (aka Tamino) or possibly Stefan Rahmsdorf for your show? They have recently publicised an article in “Environmental Research Letters” titled “Global temperature evolution 1979-2010” where they filter out the majority of the climate effect from volcanic aerosols, the changes in the suns energy output, and El Nino events, creating a remarkably compelling graph with even statistically significant global warming since 1995. If only Phil Jones had these results before he talked to BBC in february 2010. He could have said that there indeed has been statistically signicant global warming if most of the known natural climate forcings are accounted for and extracted from the measurements. But I guess the spin doctors out there will find a way to try and cast doubts about Foster and Rahmsdorfs article, as they always do with brilliant new findings.

    Personally I think the F&R-paper is one of the most important papers this year (together with the IEA WEO 2011 report ) and I hope there will be more publicity about the results in the coming months…

    1. Let me also just refer to the Hansen & Sato paper that came out this year, which shows that there is paleoclimate evidence suggesting that if CO2 consentrations are kept at 400 ppm over a long period of time, sea level will most likely rise by 25 meters.

      Merry Christmas everybody!

      Best wishes from a fellow human being dwelling inside the arctic circle in Northern Norway 🙂

      1. Hi Philly, you must be sitting in darkness then! Hope your winter is not to harsh. Its hard to imagine for us here not to see the Sun for a while at all in the year. Best Xmas wishes from sunny New Zealand to you!

      2. There’s also a good summation of Foster and Rahmstorf over at SkS. True tech-heads can even play with the data here.

        Merry Christmas to all indeed!

        Where I am the day begins at 5.59, and the sun will set at 8.29. (Actually, today’s the solstice this year, isn’t it?) It’ll reach 32C, and is currently 26.8 just after 10am. Christmas Day was forecast to be 37C, but that’s been revised to 30 with a possible shower, after 35 on Christmas Eve.

        The whole ‘White Christmas’ thing always seems a bit abstract!

        1. There was a new WA Dec temperature record set yesterday – 49C at Roebourne. That could get beaten today in Pilbara – there’s a chance it could set a new all-Australia record for Dec (currently 49.5C) according to my sources. All-time absolute Aussie record is 50.7C at Oodnadatta.

          And it’s only early summer…

          1. I’m generally fine with the heat, and only start getting uncomfortable at about 36 – but temperatures over 42 genuinely scare me, particularly out in the boondocks (the Pilbara certainly qualifies!) There’s no escape, and so little you can do.

            On the plus side, even my pathetic 1kW array has pumped out an entertaining 3KWh as of solar midday (1.30pm locally) – given it’s split with a smaller number of panels facing west, I’m hoping for 7 on this very sunny solstice day. Woohoo!

  5. I was particularly bemused by the comment during the electric car interview that when the horseless carriage came along a common complaint was that you could not feed it at home as could be done with horses. Now, in this third life for the EV, with PVs affordable to many more, we can feed the EVs at home. 🙂


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