Thursday, November 03, 2011

Green business needs to reach further

As the ‘low hanging fruit’ becomes increasingly difficult to find, only businesses that have evolved the ability to reach the higher fruit will survive.

Random Man
For more information:
please visit PAJ Environmental Consulting
PAJ Environmental Consulting provides environmental and natural resources management consulting services to help individuals, businesses and organisations adapt and move towards a sustainable future.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Australia's new Carbon Price Legislation (draft)

Australia's new Carbon Price Legislation has today been released in draft form:

It is available here

Well worth a read!

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:

Climate Change in Australia

Biodiversity and Climate Change

PAJ Environmental Consulting

Comments are always welcome!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The 'Garnaut Review 2011'

Here is the final report from the economist Professor Ross Garnaut (available here) called "Garnaut Review 2011: Australia in the Global Response to Climate Change".

First here is the man himself:

"The final report of the update process, is the product of seven months of careful research, analysis, expert studies and consultation, which have examined key developments in the past two and a half years across a range of areas—the climate science, global greenhouse gas emissions, international progress on climate change mitigation, Australia’s land and electricity sectors, innovation and technology, and carbon pricing. Eight detailed update papers were released between February and March 2011. Two supplementary notes came out at the same time as this book. These materials and other supporting information can be found on the Garnaut Climate Change Review website at"  

Ross Garnaut

The Review is well worth a read for anyone interested in the issue of Climate Change and Australia. It is fairly easy to read, but if you are short on time, I would suggest reading the introduction as it gives a good summary of the review. 

The Review is split into three parts:

(Part 1) The Global Shift

(Part 2) Australia's Part

(Part 3) Australia's Transformations

I also saw Professor Ross Garnaut speaking at the National Press Club to launch the report. He presented the main points well and overall gave a great speech. Still, I think that rather than the 'let the facts speak for themselves' approach, he might be better to use some tricks from environmental psychology to get his message across. 

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:

Heat on the Hill - Four Corners
Garnaut on the CPRS
Garnaut not happy
Garnaut Climate Change Review

Monday, May 23, 2011

Australia's new Climate Change Report

A new report on Climate Change was released today by Australia's Climate Commission.

Over many decades thousands of scientists have painted an unambiguous picture: the global climate is changing and humanity is almost surely the primary cause. The risks have never been clearer and the case for action has never been more urgent.

The critical debate page

Full report available here

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:

Climate Change in Australia

Australia's biodiversity and Climate Change

Great Barrier Reef loss of value due to Climate Change

Australia's bush fires


So please, tell us what you think.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World Turtle Day

This Sunday (May 23, 2011) is World Turtle Day. I will be heading down to Bondi Beach to build my own turtle.


Here is the blurb from the Wilderness Society:
On Sunday May 23rd, several environmental organisations across northern Australia are connecting to participate in a joint event on World Turtle Day. All around the beaches of northern Australia, groups and individuals will be building flatback turtles from sand to send Environment Minister Peter Garrett the message 'Save Our Flatbacks'.
More information here

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Picture: Cover of the new journal Nature Climate Change

I decided to break this post into two parts (as it got a bit long).

Overstretching attribution

This is a fantastic paper! It really made me think about the claim that biodiversity is responding to human induced climate change (e.g. earlier flowering or migration of animals). But is biodiversity behaviour itself good evidence of human induced climate change? After all, biodiversity will adapt to normal changes in climate. But a study in 2003 shows that while some species do show a strong response to a change in climate (57%), some showed no change (32%) and some showed behaviour in the opposite direction (11%). This is mainly due to "basic differences in species' sensitivity to climate". Hmmm, this really demonstrates that we need to be careful that we don't overstretch attribution of human induced climate change, especially if we only select cherries from the data (remember there are somewhere between 30 and 100 million different species on the planet).

The other problems are that "human forcing of the climate is only detectable on large spatial scales, yet organisms experience local climate" and there is "a complex interplay among habitat destruction, land-use change, exploitation and pollution, in addition to climate change".

The authors "propose concentrating on assessment of the interacting roles of climate and other environmental factors, regardless of the causes of the climate events or trends" rather than trying to find more proof/evidence of human-induced climate change. Well worth a read!!

I really looked forward to this paper as science communication, and social/decision sciences are particular interests of mine. It didn't let me down! The paper looks at the challenge of communicating uncertain climate risks and suggests that the answer is "strategic listening" rather than yet another poorly targeted climate change campaign which has "little chance of sustained success" and which has the effect of "eroding both the public's trust in the experts, who seem not to know their needs, and the experts' trust in the public, which seems unable to understand the issues".

It also suggests that what is needed is "contributions from cross-disciplinary teams, working within an institutional framework that provides support for their efforts. Such teams would include, at minimum, climate and other experts, decision scientists, social and communications specialists, and programme designers". Music to my ears! This paper is well written and definately worth a read.

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:


More Science posts here

More Social Science posts here


So please, tell us what you think!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Book on Climate Change by Robert Repetto

Picture: Cover of the Robert Repetto's new book America's Climate Problem

Robert Repetto has released a new book  on Climate Change called America's Climate Problem: The Way Forward. Note: as a taste, the publisher 'Earthscan' has released Chapter 6 on Winning the Battle Over Climate Policy.

The free chapter alone is worth a look! It was interested to see the five lines of defence used by Climate Change denialists (my summary of pages 153-154).
1st line of defence is denial: 'It's not true; the science is flawed or incomplete'

2nd line of defence: 'It may be happening but it’s not harmful'.

3rd line of defence: 'It may be happening but we can’t stop it'.

4th line of defence: (the economic arguments) ‘It may be happening and may cause some harm, but trying to stop it would cost far more damage to the economy and is therefore not worth doing.’ 

5th line of defence: ‘the costs should fall on somebody else, not on me.’
Read more here

**If you enjoyed this post please check out:
 Americans and climate change

Comments always welcome!

Please tell us what you think.


Picture: Cover of the new journal Nature Climate Change

Here is a link to a new journal called Nature Climate Change

I have now had a good read of the Nature Climate Change Journal and it definately has some very interesting papers that may be useful to others including:

It isn't easy being green

How much do our friends influence our behaviour? This article looks at some of the psychological aspects of being green. Plus, I love the use of the Kermit the frog quote used by psychologist Dr Paul Stern "it isn't easy being green". It also argues that social science has a lot to offer when it comes to making society more green. This is not a huge suprise to me, given that people and society are involved in human induced climate change. 

Time to try Carbon labelling

"A Global Carbon-labelling scheme for consumer products" it is argued could help people select the lower Carbon option when shopping. Economic rational thinking suggests that people make their decisions based on full knowledge of the product. However, the Carbon price is not included information at this time. With this missing information, consumers will hopefully make better decisions. "Labels are a well established method for providing information", but are people willing to pay more for lower Carbon products or will more information pale when compared to choosing a cheaper (more carbon intensive) option? 

The authors admit that labels alone won't solve a complex problem, but they will give the consumer (and supply chains) the option to select a lower Carbon alternative. They conclude "The size of the consumer footprint suggests that only small shifts in purchasing behaviour could yeild large emissions reductions". Is greener consumption part of the answer (ecological modernisation) or is it a part of the problem ('green business as usual' from a deep green perspective)?

It also makes the point that firms may make changes and obtain positive reputation impacts, even if consumers don't change their behaviour in response to these Carbon labels. Also the complexities of Carbon labels is discussed (e.g. the need to include full life cycle analysis) and the fact that the ISO 14067 is being developed as a standard for world-wide usage. Interesting paper!

There are many more articles that may be of interest to other (e.g. "The Future of Food").

So check it out!!
** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:

More Science posts here
More Social Science posts here
So please, tell us what you think!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Charles Perrow on the Fukushima Reactors

Picture: Smoke rising from the Fukushima Reactor in Japan

Below is a link to a piece written by Charles Perrow on the background and situation at the nuclear plants in Japan. It came through the Envirosoc listserver. He is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology and an expert on the sociology of risk.

He wrote "The Next Catastrophe" and "Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies". (Note: Now both on my list of books to read).

As I noted in a recent book, The Next Catastrophe (Princeton, 2011), we continue to populate our planet with systems that have catastrophic potential. We have vulnerable concentrations of populations, economic power, and hazardous materials. The most fearful concentrations of hazardous materials are in nuclear power plants.

We have yet to face up to the enormous risks of nuclear power plants. Japan is the current case in point. Known risks were run regarding earthquakes, plant layout, and engineering design, all assuming that the “worst case” event would be a rare outlier. I will take each in turn.
More here

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:
Social Science posts

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Readings in Sustainability Science and Technology

Kates, Robert W., ed. 2010. Readings in Sustainability Science and Technology. CID Working Paper No. 213. Center for International Development, Harvard University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, December 2010.

Abstract: This Reader is one possible set of materials for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students of sustainability science. It consists of links to 93 articles or book chapters from which appropriate readings and internet sources can be chosen. Many of these can be downloaded, others need to be sought through University libraries. These are organized around three major domains of sustainability science: Part 1: an overview of sustainable development; Part 2: the emerging science and technology of sustainability; and Part 3: the innovative solutions and grand challenges of moving this knowledge into action.

The Readings begins with the history of sustainable development and its many concepts. Among these are the dual goals of sustainable development—the promotion of human development and well-being while protecting the earth’s life support systems. Thus, the current status, long-term trends, and impacts of nine essentials for human well-being and seven of the essential life support systems are examined. Part 1 concludes with the interactions of human society and the life support systems as these have been sketched—simply, realistically, and imaginatively.

Part 2 of the Reader focuses on what, why, and how to do sustainability science and technology. It begins with three essential qualities of the emerging science: its use or needs orientation, focus on human-environment systems, and goal of integrated understanding. As a science in support of a sustainability transition, it is clearly value-driven and a second section of this Part considers the science of identifying and analyzing values and attitudes. The third and fourth sections examine the current practice of the science, the analyses undertaken, and the distinctive methods and models used.

Professor William C. Clark

Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy and Human Development
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:

More Science posts here

More Social Science posts here


So please, tell us what you think!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Obama on a 'clean energy future' for the United States

Here is what President Obama said during his State of the Union address:

We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Already, we're seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard. Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert's words, "We reinvented ourselves."

That's what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time.

At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they're using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if — I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources.

Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all — and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

It is interesting that Obama includes nuclear power as a clean energy source. The main challenge for him will be to get these ideas (e.g. such as "eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies") through the Congress, given the increased number of Republican politicians in it. However, he does speak of the creation of 'green' jobs (also protecting the planet and US energy security) with this 'clean energy' investment and given the political need for job creation in the United States, it may get some traction. We will have to wait and see how it all plays out.  

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:

Six Americas - which one are you?

Americans and climate change

New Green jobs??

Splitting jobs versus the environment

An Open Letter from Scientists in the United States on the IPCC

Comments always welcome!

Please tell us what you think.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

King Parrot in the wild

Photo supplied by: PAJ Environmental Consulting

Photo supplied by: PAJ Environmental Consulting

Male Australian King Parrots are the only Australian parrots with a completely red head.

This King Parrot was photographed in Killcare (Central Coast, New South Wales).

** If you enjoyed this post please also check out:

Saving the Superb Parrot

Orange Bellied Parrot

Australia's Biodiversity and Climate Change
Comments are always welcome, so please leave a comment!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Random Man on Planet Earth reaches 10,000 hits

Random Man on Planet Earth would like to have a look back at some of the highlights over the life of this blog which started back on the 20th of March 2007.

See the first 'Welcome post' here

Anyway, here are some of the most popular posts (in no particular order).

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxPhoto: PAJ Environmental Consulting

If you enjoyed this post, please check out the Random Man Top 10

Hopefully, there will be many more hits to come on Random Man on Planet Earth!!!

**Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some lizards from Cuba

Here is a selection of the different lizards found in Cuba.
. .
If anyone knows more about these wonderful lizards please let me know.

Photo supplied by: PAJ Environmental Consulting

Photo supplied by: PAJ Environmental Consulting
Photo supplied by: PAJ Environmental Consulting
Photo supplied by: PAJ Environmental Consulting .

**If you enjoyed this post, please check out:
Orangutans of Kuta Kinabalu
2010 International Year of Biodiversity
Polar Bear
Comments always welcome!