Watched Degrees of Uncertainty – A documentary about climate change and public trust in science by Neil Halloran from

A data-driven documentary about Neil Halloran.

As Neil Halloran dives into the world of hard and soft science and askes the question, “when can we be sure enough?” He suggests that we need to be sceptical in order to develop a larger picture of truth. With this in mind, he traces the data and differences associated with global warming, before suggesting that we can be sure enough to say that drastic change is needed. In addition to the captivating narrative, Halloran also provides interactive moments for the skeptical viewer to take their own dive into the evidence and research.

In a separate piece of data journalism, the team at the ABC News Story Lab provide a take on acting now and how this buys us more time later.

So the transition is coming, but if Australia sits on its hands for five years it will waste the best chance it has to create the industries that could turn it into an energy superpower.

If you live in a part of Australia that’s reliant on fossil fuel jobs, it is easy to see the appeal of the message “we can’t turn things off tomorrow”. But if we keep following that thinking, tomorrow won’t be in 2050 — it will be just around the corner.

Liked Humanity Causes a Greater Impact Than Volcano Eruptions by Andri Snær Magnason (

Beneath all we do, a fire is blazing; traffic advances like glowing lava. If we divide the 100 million tons of carbon dioxide that humans emit every single day by the 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide that our volcano emitted, we get the devilish number 666. The emissions of Earth’s inhabitants are like 666 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions, day and night, all year round. If we convert U.S. emissions into volcanic eruptions, nearly 100 volcanos like Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull erupt every day, every night.

Liked Fossils in a Forgotten Ice Core Rewrite Greenland’s Icy Past by Gemma Tarlach (WIRED)

Researchers had long thought that Greenland’s ice sheet, more than 2 miles thick in places, was essentially permanent and had blanketed the island for more than 2 million years. The subglacial sample confirms the massive ice sheet can probably melt far more easily than most models suggest, which would dump enough water into the oceans to raise sea levels by up to 20 feet, all but wiping major cities like London and Boston off the map.

Liked COVID was bad for the climate by Ryan BarrettRyan Barrett (

This decrease is “just a tiny blip on the long term graph.” To keep global warming under 2°C, we’d need sustained emissions reductions in this range every year for the next 20-30 years. The pandemic has been hugely disruptive, but it’s still temporary, and all signs point to a strong recovery. The drop in emissions was largely caused by lockdown, not persistent structural changes that will persist for decades to come.

Replied to How ‘Sustainable’ Web Design Can Help Fight Climate Change (Wired)

But even if small design tweaks don’t zero out the belching emissions of movies or bitcoin, they are still worth talking about. It’s good to shine a spotlight on the CO2 footprint of our daily software—it makes the value of lower-energy code feel tangible. Imagine if websites ditched their tracking bloatware and ran badges boasting about their spiffier performance and lower carbon footprint. Competitors would be green-with envy.

Clive, this discussion of sustainable reminds me of Mike Monteiro’s book on the difficult choices associated with ethical web design:

If the lessons in this book seem hard, it’s because they are meant to be. If the job I’m asking you to do seems difficult, it’s because it is. Hard and difficult aren’t the same as impossible. When it comes down to it, all I’m asking you to do is the job you signed up for.

It also reminds me Greg McVerry’s question critique of responding with a gif:

Do you really need that gif? If we think climate and energy think can I get my message across in text? Each gif uploaded and converted to movie? How much more energy is worth the engagement when the Arctic seacap is melting? #digped

Listened Saturated trees and carbon rationing from ABC Radio National

New Australian research suggests trees may not be the carbon sponges we think they are. The findings compliment a larger international study that suggests the world’s major forests are saturated and will soon begin emitting, not absorbing carbon. Also, the Finish experiment where citizens are being given individual carbon allocations. It’s all about making carbon trading a very personal affair.

This was an interesting episode of Future Tense, exploring the part played by trees with global warming, as well as Finish experiments with carbon rationing through the use of data. Although positive in that it can help individuals make a difference, is also reminds me of James Bridle’s discussion of the use of data and technology to counter the impact of data and technology in New Dark Age:

Computation is both a victim of and contributor to climate change. Page 69

Bookmarked The Coronavirus Is Rewriting Our Imaginations (The New Yorker)

What felt impossible has become thinkable. The spring of 2020 is suggestive of how much, and how quickly, we can change as a civilization.

Kim Stanley Robinson discusses the way in which the current crisis has rapidly rewritten our imagination.

The virus is rewriting our imaginations. What felt impossible has become thinkable. We’re getting a different sense of our place in history. We know we’re entering a new world, a new era. We seem to be learning our way into a new structure of feeling.

Our ability to adjust to respond to the idea of ‘flattening the curve’ has demonstrated our ability to move beyond the neo-liberalosm and the individual to instead focus on the greater good.

Just as there are charismatic megafauna, there are charismatic mega-ideas. “Flatten the curve” could be one of them. Immediately, we get it. There’s an infectious, deadly plague that spreads easily, and, although we can’t avoid it entirely, we can try to avoid a big spike in infections, so that hospitals won’t be overwhelmed and fewer people will die. It makes sense, and it’s something all of us can help to do. When we do it—if we do it—it will be a civilizational achievement: a new thing that our scientific, educated, high-tech species is capable of doing. Knowing that we can act in concert when necessary is another thing that will change us.

This then gives us hope for the responding to the multi-generational Ponzi scheme that is global warming and the new imagination required to respond to that.

You can’t fix extinctions, or ocean acidification, or melted permafrost, no matter how rich or smart you are. The fact that these problems will occur in the future lets us take a magical view of them. We go on exacerbating them, thinking—not that we think this, but the notion seems to underlie our thinking—that we will be dead before it gets too serious. The tragedy of the horizon is often something we encounter, without knowing it, when we buy and sell. The market is wrong; the prices are too low. Our way of life has environmental costs that aren’t included in what we pay, and those costs will be borne by our descendents. We are operating a multigenerational Ponzi scheme.

Bookmarked On Deconferencing (CogDogBlog)

Conference on… but I am deconferencing. I am looking for better ways to share knowledge, ideas that can include more people and less travel, but just plain… better.

Alan Levine responds to posts from Bryan Alexander, Will Richardson and Stephen Downes about climate change and conferences. He argues that this is neither either or. In some respects, the choice to say no is in fact a point of privilege:

The number of people who have the means to attend these confluences are excruciatingly small compared to the number of educators in the world. It can sure look like a prestigious club. When you are not in it.

Sometimes conferences are something that is a part of the hustle.

Let me tell you what it’s like being self-employed. Just getting pay is a second full time job. Every small to medium sized contract I have comes with hours submitting paperwork, following up with HR departments, asking if they got the paperwork, and trying not too much to nag your client to check up on getting that payment. Or just shrugging and starting work in hopes of getting paid maybe within weeks of doing the work.

In the end, what is needed is to stop and consider the Academic Conference Industrial Complex as a whole, not just focus on global warming.

Personally speaking, this discussion of the wider impact and implication of conferences has me thinking about a piece I wrote a few years ago thinking about the hidden professional development made possible by conferences, especially as conferences go online because of things such as coronavirus:

Bookmarked Under the Weather – Believer Magazine (Believer Magazine)

As a philosopher, Albrecht determined to identify and name this condition. The word he came up with was solastalgia, a portmanteau word of the Latin solus, which means “abandonment and loneliness,” and nostalgia. Nostalgia has not always had the warm and fuzzy connotations it does now. When it was first used, in the seventeenth century, it described a diagnosable illness that afflicted people who were far from home but could not return. Soldiers were particularly susceptible, as were people forced into migration by conflict, colonization, and slavery. The cure, it was thought, was simply to return home and be soothed by familiarity — otherwise, the sufferer’s distress would continue, even to the point of death. To Albrecht, if nostalgia was a sickness caused by the displacement brought about by seventeenth-century globalization, solastalgia was its twenty-
first-century counterpart.

Ash Sanders takes a deep dive into living with the burdens of a world falling apart.
Liked On Power and Climate Change – Will Richardson (Will Richardson)

I worry, however, that we are failing to understand the significance of this moment. I worry that we will wait to begin to address both the intellectual and emotional aspects of climate change until some curriculum writer or policy wonk decides it’s appropriate. And I worry that when we do begin to embrace this challenge in schools that we will do so with a disregard to the larger context of how power relationships in our society really hold the key to whether or not we’re going to solve it.

Liked If you love Australia, climate change should scare the hell out of you | Greg Jericho (the Guardian)

If you love Australia, climate change should scare the hell out of you because the reef, our rivers, our wildlife, our fresh air, even, as we have seen since December, our relaxed summer holidays are going to be stripped away from us.

Our government has more reason than most others outside of the Pacific Islands to be demanding global action on climate change.

Bookmarked Global Apathy Toward the Fires in Australia Is a Scary Portent for the Future by David Wallace-Wells (Intelligencer)

These fires are just one disaster, of course, and the planet has many test cases like it ahead. But it would be among the most perverse grotesqueries of climate change if it brought about the end of these kinds of global prejudices — not to be replaced with a sense of common humanity but a system of disinterest defined instead by ever smaller circles of empathy.

David Wallace-Wells discusses the lack of global outcry at the current bush fire crisis in Australia which has been unfolding for months. He suggests that the biggest challenge we face is working together globally.
Listened Deputy PM slams ‘raving inner city lunatics’ for bushfire climate link from ABC Radio National

Michael McCormack said people in disaster areas “don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time”.

Hamish Macdonald challenges Michael McCormack on the connections between the current crisis and global warming. McCormack argues that it is not the right time for such discussions that are being driven by Greenie lunatics, instead we should be focusing on supporting people. The question that comes up again and again, if not now when?

Here is a link to the audio:

Replied to I’m sick of the same circular climate change discussion. This is what I’m doing instead (ABC News)

There’s nothing stopping me aiming to cut my own emissions by the recommended 45 per cent. But have I tried? No. Far easier to wait for an agreed, society-wide consensus.

That’s when it hit me: we can’t bemoan passive self interest at a global level while practising the exact same approach in our own lives. Succumbing to the lure of disempowerment is what has cost us most dearly in the response to climate change. That is what I would go back in time to warn people.

Conal Hanna, although I do not necessarily agree with Martin Lukacs that individual change is a bit of a con, I wonder if it is a useful narrative strategy for getting people to actually think about the problem?
Replied to Mallacoota residents and holidaymakers describe ‘apocalypse’ as Victorian bushfire approaches – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (
I remember standing on a beach in Rye twenty years ago wondering if y2k would cause havoc. It seems like nothing compared to what is being faced this year. All I can say is stay safe everyone.
Bookmarked If we each spent $200 to help prevent climate change, here’s how we could transform Australia (ABC News)

On average, Australians are willing to chip in an extra $200 a year to prevent climate change. It turns out that money could go a long way.

Responding to the findings of the Australia Talks National Survey, Nick Kilvert and the team at the ABC speak with a number of specialists to identify what they would do now in response to the climate debate. Some of the suggestions provided include investing in research, subsidising electric vehicles and installing solar panels.
Bookmarked ‘What could I have done?’ The scientist who predicted the bushfire emergency four decades ago (the Guardian)

Dr Tom Beer’s pioneering 1980s research into bushfires and climate change has, to his dismay, proved all too accurate

Graham Readfearn discusses Tom Beer’s research with CSIRO in the 80’s and 90’s exploring the impact of global warming on bushfires after the Ash Wednesday Bushfires of 1983.

“It seems obvious, but actually we found the correlation was not temperature and fires, but relative humidity and fires. Temperature goes up, it gets drier, and then the fires go up,” says Beer.