If South Africa can do it……..

why can’t Australia?

from Treehugger

Africa’s largest solar farm (325,480 PV modules) is now fully operational!

Jasper solar farm South-Africa

Promo image SR

The Jasper solar farm, located near Kimberley in South Africa, is now the continent’s largest solar power project. Construction was completed in October, and it is now fully operational (you can read that in the Star Wars emperor’s voice). With a rated capacity of 96 megawatts, Jasper will produce about 180,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy annually for South African residents, enough to power up to 80,000 homes.

SR/Promo image

What makes this even better is that Japser won’t stay the biggest solar project for long. In the same area, in South-Africa, near the 75-megawatt Lesedi project that came online last May, a 100-megawatt concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) project called Redstone is also under construction.

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Look at that scale. The Jasper Project generated about 1 million man-hours of paid work during construction, peaking at over 800 on-site construction jobs.

South Africa has a goal of having 18 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030, so projects like this are definitely steps in the right direction. If there’s one thing that South Africa has lots of, it’s sunlight!

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45% of the total project value was spent on “local content” to help increase the positive economic impact on the area.

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The project was developed by a consortium consisting of SolarReserve, the Kensani Group (an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa), and Intikon Energy (a South African developer of renewable energy projects).

Financing came from local and international sources, including Google and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Intikon Energy, Kensani Capital Investments,, the PEACE Humansrus Community Trust, and SolarReserve with Rand Merchant Bank.

SR/Promo image

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Tony Abbott is beyond appalling

Originally posted on oecomuse:

You know how Abbott is just too appalling for words? How every single thinking Australian – and many others besides – are all cringing in horror at the evil clown act we have as Australian Prime Minister? Which is insulting to evil clowns?

You know how all these claims are kicking around social media about Tony Abbott’s brain, some of which have – but should not have – ventured into intellectual disability and mental health diagnosis territory? Because we simply can not fully comprehend the repulsive creepiness of this which was apparently democratically elected?

Yes, it is all questions. Tony Abbott is stupendously dense and revolting. But that is not the main problem. The key question we struggle with is this: how is it that a man who is an apparently legitimately elected leader of the country incapable of speaking sense? What the hell kind of system produces a head…

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Economic growth and climate change

Originally posted on Climate, People & Organizations:

With the coming G20 talks about to kick off in Brisbane, the focus of the agenda centres on economic growth as the panacea for all our troubles. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have been adamant in their focus upon the need to increase economic growth globally. It’s rare, if not impossible to find anyone in the mainstream public debate who questions the wisdom of ever-increasing economic growth. And yet there is a major underlying problem in our collective worship and addiction to growth – climate change.

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The rise of the Google Galileo

Antivaxxers, climate change deniers, crystal worshippers, conspiracy theorists, anti-fluoridationists, homeopathy practioners etc are the way they are because they are unable to shake free from the shackles of evolution and develop mature critical thinking skills. In a nutshell, they are cognitively less evolved and lazy.

from Michael Thomas at exposingtruth

An Increasing Number Of People Think Astrology Is Science…

Astrology is the study of how the position of the stars relative to us on Earth have a supposed effect on people here, primarily based on their date of birth. Of course, most (or all) astrological predictions are worded so vaguely that anyone looking to see themselves in the statement would do so, for instance “you have a creative side that you don’t spend enough time nurturing” or “you have a tendency to sometimes be critical of yourself” would apply to pretty much everyone who wants to find the key to their lives in a tabloid prediction.

The effect behind astrology “fitting” so well, for so many, is known as the Forer effect and is defined as “the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.” It leads people to think statements to which almost everyone could agree with are specifically tailored to them, and it makes the reader feel, ironically, special.

The National Science Foundation study actually brings up a more important point than a growing misguided belief in astrology, and that is the growing belief in pseudoscientific principles. We all have that friend, the one who continues to claim studies and science support their beliefs but can never actually say which studies or scientific theories support these beliefs. To most of us, this seems harmless, except that this very type of person is making use of social media and YouTube to gain cult-like followings. Without naming any names: these types of people are actually doing far more damage than we tend to believe.

The increasing belief in pseudoscience like astrology is, in my opinion, directly linked to the increasing dominance of social media as a source of information. The fact is that the type of algorithms that Facebook and others use actually give an advantage to factually wrong but exciting texts. The scary part is that a large number of people who see these essentially false or misleading headlines, or read the pseudoscientific articles, are not exercising sufficient critical thinking to grasp the real picture. These people then perpetuate their false impressions further, causing all the bullsh!t to float to the top and be believed by even more people.

This is not just some abstract threat, some theoretical loss: I meet people perpetuating disinformation, even within my university, relatively often. When I discuss topics like biosphere stability or species loss, I am very frequently greeted by relatively easily disproveable excuses as to why this is no reason to worry. The majority of these people base these beliefs on articles they read on Facebook or beyond, almost always shared by their friends or into groups they belong to, and which in their eyes warranted no further investigation.

Part of the problem is that human evolution did not anticipate the emergence of science, empirical data, and statistics. Most of us primarily rely on our intuition and accept the beliefs of our friends because, in the history of humanity, that was usually the best way to understand the world around us. Unfortunately for all of us alive today, our friends are no longer the best source of information. In fact, the many views held by members of the media are vastly divorced from available statistical data: leading them to continue misinforming even those who have reason to consider themselves well-informed.

The problem is not insurmountable, but solving it does require us to exercise a degree of discipline and critical thinking: not simply believing an unnamed study or completely unsourced claims. Many websites make more money than any of us by simply writing what people already believe, want to hear, or are excited or upset to hear. A lot of readers simply bite this bait hook, line, and sinker: upping its online relevance and oftentimes pushing misinformation into popularity.

The world of online media is both a blessing and a minefield. It enables the skilled seeker to find a wealth of information far beyond the dreams of even the most resourceful librarian of 100 years past. Unfortunately, it also has the capacity of making liars look like heroes and trick well-meaning people into arrogantly defending disinformation.

Original article here

 

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Abbott sabotages RET, Palmer greenwashes ERF…

from Precarious Climate

It’s been a depressing three weeks for Australian climate policy.

Abbott kills large-scale renewables

On 22 October, the Abbott government announced it would seek to persuade the Senate to slash the 2020 large-scale renewable energy target (LRET) from 41,000 to 26,000 GWh. Renewables will be allowed to meet no more than 50% of new energy demand (if there is any new demand). This, the main recommendation of the Warburton review, will essentially kill Australia’s wind and large-scale solar industries. The day after the announcement Keppel Prince, Australia’s largest manufacturer of wind towers, closed most of its wind tower manufacturing operations.

Even before the announcement, large-scale renewable energy investment in Australia had already ground to a halt, because of a surplus of RET certificates and the political uncertainty fostered by the fossil fuel lobby and government. For these reasons, and because of the urgent need to get to 100% renewables to mitigate global warming, the target should have been increased, not decreased.

On the bright side, the government says it will continue to support “household solar”, which at face value appears to mean the small-scale renewable energy scheme (SRES) will be left intact. Ominously, though, the government has refused to clarify that there will be absolutely no changes to SRES, so it too could yet be quietly weakened or sabotaged.

It’s pretty obvious solar would never have been (apparently) saved if not for the “Save Solar” campaign, which seems to have…..

Read the rest here.

 

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Thin Ice kickstarter campaign

Please go to my good friend Rachel’s blog and read about the documentary Thin Ice and how you can help to distribute it to a much wider audience. Rachel’s blog

 

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Abbott will be booed at his own funeral.

Yet another market for Australian coal looks shaky but still our backward government fails to grasp the economic and climate consequences. The opportunity for this country to be a world leader in renewable energy science and innovation is fast slipping and Abbott is hellbent on clinging on to 20th century technology for the sake of his political donors. Meanwhile he is selling out the economic prosperity of future generations, let alone the health of the planet for those future generations. “Coal is good for humanity” he claims. He must have a special dictionary that defines “humanity” as “lobbyist and donor paid political power at the expense of thought and reason.”

Future historians will not be kind to Abbott. He will go down in history as the Prime Minister who missed the chance to be a great leader. The Prime Minister whose wicked and regressive ideology turned a once great and prosperous nation of innovators into an international laughing stock. The Prime Minister whose legacy will want to be forgotten but can’t as every heatwave, drought, flood, bushfire and and super-cyclone brings it back into sharp focus. The Prime Minister who will be booed at his own funeral.

Solar cheaper in India than imported Australian coal.

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