Friday, May 25, 2007

No water, no power

Last year the Tanzanian electricity supply was wrecked due to the drought that knocked out the hydro generating plants. Today we hear that Australian electricity is threatened by our current drought. The National Electricity Marketing Management Corporation forecasts that the water crisis could cause power shortages next year unless action is taken. Water is needed for the Snowy hydro power, and also for cooling towers of coal powered generators.

Premier Iemma has responded immediately by allocating water reserves in the Hunter Valley for use by the big power stations in their cooling towers.

Bayswater Power Station, Hunter Valley, NSW

Also in the news today is the Australian government plan to spend $23 million telling us about its ‘leadership role’ and ‘balanced voice’ on global warming. No wonder voters are cynical about politicians! After years as a climate skeptic, Prime Minister Howard now wants us to see him as having shown leadership in this area. Leaders are supposed to drive the machine and steer it, not just apply the hand brake. Still, it's an election year, so what can we expect?

I wonder how far $23 million would go in Tanzania if it was invested in projects to produce electricity from renewable resources? Water used to be a renewable resource, but with global warming, that isn’t necessarily so any more. As most of their electricity is hydro, they have an urgent problem.

Climate skeptics are a dying breed. The evidence for global warming has become widely accepted on the basis of scientific concensus. Here’s an excellent resource, accessible and authoritive, for key information about global warming. The helpful guys at RealClimate say,

We've often been asked to provide a one stop link for resources that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change, and so here is a first cut.

They point towards info at different levels – beginners to advanced – and have a handy set of links to answers for specific contrarian myths.

Our fearless leader

Like extreme poverty, climate change is one of the big issues that we need to know about if we are to live our lives responsibly and leave the world a little better for having been here.

So, keep learning, keep giving!

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