Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grow tomatoes at Canberra Data Centre?

A greenhouse is using the exhaust from an electricity generator to help grow tomatoes and reduce carbon emissions. Perhaps this could be used at the proposed data centre in Canberra to reduce emissions and objections. There may be some objection to eating plants grown in engine exhaust, but it could be used for a plant crop which is not eaten:
... Last month, two of GE’s 4MW, natural gas-fuelled J624 GS engines began powering Royal Pride Holland’s new greenhouse cogeneration plant. ...

exhaust ... gas to be recycled in the greenhouse as a special fertiliser to help boost crop production instead of venting the gas into the atmosphere. In addition to supporting the greenhouse’s operations, surplus electricity from the cogeneration plant is being delivered to the local grid...

From: Netherlands Commercial Tomato Greenhouse Boosts Production with Cogeneration Plant Powered by World’s First 24-Cylinder Gas Engines, GE, 02 October 2008

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Garnaut Climate Change Review in Web Format

Garnaut Climate Change Review Final ReportProfessor Garnaut's "Garnaut Climate Change Review Final Report" is now available online in web format, as well as a printed book. The web version is much easier to read online, than the previous PDF version (which is still available). The web version is in a suitable format for viewing on screen, even on a hand held device, and passed an automated Level double A accessibility test. But the web version is not perfect: it failed HTML validation.

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Seared Kangaroo Rump to Stop Greenhouse Effect

A few weeks ago I suggested the Purple Pickle Cafe at the Australian National Unviersity in Canberra add kangaroo to the menu. Professor Garnaut then released his Climate Change Report. This included a recommendation that Australians eat more kangaroo. Today the Purple Pickle served Seared Kangaroo Rump with potato rostie, roquette and roast garlic. This showed that Kangaroo meat is in no way inferior. Perhaps the Pickle should create a Kangaroo Garnaut-burger, in honour of the Professor's work to save the planet. ;-)

Australian marsupials emit negligible amounts of methane from enteric fermentation (Klieve & Ouwerkerk 2007). This could be a source of international comparative advantage for Australia in livestock production. For most of Australia’s human history—around 60 000 years—kangaroo was the main source of meat.3 It could again become important. However, there are some significant barriers to this change, including livestock and farm management issues, consumer resistance and the gradual nature of change in food tastes.

Edwards and Wilson (2008) have modelled the potential for kangaroos to replace sheep and cattle for meat production in Australia’s rangelands, where kangaroos are already harvested. They conclude that by 2020 beef cattle and sheep numbers in the rangelands could be reduced by 7 million and 36 million respectively, and that this would create the opportunity for an increase in kangaroo numbers from 34 million today to 240 million by 2020. They estimate that meat production from 175 million kangaroos would be sufficient to replace the forgone lamb and beef meat production, and that meat production from kangaroos would become more profitable than cattle and sheep when emissions permit prices exceed $40 per tonne CO2-e. The net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be about 16 Mt CO2-e per year. ...

From: Transforming rural land use, Chapter 22, Garnaut Climate Change Review Final Report, 2008
Kangaroo Cookin': 88 Simple Roo Recipes By Peter Winch, Andrew Thompson, Kent McCormackSee also:

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Garnaut Climate Change Review Final Report

Garnaut Climate Change Review Final ReportProfessor Garnaut has delivered the "Garnaut Climate Change Review Final Report" on climate change to the Australian Government. The key recommendation is a reduction of 25 per cent in emissions by 2020 from 2000 levels. The full text of the review is available online, along with appendices and other material. Unfortunately, the printed version of this Australian report is being published in the UK, not Australia. The 720 page book will weight about 1.3 kilograms and if air freighted to Australia will generate the equivalent of 100 kg of CO2 emissions per copy.

Report online

Currently only a PDF version of the report is available, but a HTML version is due out 15 October 2008. Hopefully the HTML will be correctly formatted in accordance with web accessibility standards, unlike the current web site.

Preliminary pages


  1. A decision-making framework: (PDF, 482kb)
  2. Understanding climate science: (PDF, 1.24mb)
  3. Emissions in the Platinum Age: (PDF, 1.74mb)
  4. Projecting global climate change: (PDF, 3.58mb)
  5. Projecting Australian climate change: (PDF, 301kb)
  6. Climate change impacts on Australia: (PDF, 293kb)
  7. Australia's emissions in a global context: (PDF, 1.15mb)
  8. Assessing the international response: (PDF, 228kb)
  9. Towards global agreement: (PDF, 497kb)
  10. Deepening global collaboration: (PDF, 209kb)
  11. Costing climate change and its avoidance: (PDF, 530kb)
  12. Targets and trajectories: (PDF, 245kb)
  13. An Australian policy framework: (PDF, 113kb)
  14. Australia's emissions trading scheme: (PDF, 414kb)
  15. Adaptation and mitigation measures for Australia: (PDF, 192kb)
  16. Sharing the burden in Australia: (PDF, 260kb)
  17. Information barriers to known technologies: (PDF, 184kb)
  18. The innovation challenge: (PDF, 242kb)
  19. Network infrastructure: (PDF, 589kb)
  20. Transforming energy: (PDF, 1.28mb)
  21. Transforming transport: (PDF, 718kb)
  22. Transforming rural land use: (PDF, 638kb)
  23. Towards a low-emissions economy: (PDF, 655kb)
  24. Fateful choices: (PDF, 56kb)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Australian Government Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

The Australian Government released its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper today (Wednesday 16 July 2008). There is a Summary, Fact sheets, and media release available, as well as the Full report. The report is, in part, a response to the Garnaut Climate Change Review. The government is inviting submissions on the green paper.

Too Much PDF

The summary of the report is an efficiently coded as a reasonably accessible web page, but most of the other documents are large PDF files. The chapters of the report have been provided as separate files, for individual download, which helps, as well as the full 3 Mbyte document. The summary has been offered first, then other chapters and the full report last. This is a good approach as many people will only need the summary, but will tend to click on the full report, if it is offered first. However, it is a little confusing as three versions of the summary are provided: a HTML version, a PDF version and the summary chapter of the report in PDF. It would be better if the HTML version of the summary had been offered, before the PDF version. Apart from the cost and inconvenience to the reader, large PDF files contribute to carbon emissions, due to the need for increased electricity use in transmission, processing and storage of the documents.
Exclusion of Transport Fuel Questionable

The Government proposes an emissions trading scheme, with a limit set on how much carbon pollution industry can produce, and the price set by the market. Funds from the initial sale of permits will be used to help households and businesses reduce carbon emissions. However, the government proposes to cut fuel taxes to offset the initial increase due to the permits for the first three years. This will remove the incentive for fuel users to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and so remove much of the value of the scheme. The three year review for this seems to place it just past the next election, removing political pressure from the government. It is unfortunate the government has taken this cynical political approach to an important global issue and so placed the lives of millions of people at risk.

Internet key to the strategy

One interesting point is that the use of the Internet is key to the Government's strategy:
5.9 ... Emissions obligations under the scheme, the types of assessment methodologies used and any uncertainty estimates reported by liable entities would be published by the Government on the internet as soon as is feasible after reports are submitted ...

5.5.2 ... An initial focus of compliance activities is likely to be education and outreach, such as consultations on the design of administrative processes; provision of information (via the internet, seminars and other ways) to liable entities on how to comply; and providing convenient and inexpensive
ways to interact with the regulator. ...

7.5.1 ... More frequent auctions also have a higher administrative cost for the regulator. However, the capacity to hold auctions on the internet means that costs are unlikely to be an important factor in determining auction frequency.

7.5.5 ...Given modern internet-based auction platform technology, the complexity of simultaneous auctions can be managed at relatively
low cost.
7.5.6 ... Internet auction platform - Auctions may be conducted using an internet platform. The internet platform will encourage more entrants and greater competition because it is low cost and readily accessible.

From: Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper, 2008 (emphasis added)
However, not all government use of the internet for the environment has been successful. The report mentions: "8.5.1 ... the One Stop Green Shop, which is a single, user friendly government web portal designed to link schools, businesses and families to household efficiency programs provided by all levels of government.". This web site was announced 13 May 2008, but a web search finds that "OneStopGreenShop" is a commercial web site selling environmental products which existed before the government announcement.

The government must have known of the existing OneStopGreenShop before making an announcement. It seems unlikely that government staff would be so poorly trained as to not try typing in the name of their proposed web site to see if it was already in use. For the government to be appropriating the intellectual property of an exiting business, or endorsing it, seems questionable.

No Online forum

The government is inviting submissions on the green paper by electronic means, which is to be commended. But all that is provided is an email address to write to. This would be a good opportunity for the government to show leadership and sponsor an online forum for discussion.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Opposition to gas fired power station in Canberra

Efforts to build a data center with co-generation in Canberra have met with local opposition. The Garnaut Review interim report proposes a carbon trading scheme. The effect of this will be to increase the cost of electricity compared to that from gas (which is less polluting). But this is not as easy as it looks. As an example the proposal for a gas fired co-generation plant for the "Canberra Technolofy City" data center in Canberra is meeting community opposition. The plant will be much cleaner than a coal fired one, but the residents don't want it within a few tens of kilometers of them (the coal fired plants are hundred of kilometers away).

The opponents remapped the data provided by the plan's proposers to emphasize how far pollution would spread. This is a sensitive issue as Canberra is subject to an inversion layer in winter, trapping pollution. However, a new gas fired power station is going to produce very little pollution. Perhaps its output should measured in FWDE: "four wheel drive equivalents". ;-)

The proposers of the plant brought some of the problems on themselves by calling what they were building a "power station" and emphasized its capacity. If this was described as just a way to supplement the data center's power it is unlikely anyone would have noticed.

The community consultation documents show the data center "ground view-from Macarthur", of a starkly visible white building with four towers which look like smoke stacks, rising out of the countryside. If the building was painted grey-green and tan to blend into the landscape it would be far less objectionable. This would not increase the cost of the plant, the steel panels of the building could simply use the standard palate of Colorbond colours developed to developed to blend into the Australian landscape. For increased blending, the rectangular building panels could be of subtlety different colors, forming digital comflage and making the building difficult to see from more than a few hundred metres away.

If the stacks were in low visibility colors and below the ridge line of the surrounding hills, it would not look so much like a power station. Gas fired generators are very small units, and the one for the data center probably occupies about the space of a double garage. The buildings show in the plans will be the offices and the cooling plant for the data center, not the power station.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Garnaut Climate Change Review Draft Report

The Garnaut Climate Change Review Draft Report was released today at the National Press Club. There is a Media Release with a summary (PDF, 312kb). The full Draft Report is 548 pages (13.5Mb of PDF). Public forums about the report will be held in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane from next week.

One of the key messages of the report is that a way must be found to decouple economic development from fossil fuels. One of the obvious ways to do this is with the commerce of information, not physical goods. Unfortunately this is something Professor Garnaut has not grasped.

The report itself fails to use efficient online techniques to reduce the environmental footprint of its distribution and allow more public consultation. The report is formatted as relatively inefficient PDF (about ten times larger than it need be) and so will itself contribute to the greenhouse effect. Also the public forums are only being held in a few locations, requiring those in outlying areas to consume fossil fuels to attend, with no online forum.

The lack of understanding of the role of electronic communications in sustainable development is also illustrated by the notation in the PDF version of the document, which claims that it is "... printed on 9Lives 80, a paper composed of 80 per cent post‑consumer fibre and 20 per cent totally chlorine‑free pulp ..." and "All inks used in the printing of this report are vegetable based". Neither of these claims is true, as the electronic document is composed of bits of information, with no particular physical form.

Very few of the people reading the report will ever see one of the small number of paper copies produced. It is therefore important to ensure the electronic version they do read is efficiently produced, as well as being an adequate substitute for paper and ink. Understanding that will be key to the solution to climate change.

Appended are the table of contents and the media release, reduced to an efficient text format:

Garnaut Climate Change Review Draft Report

Preface ix
Terms of reference x
1. Australia’s climate change challenge 1
1.1 The context of the draft report in the Garnaut Climate
Change Review 6
1.2 Main themes 8
1.3 Main policy tendencies 9
1.4 Adaptation: prospects and limits 11
1.5 Synopsis 12
2. Policy choice about climate change mitigation 23
2.1 Risk and uncertainty 25
2.2 The costs of mitigation 27
2.3 Four kinds of benefits from mitigation or avoided
climate change 32
2.4 How effective adaptation reduces the cost of climate
change and the benefits of mitigation 36
2.5 Measuring the benefits of mitigation against the costs 38
2.6 A graphical representation of the benefits and costs 39
2.7 Valuing the future relative to the present 42
2.8 The Review’s recommendations in a world of
uncertainty and important immeasureable impacts 45
3. The science of climate change 47
3.1 The earth’s atmosphere and the natural
greenhouse effect 48
3.2 Understanding climate change 53
3.3 Linking emissions and climate change 57
3.4 Adressing the extremes: severe weather events,
low likelihood outcomes, and thresholds 70
3.5. Uncertainty in the climate science 74
3.6 The science behind global mitigation 76
4. Emissions in the Platinum Age: the rapid, recent and
projected future growth of greenhouse gas emissions 87
4.1 Greenhouse gas emissions by source and country 87
4.2 Recent trends in carbon dioxide emissions from
fossil fuels 89
4.3 Existing emissions projections 92
4.4 The Review’s no-mitigation projections:
methodology and assumptions 93
4.5 Results from the Review’s projections and
comparisons with existing projections 96
4.6 The impact of high energy prices 101
4.7 Resource limits 104
5. Observations and projections of global climate change 111
5.1 How has the climate changed? 112
5.2 Understanding climate change projections 120
5.3 Projected climate change for the no-mitigation
and mitigation cases 124
5.4 Assessing the extremes 132
6. The Australian context to climate change 143
6.1 Attributing observed and projected climate change
to humans 144
6.2 Historical climate change in Australia 144
6.3 Projected climate change in Australia 151
7. Impacts of climate change on Australia 161
7.1 Understanding Australia’s vulnerability to climate
change 164
7.2 Implications of the no-mitigation case for Australia 165
7.3 Direct impacts of climate change on Australia 168
7.4 Indirect impacts of climate change on Australia 186
7.5 Conclusion 193
7A Climate cases considered by the Garnaut Review 197
7B Infrastructure impacts criteria 198
8. Australia’s emissions and the economy 199
8.1 Australia’s emissions profile and international
comparisons 199
8.2 Emissions profiles of Australian industries 206
9. The modelled economic consequences of climate change
in Australia 213
9.1 Capturing the impacts of climate change through
economic modelling 214
9.2 Representing climate change impacts in
economy-wide analyses 217
9.3 The contribution of individual climate change
impacts to net economic impacts 241
9.4 A final caution 244
10. The wider costs and benefits of climate change
mitigation in Australia 249
10.1 What proportion of market impacts does the modelling
include and how significant are the exclusions? 250
10.2 Insurance costs of climate change mitigation—
extreme climate change scenarios 260
10.3 Non-market impacts that Australians value 264
10.4 Assessing the costs of climate change beyond 2100 266
10.5 Implications for evaluating the costs and benefits
of climate change mitigation policy 267
11. The international response to climate change to date:
an assessment 269
11.1 The evolving international framework for addressing
climate change 270
11.2 National-level commitments and policies to
mitigate climate change 273
11.3 Assessment of progress under the Kyoto Protocol 277
11.4 Projections given the current trajectory of
mitigation effort 280
11.5 Accelerating progress 281
12. Towards agreement on global and national
emissions limits 289
12.1 Agreeing on a global goal 290
12.2 What form should national commitments take? 294
12.3 A graduated approach to national commitments 297
12.4 Principles for allocating emissions entitlements
across countries 300
12.5 Shaping a per capita approach to the allocation
of emissions entitlements 305
13. Deepening international collaboration 309
13.1 International public funding for mitigation 310
13.2 International public funding for adaptation 315
13.3 International trade in emissions rights 318
13.4 Price-based sectoral agreements for the
trade-exposed, emissions-intensive sectors 321
13.5 Climate change and trade policy 323
13.6 International aviation and shipping 325
13.7 Forestry-related emissions 326
13.8 Enforcement mechanisms 330
14. Australian mitigation: overview of the policy challenge 337
14.1 Emissions entitlement limits for Australia 339
14.2 Addressing the greatest market failure ever seen 341
14.3 Mitigation policy: a broader reform agenda 345
14.4 Income distribution effects 356
15. An Australian emissions trading scheme 359
15.1 Framework to guide scheme design 361
15.2 The emissions trading scheme in operation 364
15.3 Transition period: Australia’s emissions
trading scheme to the end of 2012 390
15.4 Optimal design features of an emissions
trading scheme under a global agreement 392
15A Trade-exposed, emissions-intensive firms 397
16. Research, development and innovation 403
16.1 What is innovation and how does it happen? 405
16.2 Ensuring optimal levels of early research 408
16.3 Rewarding early movers 414
16.4 An overarching framework for innovative activities 424
17. Network infrastructure market failures 427
17.1 Infrastructure for the transmission of electricity 429
17.2 Infrastructure for the distribution of electricity 435
17.3 Gas transmission infrastructure in Australia 437
17.4 New infrastructure for the transportation of
carbon dioxide 438
18. Information and agency barriers 443
18.1 The impact of information and agency barriers 444
18.2 Public good information 446
18.3 Information asymmetry 452
18.4 Early adopter spillovers 454
18.5 Principal–agent problems 455
18.6 Minimum performance standards 458
18.7 Applying the market failure framework to buildings 460
19. Income distribution effects of climate change
mitigation policy 469
19.1 Impacts will flow through the economy, and will
be uneven 470
19.2 Effects of an emissions price on households 474
20. The energy transformation 481
20.1 The role of energy and the basis for transformation 482
20.2 Drivers of the transformation 489
20.3 The path to transformation 497
20.4 Key economic impacts 507
20.5 Risks to the transformation 507
20A Stationary energy compensation 511
List of figures and tables 515
List of shortened forms 520
Glossary 522


Friday 4 July 2008


Australians are facing risks of damaging climate change. Without strong and early action by Australia and all major economies we are likely to face severe and costly impacts on Australia’s prosperity and enjoyment of life, according to the Garnaut Climate Change Review’s Draft Report, released today.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, Professor Ross Garnaut said that by 2050, unmitigated climate change on middle of the road outcomes would mean major declines in agricultural production across much of the country, including a 50 per cent reduction in irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin. By 2100, irrigated agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin would decline by 92 per cent.

Early economic modelling results of readily measurable unmitigated climate change for middle of the road outcomes on temperatures and decline in rainfall – indicate that climate change would wipe off around 4.8 per cent of Australia’s projected GDP, around 5.4 per cent of projected household consumption, and 7.8 per cent from real wages by 2100.

“These readily measurable costs are only part of the story. There are also conventional economic effects that are not currently measurable, the possibility of much larger costs from extreme outcomes, and costs that aren’t manifested through markets,” said Professor Garnaut.

The full economic modelling results, to be released in a Supplementary Draft Report in August, will help complete the picture for Australians, by comparing the costs and benefits of climate change mitigation. This will inform the Review’s consideration of emission reduction trajectories and targets.

The Final Report will be released in September.

Professor Garnaut said that the climate change impacts would be significantly reduced with strong global mitigation.
“Australia needs to play its full part in the international effort if global mitigation is to have a chance.
The first step is to take action as part of the developed world, with a view to bringing in developing
countries – first of all China – on the earliest possible timetable,” he said.

“Australia would be hurt more than other developed countries by unmitigated climate change, and we therefore have an interest in encouraging the strongest feasible global effort. We are running out of time for effective global action, and it is important that we play our full part in nurturing the remaining chance.

“We will delude ourselves should we choose to take small actions that create an appearance of action, but which do not solve the problem. Such an approach would risk the integrity of our market economy and political processes to no good effect,” said Professor Garnaut.

“Australians are well placed to deal with the challenges of this major economic reform. As with all economic reform, mitigation policy must be forward-looking. Policy interventions and the use of public and private resources should focus on improving future economic prospects rather than reacting to past decisions”, said Professor Garnaut.

The Draft Report provides the Review’s suggestions on the design of the emissions trading scheme (ETS). Professor Garnaut reiterated his support for the ETS to cover as many sectors as practicable.

“The more sectors included in the ETS, the more efficiently costs will be shared across the economy. Transport should be included,” said Professor Garnaut.

The Draft Report advocates the full auctioning of emissions permits and the return of all revenue to households and business.

“The cost to consumers of rising energy and petrol prices, can be balanced through payments to households, while preserving price incentives to reduce emissions,” he said.

The Report proposes that half the proceeds from the sale of all permits is allocated to households, around 30 per cent provided for structural adjustment needs for business (including any payments to TEEIIs), and the remaining 20 per cent allocated to research and development and the commercialisation of new technologies.

“The proceeds from the ETS should be allocated for purposes that will help Australia adjust to a lowemissions future,” said Professor Garnaut.

“A massive increase – reaching $3 billion per annum – is required in Australia’s commitment to lowemissions technology research, development and commercialisation,” he said.

The Draft Report states that it would be in Australia’s interest to find out as soon as possible whether there can be a low-emissions future for coal, and to support rapid deployment of commercially promising technologies. This follows from Australia’s role as the world’s largest exporter of coal and the central place of coal in growth in emissions from Asian developing countries.

“Australia has the opportunity to play a leadership role in funding and co-ordinating a major global effort to develop and deploy carbon capture and storage technologies, and to transfer those technologies to developing countries,” said Professor Garnaut.

“Additional mitigation policies should only be undertaken where they will lower the overall cost to the economy, by correcting market failures,” he said.

Professor Garnaut said that he supported the phase-out of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, once the unconstrained ETS was fully operational.

“The Review’s first aim is to lay out the issues for policy choice in a transparent way. We will have done our job if Australian governments and the community make their choices in full knowledge of the consequences of their decisions,” said Professor Garnaut.

Professor Garnaut will host public forums on the Draft Report in a number of cities around Australia between 7-11 July 2008.

For more information visit


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Monday, June 30, 2008

Computers Off Launch

Computers Off CampaignGreetings from the launch of the Computers Off Campaign in Sydney today at 10am.

Mark Winter started off by showing a humorous video about "Naked Tuesday" showing that turning computers off may be an easier approach than others to energy saving. He then introduced the advisors to the campaign, including myself. He then talked about his inspiration for the campaign, when he stayed in North Sydney during the Earth Hour initiative to turn off Sydney lights and being in the USA during Al Gore's "Unfortunate Truth".

Mark claimed this is the first Green IT labelling initiative (at least until someone pointed out an earlier one). To participate, organisations are required to meet program guidelines and code of practice. Companies are required to have virtulaisationor other power management software. Organisations will be listed on the Computers Off web site and selected at random to be audited, to ensure they are complying.

Idris Sulaiman, the CEO of Computers Off, the talked about the relevance of the campaign to the ICT sector in Australia, including the coming reporting requirements by government (starting tomorrow). He mentioned the will be a global launch on world environment day. One point he made that previously ice was predicted to melt at the North Pole in 2080, but now the prediction is 2018. A recent ITU report launched in London recently estimated ICT at 2.5 to 3% of the total CO2 emissions (only for computer use not counting embedded energy from making the computers). He suggested that the ICT government review could consider energy efficient measures. He pointed out that beyond simply setting screen savers, power management software can implement and monitor more sophisticated power manage functions.

Richard Collins, consultant to the federal government's energy efficiency team, pointed out that Australian governments regulate energy sue, but not computers. He showed projects that if action is not taken, computers will be come an increasingly significant proportion of home energy use. He told an anecdote of visiting a company to talk on energy use and found that the computer staff had locked out the energy saving settings on all the company's computers. MEPS in October 2009.

A media release was distributed at the launch (copy appended) and the slide presentaiton (text only appended):

For immediate release


** Pictures available on request **

Computers Off Australia’ Campaign & Labelling initiative launched to encourage Australians to save the environment… one computer at a time!

SYDNEY – Monday 30 June, 2008 – Australians can now make a real, tangible and ‘easy’ difference to our environment – on a national and global scale – by turning off their computers when not in use. The not-for-profit ‘Computers Off Australia’ campaign and labelling initiative, officially launched today in Sydney, Australia, has been developed to encourage Australians to implement power management practices on their computers – at home and in the workplace - and in doing so, save carbon emissions and our planet!

According to Mark Winter, Founder of Computers Off Australia, “I realised about seven months ago when I told my two youngest children that we were going to wash the car and they got into the car, ready to drive to the carwash rather than grab a bucket and sponge as I would have done when I was a kid, that the world is a very different place today.”

“Moreover, it really hit home to me that if we don’t start making a difference now, in every seemingly ‘little’ way we can, our children are going to have an even bigger problem with the environment than we have today.”

“ Soon after, I read in a Gartner report that the ICT industry accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions of the aviation industry. I knew then where I could start… and the idea for Computers Off Australia was born,” he added.

The objectives of the ‘Computers Off’ campaign are to form part of a new development of practical programs being offered by the Information and Communication Technology industry to improve energy efficiency and deal with global climate change. This initiative also supports an industry-wide target to achieve a 50 per cent improvement in Australia’s and global computer energy efficiency by 2010.

The Computers off ‘label’ has been created to act as the computer industry’s guide to help individuals, business and government quickly and easily identify those organisations that are doing their part to reduce their power consumption and are in turn reducing their CO 2 emissions.

Industry associations including the (AIIA) Australia Information Industry Association and the (ACS) Australian Computers have provided their endorsements and support behind this campaign and labelling initiative.

“ The opportunity for us here in Australia is to lead by example and show the rest of the world that we can achieve something that we probably didn't think possible. By coming together and turning our computers off when they are not being used, not only can we can make a real difference, we can leave our children’s children with a habitable planet. Then, our plan is to take this initiative to the rest of the globe,” Mr Winter concluded.

Check out the Computers Off commercials –

Come on Australia, start turning your computers off when not in use
and implement new ways to save energy and the environment!


For media information or a media interview with Mark Winter, Founder of ‘Computers Off Australia’, please contact:

Kerryn Nelson
Managing Director
Big Mouth Marketing Communications P/L
Ph: + 61 3 9558 3122 E: kerryn.nelson(a)

Did you know?

People don’t generally leave their televisions on all day while they are at work or away on holidays,
yet across Australia, millions of work computers are on all night – wasting energy, costing businesses, places of learning and the government over one billion dollars in electric generation costs and contributing to global climate change.

According to a Gartner Report, the global Information and Communications Technology industry (ICT) accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions of the aviation industry.

According to a recent report by the Department of Environment and Water Heritage , there are now more than 16 million PCs within government departments, institutions and businesses and approximately 8 million PC in Australian homes.

If Australian home users, businesses and the government start to turn of their computers when they are not in use and implement automated power management, they will collectively save in excess of $1.3 billion ($1,332,407,232) per annum and we will reduce our carbon emissions by 7,938,926 tonnes per annum!

This is equivalent to taking 1,373,517 cars off the road, planting 2,165,260 trees and 8,882,715 homes that would be lit for a year with the energy saved by power management (at 12c electricity cost per kWh).

How BIG an impact can you make by turning off your computer?

By turning off your computer each night when you leave work for a year you will help save as much energy as it takes:

  • to run a clock radio for 1,392 weeks

  • to make 9,280 bags of microwave popcorn

  • to wash 464 loads of washing

  • to use your blow dryer for 5,568 hours

  • to vacuum for 464 hours

  • to produce 3,480 plastic bags

  • to run your microwave 24 hours a day for a week

  • to boil your kettle for 24 hours a day for 268 days

By turning off your computer tonight when you leave work you will save as much energy as it takes:

  • to run a clock radio for over 3 weeks

  • to make over 20 bags of microwave popcorn

  • to wash over 1 load of washing

  • to blow dry your hair over 12 times

  • to vacuum for over 1 hour

  • to light a 100 watt light bulb for over 10 hours

By turning your computer off tonight when you leave work will save approximately 100kgs of coal from being used - that’s a saving of over about 120kgs of CO 2 emissions.

What is the ‘Computers Off Australia’ Campaign and Labelling Initiative?

The objectives of the ‘Computers Off’ campaign and labelling initiative are a part of a new development of practical programs being offered by the Information and Communication Technology industry to improve energy efficiency and deal with global climate change.

The Computers Off campaign is a simple, yet important initiative which is designed to educate business, government and home users about how we can all help reduce Australia’s carbon footprint by implementing power management practices on our work and home computers.

The Computers off ‘label’ has been created as the computer industry’s guide to help business, government and individuals quickly and easily identify organisations that are doing their part to reduce their power consumption and in turn reducing their CO 2 emissions.

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit

Computers Off Australia Launch Presentation

  • Mark Winter - Founder


  • 10.10am Screening - (Naked Tuesday Viral Commercial)

  • 10.15am Dr Idris F. Sulaiman, CEO - Computers Off Australia

  • 10.25am Richard Collins, Consultant to the Australian Government's Equipment Energy Efficiency Team

  • 10.45am Ian Birks, President - AIIA (Industry Association)

  • 10.55am Screening - (Recycled Stationary Viral Commercial)

  • 11am Otto Reuttinger, Business Manager - Lenovo

  • 11.10am Dean Downes, IT Director - St Aidens Anglican Girls"â"¢ School

  • 11.20am Screening - (WaterBoy Viral Commercial)

  • 11.25am Questions

  • 11.40am Mark Winter - Closing remarks

Introduction - Where it came from

  • Original idea of Computers Off Australia:

    • Launch of "Lights Off Australia" (Now Earth Hour)
    • Al Gores, Inconvenient Truth
    • Gartner report indicating IT accounts for 2% of global emissions
  • The need for someone to take some action and do something
  • Found like minded people

Board of Advisors

  • Tom Worthington

  • Robin Eckermann

  • Hugh Grant

  • Bianca Wirth

  • Paul Harapin

  • Dr Idris F. Sulaiman - CEO

Computers Off "Campaign"

  • Simple and important initiative

  • Educate home, business and government on how to reduce CO2 emissions

    • Power Management

    • Server and workstation Virtualisation

    • How to start on the carbon neutral path

  • Essentially a national marketing campaign

      • Education specific focus

Computers Off "Labelling"

  • Computer industry's guide to identify organisations TAKING ACTION!

  • Not products, just companies

    • What are they doing internally with this ICT infrastructure

    • Power Management

    • Server and desktop virtualisation

  • Challenges organisations (NO GREEN WASHING)

  • Gives the consumers choices

  • Meet the "Computers Off" labelling requirements

  • Randomly carry out an independent audit

  • Global launch date - World Environment Day 2009

The Labels

An organisation or individual that have implemented/activated Power Management on their home and/or work PC.

An organisation or government department that have virtualised their server or desktop infrastructure.

An organisation or individual that have reduced their ICT carbon footprint and have purchased carbon offsets to become carbon neutral.

The "Computers Off" label

  • The worlds first Green IT labelling initiative

  • The computer industries guide to identify organisation doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint

  • Encourage organisation to improve the use of power throughout their ICT infrastructure

  • Keep the bastards honest "Green Washing"

  • Global launch date - World Environment Day 2009

How does it work?

  • Organisation must meet the labelling requirements, follow the program guidelines and code of practice

    • Have a power management and /or virtualisation policy in development or in place

    • Provide a statement stating your IT carbon reduction strategy

    • This is to be provided on company letterhead

  • We will randomly select a number of licensees and carry out an independent audit

The home user

The education user

The corporate user

Computers Off Australia
First step in a greater role for ICT in addressing Climate Change

  • Idris F Sulaiman - CEO


  • About COA

  • Aims

  • Vision

  • Focus

  • Closing comments

  • "Previously scientists had a totally ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2080, but later revised the date to 2030. More recently, computer models have suggested an ice-free summer may occur by 2018"

  • It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year"¦" The Canberra Times, Saturday, June 28, 2008 from The Independent, p. 3

About Computers Off Australia (COA)

  • Not-for-profit organisation and campaign

  • National initiative targeting business, government, education sectors & individual consumers

  • Assist in practical steps in reducing their energy use & their CO2 footprint - both for individuals and organisations

  • Promote organisations adopt network power management tools and implementing their IT emissions reduction policy

  • Offering the worlds first Green IT labelling initiative for both individual members of organisations.

  • Campaign support
    - Individuals on Board, Industry, Government & Consumer bodies


  • Focus in three areas:

  • Reducing energy consumption of
    computers and other ICT equipment

    • encouraging behavior change in stakeholders:

    • A) business

    • B) government

      • C) education sector

      • D) individual consumers

  • Promoting network efficiencies to be gained through the use of power management and CO2 emission monitoring software in all IT-using sectors

  • Promoting collaboration by stakeholders to recognise the best ways to make
    power management and ICTs play a critical role in addressing global warming


  • Lower ICT total CO2 emissions (now approximately 2.5-3% of global CO2 emissions)

    • According to ITU London Symposium (17-18 June 2008) includes

    • includes all "in-use" commercial and government ICT and communications but

    • does not including "indirect heat" (generated during in-use) and

      • does not "embedded energy" using in ICT equipment

    • Equivalent to the aviation industry

  • The Good News:

    • There are substantial inefficiencies in the technology and use behaviors that can be readily addressed

    • Centralised Power Management and virtualisation can cut computers & monitors CO2 emissions in 2009-14 by 9.18 Mt CO2 or at least 2.3 million cars of the road (given a conservative take up)

Which equipment uses more power?


  • To raise awareness, promote implementation measures reduce energy consumption of computers and ICT-equipment

  • To scope measures that target existing large ICT initiatives to deal with their on energy efficiency and environmental performance

  • To provide a firm, quantitative basis for immediate, medium and longer term specific greenhouse response measures


  • Energy cost rise (rising price of crude reaching record levels - >$140/barrel)

  • Reporting regulations (Corporations emitting more than 125 Kt of CO2 must report. Fine of up to $200,000, audit by regulators.)

  • Government "leading by example" using its enormous purchasing power to drive markets for cleaner and greener goods and services helping to bring down prices for all Australians"(see )

    • Government Leadership in Sustainability Inter-Departmental Committee
      (10 departments) with the aims to reduce energy and water use, set targets on renewable energy use and use government procurement

    • Government ICT efficiency review (DoFD): setting "ICT Best Practice" standards

    • Post-Kyoto Agenda: Input to Garnaut Review (greater ICT role in supplementary measures to the Emission Trading Scheme, ETS), "green" and "white" papers


  • "Digital Education Revolution" education program - $1.2 billion plan to put over a million computers in schools

  • National energy efficiency goal that "will put Australia on track to being at the forefront of organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) energy efficiency improvement"

Closing words

  • COA is working to raise awareness and get stakeholders to implement measures dealing with their total energy consumption attributable to the ICT

  • Improve energy efficiency of "in-use" ICT hardware as the first steps

  • Deploying power management and virtualising server and workstation infrastructure leads to significant reduction of standby and idle power losses

  • ICT equipment monitoring of CO2 footprint will bring better energy performance - supplement minimum standards for ICT equipment

  • Manufacturers/distributors/users to measure and develop strategy to improve energy efficiency in ICT producing sectors:

  • Australia needs and can perform better than OECD"â"¢s average in many areas of equipment energy efficiency: ICTs can play a critical role

  • Cost of inaction is greater than cost of action, act now!

Thank You

Idris F Sulaiman
CEO, Computers Off Australia

For more information, please visit:

Screening - (Recycled Stationary Viral Commercial)
Screening - (Waterboy Viral Commercial)

ps: Robin Eckerman wants the Government solar rebate restored. ;-(

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme for Australia

Professor Ross Garnaut has released the latest part of his climate change study commissioned by the Australian state and federal governments. This proposes a n emissions trading scheme. There is a media release, Executive Summary, and full Emissions Trading Scheme Discussion Paper (477kb).

The trading scheme would use an "use an internet auction platform" (on Page 78 of the report). This might be the most significant contribution that ICT makes to the world.

From the Executive Summary:
... The centrepiece of the ETS is a greenhouse gas emissions market. A price on carbon is needed to address the market failure of unpriced greenhouse gas emissions. ...

Target and trajectories: ... Australia should declare the ambitious emissions budgets and target trajectories that it would be prepared to accept in the context of an effective, comprehensive global agreement. Along with the design of the ETS we can announce a set of trajectories of permit releases over time, consistent with our emissions budgets. The trajectories should embody rising degrees of constraint. Any shift in trajectory should only be triggered by movement towards stronger effective international mitigation commitments. ...

Design of an effective ETS: An ETS is established to reduce emissions, but the emissions limit is a decision to be made outside of the scheme itself. In developing the ETS design, the singular objective should be to provide a transactional space that enables the transmission of permits to economic agents for whom they represent the greatest economic value.
A number of guiding principles can be applied in order to achieve this objective, including scarcity, tradability, credibility, simplicity and integration. These principles define a solid framework within which an effective market can be designed.

Intrinsic and extrinsic features: An ETS has two types of design features: those that are essential to the operational efficiency of the scheme, referred to as intrinsic features, (for example the scheme’s coverage, permit allocation rules, compliance rules and governance); and those that are defined outside of the scheme’s operation, but still have considerable influence on the scheme’s economic impact, referred to as extrinsic features (for example, defining the emissions limits and principles for compensation). Both these design feature types exist within a broader context of factors that affect the operation of the scheme but are beyond the influence of policy decisions on ETS design, known as exogenous factors (for example the evolving global environment agreement as well as the evolving scientific and technological knowledge bases).

Permit Allocation: The price of permits, the increase in the price of electricity and other emissions-intensive products, and structural change in the economy in response to the restriction on emissions, will not be affected by the method of permit allocation. Transaction costs will be lowest if they are auctioned; any free allocation of permits will involve elaborate assessment and political processes. ...

International Trade: The costs of abatement can potentially be substantially reduced, and therefore more ambitious targets achieved, by international trade in permits. However, linking with an economy that has a flawed domestic mitigation system will result in the import of those flaws. Variations in the quality of mitigation arrangements across countries mean that the decision to link with particular markets is a matter for fine judgement, but ultimately global mitigation will only be successful if countries can trade in emission permits. Opportunities for international linkage of the Australian ETS should be sought in a judicious and calibrated manner.

Governance: Sound governance arrangements are necessary to issue permits and to ensure that permits are acquitted in line with emissions. In Australia, there is a place for an independent institution playing a central role in administration of the ETS, within policy parameters established by legislation. In this report, we refer to such an institution as the Independent Carbon Bank. ...

Compensation: This is a difficult reform, and a permit price that is high enough to secure levels of emissions within targets and budgets will have major effects on income distribution. The losers from such changes (households, and low-income households in particular, but in some circumstances domestic and foreign shareholders in highly emissions-intensive businesses) may feel that they can make a case for compensatory payments. The case for substantial measures to reduce the impact of the reform on living standards of low-income households is strong, and will affect political support for and perceptions of stability of an efficient ETS. ...

From: Executive Summary, Emissions Trading Scheme Discussion Paper, Garnaut Climate Change Review, Ross Garnaut , March 2008

See Books on:

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Garnaut Climate Change Interim Report

The interim Garnaut Climate Change Review, commissioned by Australian governments has been released. The suggested cuts in green house gas emissions are possible with minimal impact on our lifestyle and economy. Reducing energy use with computers, broadband and the Internet, could help. A further Draft Report will be released 30 June 2008 and a Final Report 30 September 2008.

Available are:
  1. Media release (353kb)
  2. Executive Summary (44kb)
  3. Full Report (634kb)
The full report is 64 pages long. All the documents appear to have been efficiently and carefully encoded in PDF, unlike many government reports. But the reports could do with shorter web addresses. They are about 150 characters long. Removing the duplicated text and "MicrosoftWord" would help, especially as the files are in PDF format, not Microsoft Word.

Here is the text of the executive summary:
This Interim Report seeks to provide a flavour of early findings from the work of the Review, to share ideas on work in progress as a basis for interaction with the Australian community, and to indicate the scope of the work programme through to the completion of the Review. There are some important areas of the Review’s work that are barely touched upon in the Interim Report, which will feature prominently in the final reports. Adaptation to climate change, energy efficiency and the distribution of the costs of climate change across households and regions are amongst the prominent omissions from this presentation.

Many views put forward in this Interim Report represent genuinely interim judgements. The Review looks forward to feedback from interested people before formulating recommendations for the final reports.

Developments in mainstream scientific opinion on the relationship between emissions accumulations and climate outcomes, and the Review’s own work on future “business as usual” global emissions, suggest that the world is moving towards high risks of dangerous climate change more rapidly than has generally been understood. This makes mitigation more urgent and more costly. At the same time, it makes the probable effects of unmitigated climate change more costly, for Australia and for the world.

The largest source of increased urgency is the unexpectedly high growth of the world economy in the early twenty-first century, combined with unexpectedly high energy intensity of that growth and continuing reliance on high-emissions fossil fuels as sources of energy. These developments are associated with strong economic growth in the developing world, first of all in China. The stronger growth has strong momentum and is likely to continue. It is neither desirable nor remotely feasible to seek to remove environmental pressures through diminution of the aspirations of the world’s people for higher material standards of living. The challenge is to end the linkage between economic growth and emissions of greenhouse gases.

Australia’s interest lies in the world adopting a strong and effective position on climate change mitigation. This interest is driven by two realities of Australia’s position relative to other developed countries: our exceptional sensitivity to climate change: and our exceptional opportunity to do well in a world of effective global mitigation. Australia playing its full part in international efforts on climate change can have a positive effect on global outcomes. The direct effects of Australia’s emissions reduction efforts are of secondary importance. Australia has an important role to play alongside its international partners in establishing a realistic approach to global mitigation. Australia can contribute to the development of clear international understandings on the four components of a successful framework for global mitigation: setting the right global objectives for reduction of the risk of dangerous climate change; converting this into a goal for stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a specified level; calculating the amount of additional emissions that can be emitted into the atmosphere over a specified number of years if stabilisation of atmospheric concentrations is to be achieved at the desired level; and developing principles for allocating a limited global emissions budget among countries.

Australia should make firm commitments in 2008, to 2020 and 2050 emissions targets that embody similar adjustment cost to that accepted by other developed countries. A lead has been provided by the European Union, and there are reasonable prospects that the United States will become part of the main international framework after the November 2008 elections. Some version of the current State and Federal targets of 60 per cent reduction by 2050, with appropriate interim targets, would meet these requirements.

Australia would need to go considerably further in reduction of emissions as part of an effective global agreement, with full participation by major developing countries, designed to reduce risks of dangerous climate change to acceptable levels. Australia should formulate a position on the contribution that it would be prepared make to an effective global agreement, and offer to implement that stronger position if an appropriately structured international agreement were reached.

The process of reaching an adequate global agreement will be long and difficult. Australia can help to keep the possibility of eventual agreement alive by efficient implementation of its own abatement policies, and through the development of exemplary working models of cooperation with developing countries in regional agreements, including with Papua New Guinea.

Australia must now put in place effective policies to achieve major reductions in emissions. The emissions trading scheme (ETS) is the centre-piece of a domestic mitigation strategy. To achieve effective mitigation at the lowest possible cost, the ETS will need to be supported by measures to correct market failures or weaknesses related to innovation, research and development, to information, and to network infrastructure.

Establishing an ETS with ambitious mitigation objectives will be difficult and will make heavy demands on scarce economic and finite political resources. The difficulty of the task makes it essential to use the most efficient means of achieving the mitigation objectives. That means efficiency both in minimising the economic costs, and in distributing the costs of the scheme across the Australian community in ways that are broadly seen as being fair.

To be effective in contributing as much as possible to an effective global effort to avoid unacceptably high risks of dangerous climate change, soundly based domestic and international policies will need to be sustained steadily over long periods. Policy-makers will need to eschew short-term responses that seem to deal with immediate problems but contribute to the building of pressures for future policy change. The Review aims to provide the basis for steady long-term policy at Commonwealth and State levels, and for productive long-term Australian interaction with the international community on climate change policy.

From: Executive Summary, Garnaut Climate Change Review Interim Report to the Commonwealth, State And Territory Governments of Australia, February 2008

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