Open Thread Uncategorized

Saludos desde Mataelpino

I haven’t published an energy or climate-related article on BNC for almost a week, for a good reason:

Damien Fordham, Barry Brook and Miguel Araújo enjoy the cool Spanish mountain air

Yes, I am enjoying myself (but working too!). We (me, and some colleagues from University of Adelaide: Corey Bradshaw, Damien Fordham and Salvador Herrando-Perez) are visiting a research collaborator in Spain (Miguel Araújo). Our workshop is being held at the El Bosque Hotel in Mataelpino, a village located 1,000 m up in the Madrid Sierra.

We’re investigating the shifts in the geographic ranges of over 200 bird species in the U.K. in relation to climate and land-use change, as well as developing a multi-species population viability analysis metapopulation model on the predator-prey-habitat interactions of the critically endangered Iberian lynx, rabbits, disease and climate change.

Although it’s the height of winter here, the region is currently experiencing a drought, and so conditions are very mild for this time of year. As such, the weather is incredibly beautiful, with bright blue skies and crisp dry air. Yesterday we went for a hike (at about 2,100 m elevation) in the Parque Natural de Peñalara. There was some snow about, but not a lot. This is the area where some of the scenes of one of my favourite movies was filmed. It’s just like being in Cimmeria

Barry Brook at Peñalara Natural Park, Spain

I’ll be back in Adelaide in the middle of next week, with some new BNC posts on sustainable energy and climate.Meanwhile, feel free to use the comments list of this post as an especially open “Open Thread” — one not necessarily limited to climate or energy topics! As for me, I’ll sign off with some more photos (taken by Corey):

¡Adiós! ¡Hasta pronto!

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

9 replies on “Saludos desde Mataelpino”

Well… my hotel is about 500 km north of the Gemasolar CSP facility, and very close to the Trilo and José Cabrera nuclear power plants. These are good for climate (IMHO, latter is much more effective, but nothing against the former if people are willing to pay for this). But most Spanish energy still comes from oil, gas and coal. These make climate change worse. Okay, back to my biology.


Lovely place and it’s good to combine business and pleasure.

Just a quick note – masterresource has a post about William Tucker’s 2008 book Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Energy Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America’s Energy Odyssey. masterresource isn’t generally sympathetic to nuclear energy, but this post is pretty emphatically in favor. It starts with:

William Tucker has powerfully explained how the future of technologically advanced civilizations depends upon a sophisticated ability to convert the highest energy densities into increasingly denser power performance, and in the process compacting the time and space necessary to do productive work.

The reviewer sums up this way:

Any journalist who these days can gracefully weave together an accurate account of the reciprocal nature of the speed of energy (radiation), matter, time, and distance with Huber and Mills’ laws of efficiency deserves the greatest respect. He also makes use of such cultural treasures as Blondie at Tudbury’s and Jubilation T. Cornpone. Terrestrial Energy is an honest, even wise, undertaking in the best tradition of journalism in a democracy, for successful democracy insists upon an informed citizenry. It’s at risk when leaders base policy on hot air and hokum, as the recent California energy history suggests.

Those concerned about a better energy future should recommend this book to all in their circle, presenting it as well to politicians, policy wonks, environmental leaders, and media representatives. Three cheers for Bill Tucker.

I’ve reserved the book from my library. It may be old hat on BNC, but it also might be worth revisiting.


Aren’t there fewer than 100 Iberian Lynx left in the wild? Without knowing much about them, I’d assume any PVA would paint a fairly grim picture – especially if, like many species, their MVP is around 5000.

A belated congratulations, by the way, on the Global Energy Prize award and your new position at the Breaththrough Institute. Very much deserved. I’ve been away for the past 5 weeks, so I’m currently busy trying to catch up on all the articles I’ve missed on BNC – a tough job given the relentless rate they constantly appear at!


Don’t know if you’re still in Spain or whether you’re back Downunder having the misfortune to read this morning’s The Australian – they did a their big feature article piece knocking climate change, complete with pictures of Europe in winter (plus some IPA article in the opinion section about sea level rises, but I didn’t read that). I don’t know enough about climate change to say exactly what was wrong/misrepresented – it’s not my field – but I’d love to know where they went wrong!
Please supply link to the article and re-submit this comment to the Open Thred 21 where a discussion along these lines is taking place.


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