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BNC 2.0

2013 was a quiet year for the Brave New Climate website.

After a number of years of heavy blogging from 2008 to 2011 (averaging about 150 posts per year), I guess I’d run out of steam by 2012, and that lack of activity just got worse in 2013. Although my Twitter feed (@bravenewclimate) remained vibrant, the blog itself got only a drip feed of occasional guest posts (though of high quality, I would argue!), and saw increasingly long intervals between updates.

I also switched over the the BNC Discussion Forum and closed comments here, which was a mixed success at best.

For 2014, I’ve hit the reset button.

The blog visuals have been given a fresh coat of paint (new, clean, simplified theme), most of the old links, images and organizational structure have been thrown in the bin, and various pages have been updated or removed. (The old post/comment content is all still in the archives and searchable, so nothing important has disappeared).

More importantly, my approach to blogging will be revitalised, with the aim of re-building (and, over time, expanding) the once-flourishing BNC community:

  • I will write more regularly, but typically in shorter, punchier, single-topic posts.
  • The scope of topics covered will be extended, particularly around technology solutions to global change, forecasting (futurist), and space exploration.
  • Commenting on the blog posts will re-open (but remain moderated, with participants expected to following the commenting rules).
  • The external discussion forum will remain active and integrated with the blog, for when you want to create your own topics that are not related to my blog posts.
  • Guest posts will continue to be hosted, if they are related to the theme of the blog and fit with its style and function.

Spread the word (see social media links at the foot of this post). BNC is back, and will be better than ever!


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.

37 replies on “BNC 2.0”

Great news, Barry !

I’d like to lodge the following ‘musings’ with you:

IMHO, nuclear, in whatever form, is the way forward and we pro-nuclear advocates have to degrade the efforts of the renewables lobby, so that renewables only occupy a single figure % of total energy use – which is the natural setting.

The all powerful body influencing government policies in the most important (wealthiest, populous, well-armed) nations, is the IPCC and there idiotic answer to climate change mitigation is -renewables.

I host an amateurish blog, lacking in any influence, called Idiocy-Of-Renewables – and this is what I suspect:There are too many idiotic (influential) scientists, climate specialists and others, in places of power among the higher echelons of the IPCC, and one way or another, they have to be displaced by pro-nuclear scientists, etc..

You’re the man to get the ball rolling – you and Tom Blees – what do you think?


I am very please to hear that, Barry. I wish you and BNC all the best for 2014 and beyond. There is much to achieve and much can be achieved with an appropriate approach. I hope the links to the old posts haven’t changed. I use them as an invaluable resource and frequently cite them. All the best, Barry. p.s. I am just reading this from 2007. I think it is fascinating and a great reminder of how we went wrong, IMO. ‘The Wrong Trousers: Radically Rethinking Climate Policy‘ Gwyn Prins & Steve Rayner


Looking forward to continuing discussions about our possible futures with one of the most knowledgeable communities on the web.


Hey Barry, nice to hear about your new focus on the blog; your updated philosophy of posting and subjects will definitely go down well with me. You always have interesting things to say.

Is it feasible to link the comments for a blog post with a discussion thread in the forum, basically accessing the same posts? I can imagine that the log-in would be a bit messy so I don’t say this is strongly desirable, just interested if it could be done easily.


Hi Barry

I like your new webpage. It shows nuclear is a natural part of the universe’s energy resources, as it should be down here.

My current concerns are the strong anti-IPCC and global warming stance of The Australian newspaper. Their latest effort by Maurice Newman on 15 January (PM Abbott’s Business Council Chair) consists of re-gurgitated attacks without a scientific basis, by someone who has no relevant scientific qualification. In particular his attack that one third of references in the 2007 AP4 IPCC Report were not peer reviewed is nonsense. Not only are the numbers wrong but he ignores all the legitimate government and scientific reports by the National Academy of Science, Goddard Space Flight Centre, Australian Academy etc which definitely go through a review process. If I may suggest, I would like to see Brave New Climate take The Australian to task for this barrage of misinformation.


Will be looking forward to more posts.

Geoff – you’d know better than most how long we’d really need to wait if we were counting on another meltdown – it took an unprecedented natural disaster coupled with government incompetence last time!


Some easy way to scan through the archives of old posts would be good.

How about a label ‘Archives’ on the main page that leads to a list of post titles that each link to the post. Chronological order would be good. I’ve thought it would be interesting to read through the early posts & see how your thinking on nuclear & renewables developed.


Welcome back. But a couple of nits to pick on the new design: first, it’s a bit annoying to have lost the date/time stamp on postings; we have no idea how old they are. Second, your icon.ico file still shows the old brown&yellow BNC logo. I suspect that you could take that full moon design and make something from it.


Jim – on the mobile site the “Archives” heading is right in the middle of the the bottom of the page. On the desktop site the “Archives” search is near the bottom of the right-hand side bar. Scroll down to access them. There is also a “Search” box at the top of the right hand bar. Enter the topic you are looking for to search the site.


Please note that from early 2012 comments were disabled on the main BNC site and switched to the Forum. Consequently, if you wish to follow these comments, you will need to go to the Forum site and click on the BNC Blog Posts Comments section.


Dear BNC Moderator,

Is it still possible to access the “Sustainable Nuclear” and the Renewable Limits” tabs. And would it be possible to bring it up to date and then keep it going? These tabs were an excellent way to find the posts you want to refer to on BNC. I feel they are valuable, and serve as a Table of Contents, They had the title, author, and link to the post. We could also provide the link to the whole list by list and say: read TCASE 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 and 12 for example. For other’s wh may not be able to see it, it looked like this:

Thinking critically about sustainable energy (TCASE series):

A necessary interlude

TCASE 1: Prologue

TCASE 2: Energy primer

TCASE 3: The energy demand equation to 2050

TCASE 4: Energy system build rates and material inputs

TCASE 5: Ocean power I – Pelamis

TCASE 6: Cooling water and thermal power plants

TCASE 7: Scaling up Andasol 1 to baseload

TCASE 8: Estimating EROEI from LCA

TCASE 9: Ocean power II – CETO

TCASE 10: Not all capacity factors are made equal (Part 1)

TCASE 11: Safety, cost and regulation in nuclear electricity generation

TCASE 12: A checklist for renewable energy plans

Thinking Critically about Sustainable Energy (TCASE) – the seminar series

Energy in Australia in 2030


Why renewable energy won’t replace coal:

Critique of ‘A path to sustainable energy by 2030′

‘Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan’ – Critique (by Martin Nicholson and Peter Lang)

Another ZCA 2020 Critique – will they respond? (by Ted Trainer)

Key concepts for reliable, small-scale low-carbon energy grids (by Gene Preston)

Put all energy cards on the table to fix climate change fully

Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy intensive society (by Ted Trainer)

The Solar Fraud

Climbing mount improbable

The problem with ‘Generating the Future: UK energy systems fit for 2050′

Germany – crunched by the numbers (by Tom Blees)

Danish fairy tales – what can we learn? (by Tom Blees)

Unnatural Gas (by Tom Blees)

Does wind power reduce carbon emissions? (by Peter Lang) and carbon emissions – Peter Lang responds power realities – supply-demand, storage and costs realities and transmission costs – addendum thermal questions Thread: Is the EIA forecast of 2016 energy prices realistic? sets a 33% renewables by 2020 target
Wind and carbon emissions – Peter Lang responds (by Peter Lang)

Does wind power reduce carbon emissions? Counter-Response (by Michael Goggin)

Solar power realities – supply-demand, storage and costs (by Peter Lang)

Solar realities and transmission costs – addendum (by Peter Lang)

Emission cuts realities for electricity generation – costs and CO2 emissions (by Peter Lang)

Alternative to Carbon Pricing (by Peter Lang)

Pumped-hydro energy storage – cost estimates for a feasible system (by Peter Lang)

Replacing Hazelwood coal-fired power station – Critique of Environment Victoria report (by Peter Lang)

Accuracy of ABARE Energy Projections (by Peter Lang)

CO2 avoidance cost with wind energy in Australia and carbon price implications (by Peter Lang)

Solar thermal questions (by Ted Trainer)

Discussion Thread: Is the EIA forecast of 2016 energy prices realistic?

SA sets a 33% renewables by 2020 target

Climate debate missing the point



PL the topics you refer to may be accessed by typing them into the Search box at the top of the right hand sidebar.
I will put the request to Barry.


The interface is deliberately kept very CLEAN, as per the design style of iOS7 etc. As such, I want to keep the sidebar information to a critical minimum. The search box is your friend, as the BNC moderator says. The Sustainable Nuclear and other pages, along with all other blog posts, still exist — you can search for them. You can also still use their hyperlink. They’re just not going to be on the front page any more.

Whether the sidebar is wasted space or just a stylistic choice (which also looks good in mobile devices) is a matter of personal preference. Anyway, I can’t change it without changing the whole theme, which I do not intend to do — as I noted, I like the clean and fresh style of the new template and so it stays (for a few years, at least, or until something better turns up).

I agree the Forum didn’t work out great, but it is still there for folks who wish to create their own topics, obviating the need for Open Threads etc. (or do people want them back??)


Hi Kap55,
the date appears to be on the top of the green right-hand sidebar. That bar seems fairly wide, and does not contain a lot of content. Is it wasted space? Anyway, loving the fact that the blog is back. It’s a fair bit of work to get forums integrated with blog posts, and so while I’m a fan of forums, maybe proboards wasn’t the best integration with wordpress. It was worth a try, but people seem quite happy to have the blog comments back.


The date on the green sidebar is only the date the post was written. I think Kapp55 means the date and time that each individual comment was made.
Once the comments are a week old the time and date that it was made is displayed and replaces the “hour/days ago”.


Hi Barry,
I guess I was just ‘thinking out loud’ about the sidebar. It’s a tidy theme, and I like the clean logo and masthead. It’s vastly better than the old one! :-)
The one great thing about forums is a conversation can be more specifically tailored. I know conversations generally wander around everywhere, but there can come a point where the OP (opening poster) can say “Hey guys, can we get back on topic?” Open Threads are a free for all that can lead to a more cluttered conversation. I’ve seen forum topics that run around a certain tight theme for years. EG: Someone will drop by after 6 months and ask something new about that topic. Forums work that way. Integrating them with a hot blog is another art entirely, and so we can leave it the way it is for now, as that will still work. But who knows what trendy web designers you might get to know down the track, or what trendy new apps will come out? For now this seems fine.


PS: I just noticed how your blog works on widescreen. I was on a much smaller screen at work! I really like the minimalism on the left, and the way the grey links bar works on the right. At work, the grey bar switched to the left (under your main minimalist links) because there wasn’t enough space on the small screen. But that works too. They just look so much trendier on their own! ;-)


I’m having trouble logging into the forum. When I go to the Proboards home page, it knows who I am and says I’m logged in. When I go to the BNC forum, it says I need to log in. So I click on log in, and it redirects me back to the BNC forum showing that I need to log in. Rinse and repeat: no fields come up where I can type in my details to log in.


Website appearance is subjective, but some things about the new site just aren’t nice (sorry!). Have a look at something like “The Daily Kos” on both a desktop and a tablet. Notice the way it handles the space … nicely. The way the new BNC theme resizes is clunky … it looks as good as it can look on a narrow browser window but gets progressively more and more ugly as the browser window gets wider … but on a tablet, it’s much better because that (intrusive) background doesn’t get in the way and the sidebar doesn’t float off into “space” looking rejected and lonely on a wide screen :)

There’s a reason that most professionally designed websites have shifted to white backgrounds … 1) because designers know it doesn’t “get in the way” of the content and 2) it looks much better on wider screens. Content is king and the space background is a distraction both because it’s too busy and because it creates hard edges which attract your eye.


Hi Barry,

Personally, I find the comments a little difficult to read. White on black (or blue) is hard to read, and put me off the ABC’s science forums years ago. Just my 2cents.

Cheers, and keep up the good work! This minimalist design is better than the confusion before, I agree with some of Geoff Russell’s points above. Personally I see your site as having the vibe of a magazine site. I wonder how many readers do most of their reading on phones or tablets?

It’s your blog, but if you wanted you could have a vote over in the forums? Maybe link to something like this article, and call a vote? You could keep your current web2.0 format for a month, and announce a final vote count in one month’s time.

These are all free magazine themes, and should (but I can’t promise) be good on tablets and phones, and be yours with a few image swaps around nuclear power, wind turbines (if critiquing), etc.

Personally, I really like:-

3 Xin

4 MH Magazine lite,

10 Fashionista,

20 Unique

But it’s your blog, and we’ll love your work whatever. (Just please, please make the comments more readable with normal dark text on light background).


Eclipse said: “I find the comments a little difficult to read”, agreed.

May I suggest – for InternetExplorer users – to use the key sequence, Alt-V-Y-N, or the mouse equivalent “View-stYle-Nostyle”. This strips off the colouring and spreads the text full-width. Much easier for my weary eyes! It still shows the author’s name and link to the comment for quoting in reply. I have yet to find out if any facilities are lost.

Er, does anyone know how to do that in the Chrome browser?


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