Post 10 – Reflection and Proposition

By Vicky Lam

Reflection: original draft design proposition

I presented to my colleague and tutor of my draft design proposition, namely “Reduction in Australian livestock greenhouse gas emissions”, with a view to address to the issue of the need to reduce carbon emissions in the livestock industry, which is the second biggest emitter after the energy sector and its emission level is very close to transport sector in Australia, by the livestock farmers and the red meat/diary product consumers as they are the key stakeholders with respect to the emissions. To achieve this, I proposed to raise a campaign by means of a set of creative posters mainly through data-driven visualization to draw the awareness of the impact of climate change and livestock industry on each other and to appeal to the livestock farmers to adopt carbon farming and to the consumers to consume less red meat and dairy products and create less food waste as far as possible. Here below are some sketches of my design: –





One major feedback received is that posters per se are less engaging to viewers as passers-by and less effective for the target audience of young generation in the age range of 18 to 25. As a campaign, one of the suggestions is to make the message follow the stakeholders – in this case, the consumers including the young generations – such as by combining art and data to generate the eye-catching key messages on the issue with some forms of creative data-driven visualization as part of the information packaging or the infographic packaging for meat and dairy products in order to engage the viewers and try to encourage them to change their diets of consuming less red meat / dairy products (which may also good for health) and to reduce food waste.


Development: revised draft design proposition

After obtaining the feedback, I did further researches on the topic of information packaging / infographic packaging, and find this approach is feasible for putting infographics on the product packaging, and some relevant illustrative examples as sought on the internet are shown below: –


(Source: McMahon, T., Paper shopping bag, published 9 July 2012, Maclean’s, viewed 20 September 2016, < >)


(Source: Warriner G., Infographic milk packaging, Pinterest, viewed 20 September 2016, < >)


Internet ex_3.jpg
(Source: Kamal R., Fast food potato chip packaging, published 5 November 2013, viewed 20 September 2016, VISUALOOP, < >)


Incorporating the art of infographics as part of the packaging design could creatively depict information and data visualization that people do not tend to engage with if presented in a traditional way of plain data or charts. If used properly and effectively, it is pretty good for information or storytelling, and could raise awareness of the issue and engage the consumers and promote a global passion for the need to change in response to the posed problem or issue.

So, I changed my design proposition as follows: –

Project title:
“Save our Earth, Shape our diet, Less red meat”

Practice type:
Data-driven visualization in form of infographics as part of packaging design for meat products

The issue being addressed:
Livestock sector is the second greenhouse gas emitter in Australia after energy sector and its emission level is very close to transport sector, and red meat consumption per capita in Australia still ranks high in the world

Expected possible change to achieve:
Diet change of consuming less red meat (beef, veal and mutton) or more poultry meat / pork in lieu; and treasuring our food and reducing food waste

Design action to support the change:
By means of putting infographics on the front of the plastic packages as the visual system, for a set of four meat product packaging design (for cattle, mutton, pork and chicken meat) with short key words of different relevant messages and data-driven visualization, which may work alone or work in conjunction with similar relevant messages and data visualization printed on reusable shopping bags. Such messages and data visualizations relate to beef consumption, cattle/sheep populations and/or GHG emissions. The design would focus on data and let the data speak for itself as far as possible supplemented with some key words and possibly with some illustrative pictograms instead of using conventional narrative media, whose familiarity and realism is often desensitizing (especially to the young generations), to tell the distressing problem or issue. To achieve the design outcome, minimalistic infographics can be displayed on the product packages in order to fit the package sizes and more complicated data-driven visualization with the sharp appealing message can be printed on reusable shopping bags.

Here below shows some illustrating sketches and mockups of my design ideas: –




mock 3.jpg

mock 4.jpg

bagmock up_bag.jpg




Post 9 – Visual documentation of the brainstorming exercise: Climate Change

By Vicky Lam

In the tutorial of Week 6, We worked as a group of four to practice the skill of how to identify a particular problem within our issue of climate change or global warming such as in the perspective of a particular sector, and then write a specific problem statement within our issue, and to brainstorm the possibilities for a design response to the identified problem or sector.


To achieve this, we attempted to address the following: –

  1. Who does the problem affect?
  2. What are the boundaries of the problem – is it structural (organizational), representational or a lack of awareness? What will happen when it is fixed, and what if not fixed?
  3. When does the problem occur, and when needed to be fixed?
  4. Where is the problem occurring – only in certain locations or certain process?
  5. Why is it important that the problem is fixed? What impact does it have on all stakeholders?


We find sharing of the knowledge and information (obtained from individual primary and secondary researches) amongst group members, lecture and seminar materials (in particular the illustrating examples and projects in data driven visualization, service designs and generative systems) and weekly blogs posted by peers, and mind maps jointly developed in the tutorials could help us to identify a particular problem or sector within our issue of climate change or global warming for creating a design response at a later stage to the identified problem or sector.


Each one in the group identifies a problem or sector through brainstorming. For example, a member in my group will focus on adverse impact of climate change on Great Barrier Reef and hence its impact on tourism, whereas I will focus on how climate change and livestock industry are related to each other and their impacts on key stakeholders (as food producers and food consumers) given the economy of Australia being a developed agricultural country is greatly influenced by the agriculture productivity as Australia is one of the biggest meat/diary product and livestock exporters in the world, and livestock sector is the third biggest GHG emitters in Australia after the energy and transport sectors. The brainstorming exercise in the tutorial not only enhances our skill of problem-identification and hence statement-writing but also widens our design thinking of possibility-generations.


Figure 1 below shows the mind map jointly created in the tutorial.



Figure 2 below shows the mind map of the five “W”s for the problem statement generated by me during the brainstorming exercise.



Figure 3 below shows some of the possibilities for my design response to my identified problem or sector.





Post 8 – Brainstorming possibilities for a design response to climate change

By Vicky Lam

In this Week 6, we brainstorm the possibilities for a design response to the issue of climate change. Climate change is a big and heated topic and the tutor reminded us to focus on one sector or aspect related to this issue when generating the problem statement. Through brainstorming in the tutorial and based on further secondary researches after the tutorial in Week 6, I narrow down the issue and identify a specific problem statement, namely, “Reduction in Australian Livestock Greenhouse gas emissions”. I chose this problem statement because the key stakeholders often overlook this issue, here I mean the general public including young generation (as meat/diary product consumers) and the farmers (as livestock, meat and dairy-product producers (of around 200,000 people employed in Australian livestock/red meat industry including on-farm production, processing and retail).


Australia is one of the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the world, talking around 27 tonnes of CO2 per capita, and the biggest emitter-states are Queensland, NSW and Victoria. In Australia, livestock sector is the third largest source of GHG emissions after the energy and transport sectors (electricity and transport contribute 35% and 14 % respectively), and about 15% of GHG emissions are generated from agriculture; and livestock emissions mostly from cattle and sheep account for about 70% of GHGs by the agricultural sector and 11% of total national GHG emissions (Sudmeyer 2016). Main GHGs emitted by livestock (especially ruminant livestock such as cattle and sheep) are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). CH4 is created by digestion of cellulose in rumens of livestock and released through burping or breathing and N2O is released through nitrogen fertilizers and from urine and dung of livestock. CO2 is emitted from farms through energy consumption (burning of fossil fuels) in pasture management. Average air temperature in Australia has increased by around 0.9oC since 1910, based on CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s data in Australia (Young Carbon Farmers, viewed 9 September 2016). CH4 and N2O are both powerful GHG gases with 23 and 297 times the global warming potential of CO2 (Agriculture Victoria, viewed 9 September 2016). If the emissions are not controlled, we will see more extreme weather events to happen in Australia such as storms, heat waves, bushfires, decline in rainfall in southern Australia and higher regional temperature, which have adverse effect on the regional communities and the agricultural sector as a whole. Australia needs to achieve the 2020 target of reducing GHG emissions to 5% below the 2000 level (such as adoption of carbon farming in livestock producers and change our diet of eating less red meat as food consumers) in order to meet the Kyoto Protocol (2010-2020) of keeping global temperature rise within 2oC.


There is a conflict between the goal of reducing the carbon emissions from livestock industry and the goal of up-keeping the livestock industry in Australia for both domestic consumption and exports. It is important to understand the issue for getting win-win scenarios, that is getting improved pasture quality and livestock efficiency and hence improved productivity and also lower carbon emission intensity per unit of product produced. To address this issue, there are five possibilities/options: –

  1. Create a data-driven visualization to visually capture the data of Australian livestock industry and carbon emissions such as Australia’s overall GHG emissions as compared with other countries, source of Australian emissions including the agriculture sector, the cattle and sheep populations and distributions in various Australian states/territories, ranking of countries in beef consumption per person, trends of Australian’s appetite for major favourite meats (consumption per person), Australian exports of beef/sheep meat, live cattle/sheep and dairy products by destination, etc.
  2. Create a service design which provides an online website platform for the livestock producers to know the climate threats to Australian livestock industry and share the knowledge, technologies, views and experience in carbon farming, for the purpose of reducing carbon emissions and increasing productivity and efficiency and hence profitability in livestock industry.
  3. Create a service design in the form of a smart phone app to assist the meat and dairy product consumers in the communities to know the impacts and how the climate change and livestock industry are related to each other, and encourage them to change their diets of eating less red meat and consuming less dairy products in their daily life for reasons of health as well as reduction of carbon emissions.
  4. Create a service design in the form of a smartphone app to assist the consumers to calculate their meat/dairy products consumed per quarter or per annum.
  5. A combination of any of the above options.


I propose to do option 1 because it provides data visualization for easy apprehension of the issue by stakeholders.



  1. Sudmeyer R., “Carbon farming and livestock emissions”, Department of Agriculture and Food, Government of Western Australia, posted 17 March 2016, viewed 9 September 2016, < >
  2. “The Changing Climate”, Young Carbon Farmers, viewed 9 September 2016, < >
  3. “Methane research: Greenhouse emissions from Australian agriculture”, Agriculture Victoria, viewed 9 September 2016, < >

Post 7 – Collaborative Issue Mapping for Global Warming

By Vicky Lam

“Global Warming is a social issue and controversy”

In the tutorial of this week, we work together as a group to map the key issues and controversies related to global warming. Global warming is one of major future challenges and subject to heated debates over decades and requires rational and decolonial thinking for getting a sustainable future.

As such, global warming is a social issue and controversy. The first step is to identify who are the actors involved in this controversial issue and what are the things connected between them. Bruno Latour in his Actor-Network Theory (Roger et al 2015, pp. 16 & 17) highlights some key concepts, which are relevant to issue mapping:

  1. “Social” is defined not as structure or substance but the movement of actors constantly in the process of (re)assembling, (re)associating and (dis)agreeing.
  2. “Actors” include both human and non-human actors in a given controversy.
  3. To be mapped are the actions and associations that compile different actors together into a state of affairs, i.e. social is the trail of associations or connections.
  4. The emphasis is not on pre-existing group but instead group formation, which may change over time depending on behaviours and actions being performed between actors.
  5. The actor-network so traced helps us to describe the state of affairs composing of actors and things that could enhance other actors do something. Here “things” can refer to events as well as objects, that is, something that is performative (Schulz et al 2015, p.4).

As the first step, we apply Latour’s concepts in the mapping of global warming, and trace who are the interacting actors (humans and non-humans) and their associated group formations as well as the living and environmental things concerned with them (see Image 1 below).

Image 1: Issue Mapping composed of human actors and non-human actors and associated living and environmental things connected with them.


We also find Tommaso Venturini’s concepts on“controversy mapping” (Rogers et al 2015, p.18) very helpful in identifying the key controversies or polemics associated with global warming that form the complexity of disagreements in which actors claim and debate. When we draw controversy mapping, Venturini’s concepts remind us to avoid showing cold controversies (where only little movement occurs), boundless controversies (where demarcation difficult to achieve), and underground controversies (where accounts not public or suppressed). Image 2 below, as generated by our group in the tutorial, shows the key polemics of global warming, which are related to the controversial debates whether the impacts of global warming or climate change as highlighted are really induced by human activities or whether they are just natural fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature. We also enlist some key emotions that may associate with the actors in each polemic in Image 2.

Image 2: Polemics and emotions associated with global warming


“A mapping of risk: a world risk which cannot be calculated, predicted or compensated”

The next step is dedicated to a mapping of risk. Ulrich Beck’s theory help us to differentiate two types of risks – a “calculable and contained risk” and its consequences could be predicted, prevented or compensated and a “world risk”, which is a worldwide global threat and cannot be calculated, predicted or compensated (Rogers et al 2015, pp.20 & 21). Climate change and global warming are examples of world risk. World risks populate the space of collective emotions that need to be discussed or debated, which in turn provide a drive for transformation with fresh possibilities for action or response. Another approach we learnt is the “risk cartography” introduced by Gerald Beck and Cordula Kropp (Rogers et al 2015, pp.22-24), which seeks to trace the associations and norms (such as routines, political path dependencies) that are often overlooked. As suggested by Beck and Kropp, there are a series of questions to be considered and mapped in risk cartography (Rogers et al 2015, p.23):

  1. Who is involved?
  2. What are the matters of concern?
  3. What are the knowledge claims and what are we afraid of?
  4. What can be done?

Based on the concepts of world risk and the approach to risk cartography, we map the protagonists associated with the polemics, and show what is at stake, how are their emotions, and what things can be done (see Image 3 below as generated by our group in the tutorial).

Image 3: A map of polemics with a network of their associated protagonists and emotions


“Maps as ways of making spatial knowledge rather than ways of mirroring a territory”

Because of limited time in the tutorial and if time allows, I think further elaborations can be made in the collaborative issue mapping with regard to what is at stack, who are the winners and losers for each controversy, and what things can be done for each protagonist. As Jeremy Crampton defines maps as ways of making spatial knowledge rather than ways of mirroring a territory (Rogers et al 2015, p. 25), Lisa Park’s insights of using “layering” in critical cartographical mapping is particularly relevant and could be practiced by the group and use this technique to visually capture the key information by layers in order to engage the viewers, to enable opening of conversations and to promote global attention and reporting that may lead to redirective practice (Schultz et al 2015, p.5) or change in global policy in response to the threats of global warming (Rogers et al 2015, pp.27 & 28).

As a whole, this group exercise of issue mapping as a design thinking approach enable us not only to learn from one another the background information researched by each one on the heated global topics of climate change and global warming, and from the insights of the authors and scholars regarding issue mapping captured in the assigned readings but also to brainstorm, practise and draw together the patterns of information and trace the relational impacts of actors and things by hand and pen through open discussion and view sharing. This is the greatest thing I could learn from this joint-participating and democratizing process.



  1. Rogers R., Sanchez-Querubin N. & Kil, A., 2015, “Mapping theory: Social cartography, risk cartography, and critical neo-cartography” in Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe, Amsterdam University Press, OAPEN, pp. 14-29
  2. Schultz T. & Barnett B., 2015, Cognitive Redirective Mapping: Designing Futures that Challenge Anthropocentrism, Paper delivered at Nordes 2015




Post 6 – Australian Attitudes to Climate Change (Secondary Research)

By Vicky Lam

This survey, funded by CSIRO, was conducted by Leviston, Greenhill and Walker on 17,493 Australians annually from 2010 to 2014, which formed part of the research programme regarding Australian attitudes to climate change and their associated activities to mitigate or adapt to the impacts of climate change.


Five major areas of findings are: –

  1. Attitude to climate change

Majority of people (78%) believe climate change is happening, and 46% opine climate change is human-induced while 39% believe it is just a natural fluctuation in Earth’s temperature. People think big-polluting countries, multi-national corporations and wealthy countries are big carbon emitters and hence most responsible, while government to certain extent responsible, and normal individuals are the least responsible. Those who believe climate change is human-induced tend to base their opinion on scientific research while those who think climate change is not happening or caused by natural fluctuations tend to base their opinion on personal experience, weather reports or historical events.

Green: Happening & human-induced      Blue: Don’t know
Grey: Happening but natural                       Red: Not happening
Figure 1: What best describe your thoughts about climate change? (Leviston 2015, p.4)


Figure 2: Rating of Responsibility for responding to climate change (Leviston 2015, p.15)


2. Climate-relevant behaviours

People exhibit a wide range of climate-relevant behaviours (such as reducing household energy consumption and turning off lightings whenever possible) for a variety of reasons (not necessarily confined to reducing climate change but for wider environmental and social health), and their levels of behavioural engagement are strongly influenced by social norms.

Figure 3: Percentage of respondents engaged in climate-relevant behaviours (Leviston 2015, p.18)


3. Climate expectations of the public

Most people (66%) expect temperature to rise in their region over the next 20 years, and 25% expect rainfall would not change much in the next 20 years. Many people believe extreme weather events (especially heatwaves, droughts, water scarcity) will increase in intensity and frequency in future. Most people opine poor countries being the least carbon emitters (rather than developed countries being the bigger carbon emitters) are most harmed by climate change. Many people suffer injury, loss or damage due to extreme high temperature (61%), heatwaves (61%), heavy rainfall (59%), drought/water scarcity (57%) and storms (51%).

Figure 4: Injury, loss or damage experienced (Leviston 2015, p.36)


4. Adaptation to climate change

Many people support a wide variety of mitigation/adaptation initiatives to reduce carbon emissions – investment in renewable energy, protection from invasive species/pests, increased investment in public transportation, and restrictions on developing vulnerable areas are most supported whereas investment in nuclear power stations and increased aid to overseas climate-impacted countries are least supported.

Figure 5: Levels of support for mitigation/adaptation initiatives (Leviston 2015, p.41)


5. Trust and emotions

Scientists are most trusted in providing true information about climate change whereas oil companies and car companies are least trusted. Most emotions about climate change are negative – mostly anger, fear and powerlessness in response to climate change.

Figure 6: Trust in different sources to tell truth about climate change (Leviston 2015, p.49)


Figure 7: How does climate change make you feel? (Leviston 2015, p.54)



Leviston, Z., Greenhill, M., & Walker, I., 2015, Australians attitude to climate change and adaptation: 2010-2014, CSIRO, Australia, viewed 21 August 2016, < >





Post 5 – Attitudes to Climate Change (Primary Research)

By Vicky Lam

I carried out surveys on young generations in the age group of 18 to 25 firstly about their general opinions on climate change/global warming by asking questions (see Figure 1 below) in two face-to-face semi-structured interviews on 16 August 2016 and then about their general attitudes to climate change/global warming by asking pre-set survey questions (see Figure 2 below) on 23 August 2016, and 7 out of 10 of them returned their feedback. Leviston, Greenhill and Walker had conducted similar surveys (funded by CSIRO) on Australians about their attitudes to climate change from 2010 to 2014 (hereinafter referred as “the CSIRO Survey”) over a population of 17,000 and major findings can be found in Post 6 (secondary research).


Major findings based on my primary research as mentioned above are:

Scope of understanding climate change

All interviewees recognize the terms of “climate change” and “global warming” and could quote some relevant examples of their causes (mainly related to human activities) and their impacts on our Earth such as temperature rise, ice cap melting, reduction of biodiversity. To young generations, they learnt these mainly from mass media such as newspapers and TV programme. Two interesting things to note: one interviewee does not see the need to attenuate carbon gas emissions, and he does not trust scientists as their language is full of technical terms and hard to understand and their theories might be conspiratorial and skeptical; another interviewee opine Asian developing countries like China rather than Western wealthy developed countries such as USA, are more responsible for the climate change because heavy industries are mainly located in Asian countries. He tells part of a story, and this is one of the reasons to illustrate climate change and global warming are subject to hot debates over decades, and there is no consensus amongst scientists, politicians, developed and developing countries.


Attitude to climate change

All respondents opine climate change is happening, and most of them (85%) believe it is largely induced by human activities, and personally rate this issue relevant and important or extremely important to them. Their opinions are mainly based on news/media and scientific research. This reflects young generations care about this issue and their opinions are influenced by mass media. All respondents rank big-polluting countries and multi-national corporations most responsible for causing climate change but surprisingly give a low ranking for wealthy countries and government, which do not tally with the recent findings in the CSIRO Survey. It seems to me they do not know USA is currently the biggest carbon emitter and Australia is the biggest carbon emitter per person due to its comparatively small population.


Climate-relevant behaviours

Albeit young generations, some respondents indicate they had participated in environmental event or conservation activities, donated money to organizations aimed at protecting environment and/or voted in government election based on an environmental issue in the past five years. Most respondents support and engage in a wide range of climate-relevant behaviours to reduce the climate change such as buy environmental-friendly products, use recycled bags in lieu of ask for new plastic bags when shopping, reduce amount of water/electricity/gas consumption in household whenever possible, walk or take public transport as far as possible. Very few recognize eating more vegetables rather than meat can reduce carbon emissions. Similar findings were obtained in CSIRO Survey.


Climate expectations

All respondents expect temperature would rise over the next 20 years while only 70% expect extreme weather events would increase in intensity and frequency over the next 20 years. They perceive such expectations through their experiences including storms, heavy rainfall, extreme high temperature, sea-level rise and ecosystem destruction. Only 57% of respondents opine poor countries are most harmed by climate change which match CSIRO’s findings, and surprisingly 15% of young respondents think wealthy developed countries are most harmed.


Adaptation to climate change

Most respondents as young generations support a wide range of adaptation/mitigation initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. All support increased investment in renewable energy, most (70%) support increased investment in public transport, and increased investment in biodiversity and environmental conservations in Australia. None support investment in nuclear power stations in Australia. These findings are more or less in line with those in CSIRO’s Survey. All respondents support environment is more fragile than economy, and 70% think a political party’s policy on environmental issues is an important factor they will consider when voting for that political party in federal election.


Trust and emotions

Scientists and environmental organizations are most trusted in providing true information about climate change whereas oil companies and car companies are least trusted. Similar findings are obtained in CSIRO Survey. Most respondents feel guilty, fearful and powerless in their emotions and this account for their general support (in the age group of young generation) for a wide range of adaptation/mitigation initiatives and exhibiting a wide range of climate-relevant behaviours.


As a whole, my primary research through semi-structured interviews and pre-set survey questions helps me to further understand the attitudes and behaviours of young generations to climate change, which can supplement to the secondary research based on the CSIRO Survey. If time allows, a larger sample of young generations can be selected to perform the interviews or ask survey questions.


Figure 1: Semi-structured interview questions on climate change/global warming
interview q.jpg

Figure 2: Survey questions on climate change/global warming





Post 3 – Global Warming Mind Map: Social Value Perspective

By Vicky Lam


This mind map of global warming covers the human (stakeholders) and non-human (environment) aspects.



I include these images mainly on scientific and statistical data since they can help us to visually grasp the trends, disparity, and hence impacts of global warming and climate change on our environment and economy.

Image 1: Global abatement cost curve beyond business-as-usual – 2030 (Dauncey G., 2009, The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming, New Society Publishers, Leicester, p.71)

This image compares relative abatement costs of different mitigation measures, which is useful to understand the financial impact when considering various mitigation options for reducing carbon emissions.


Image 2: Global Temperatures from 1860 to 2000 (“Global Warming and Climate Change”, The Cheaper Petrol Party, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image compiled by Climate Research Unit of University of East Anglia and Hadley Centre of UK Meteorological Office records global temperature change from 1900 to 2000 as around 0.57 degree Celsius.


Image 3: Global Fossil Carbon Emissions (“Global Warming and Climate Change”, The Cheaper Petrol Party, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows the sharply rising trends of global fossil carbon emissions after 1950 due to fossil fuel burning. Cement production releases carbon dioxide resulting from thermal decomposition of limestone to lime.


Image 4: Recent Sea Level Rise (“How rising sea levels will affect US: Miami and New Orleans underwater by 2100”, Zime Science, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

The data in this image indicate a sea level rise of around 18.5cm from 1900 to 2000.


Image 5: Annual Carbon Emissions by Region (Finn M., “Israel Cuts Carbon Emissions to Boost Economic Success”, posted 11 April 2016, Science World Report, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows the comparative rise in annual carbon emissions by regions, data source from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre. China acknowledged in 2010 it was the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, surpassing USA who is the top emitter of the world in 20th century. Carbon emissions is proportional to a region’s wealth and hence its energy consumption.


Image 6: Global Warming Predictions (“Global Warming Predictions Map”, 2016, Wikimedia Commons, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows predicted distribution of temperature change from Hadley Centre HadCM3 climate model, and plotted colors depict average change is 3oC, with predicted change of 1.4 to 5.8oC from 1990 to 2100. Continents warm more rapidly than oceans (due to lower heat capacity of landat ) in the model. The lowest predicted warming is 0.55oC south of South America and the highest is 9.2oC in Arctic Ocean, indicating largest carbon emitters located in northern hemisphere.


Image 7: Fossil Fuel Usage per Person (“Fossil Fuel Usage per Person (Global Warming)”, what-when-how, viewed 7 August 2016, <>)

This image shows the comparison of fossil fuel consumption per capita for the top 20 largest populated countries. Large range indicates disparity between the rich, industrialized and poor/developing countries. Australia’s fossil fuel usage per capita can be very high but not on the list due to its small population.


Image 8: Economic Efficiency of Fossil Fuel Usage (“Economic Efficiency of Fossil Fuel Usage”, Exploring the Environment, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows how efficiently the 20 largest economies convert fossil fuel usage into wealth (tied to availability of fossil fuel energy sources) in terms of the ratio of gross domestic product generated to number of kg fossil fuel carbon released. France and Brazil ranked top two because they heavily rely on alternative energy source, hydroelectric and nuclear power while other countries rely on coal as energy source.


Image 9: Global Trends in Greenhouse Gases (Verheggen, B., 2012, “Global Trends in Greenhouse Gases”, Encyclopedia of Global Warming & Climate Change, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, Vol. 3, p.1549)

These images illustrate the trends in major greenhouse gas concentrations from 1970 to 2010. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide show continuous rise that they account for 99% of global warming potential in the past 50 years. CFC-11 & 12 show gradually drop after Montreal Protocol that limited their release to protect ozone layer.


Image 10: Australians’ Thoughts about Climate Change 2010 – 2014 (“54% of Australians skeptics of man-made global warming, 80% don’t donate to environment or vote for it”, JoNova, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows the survey carried out by CSIRO – Australian Attitudes to Climate Change 2010 – 2014 regarding the thoughts of the Australians about the causes of climate changes. 46% respondents indicated that climate change is largely caused by humans while a substantial percentage believed that it is just a natural fluctuation. Surprisingly, this indicates most Australians (54%) disagree with IPCC experts and do not believe climate change is dominant by human activities. Full survey report of CSIRO can be seen at:




Post 4 – Global Panic: Art Show “Exit” brings Climate Change to Shocking Life

By Vicky Lam

Exit is a 45-minute innovative video installation with visitors sitting in the middle, staged at Palais de Tokyo, Paris from Nov 2015 to Jan 2016 to tie in the COP 21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in 2015 for world leaders.

1   2
The Exit Installation (Ellis-Petersen 2015)

This installation was created by New York-based design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro since 2008 in collaboration with a core team of climate change scientists, generated from more than 100 different sources of scientific and ecological data to create this dynamic installation to merge science and art to bring to life of current status of the Earth through a number of animated and thematic maps, visuals (of dots, lines, curves, shapes, graphs, etc. to show densities, trends, moves and patterns) generated by geo-coded data with minimal texts coupled with audio sounds to highlight the human ecological cost of climate change and global warming, which is often neglected.


The design idea was inspired by a question posed by cultural theorist Paul Virilio: What is left of this world, of our native land, of the history of what so far is the only habitable planet? The installation presented a 360-dgree projection of six animated maps, namely, population shift and city growth, political refugees and forced migration, natural catastrophes, rising sea levels, deforestation and extinction of languages. The installation focuses on data and let the data to speak for itself in lieu of using conventional narrative media to tell distressing stories.


The show’s curator Herve Chandes said that “we humans find it difficult to relate to data, no matter how shocking the numbers, and so Exit offered a new aesthetic for how we can relate to the destruction of our own planet”. Design studio’s director Elizabeth Diller said “narrative media, whose familiarity and realism is often desensitizing. So we challenged ourselves to use only data – the driest and most abstract information – to create a strong, palpable effect”. You can have a look and feel of part of the video installation at this website:

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5.jpg   6.jpg
Visitors encompassed by cylindrical screen measuring 9 m in diameter with a projected image of 24 m, 6 channels of Dataton WATCHOUT running on Panasonic projectors supply the seamless video imagery, a 6800 pixel wide HAPQ video (Dataton 2015)


  1. Ellis-Petersen, H., 2015, “Global panic: art show Exit brings climate change to shocking life”, theguardian, viewed 14 Aug 2016,
  2. “Exit Installation”, Palais de Tokyo, viewed 14 Aug 2016,
  3. “Immersive Installation Explores Migration”, posted 8 December 2015, Dataton, viewed 14 August 2016,



Post 2 – Two Scholarly Articles

By Vicky Lam

Article Title: Global Warming Debate
Author: Bart Verheggen, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands

Bart Verheggen (Bart Verheggen’s weblog 2016)

Verheggen is an atmospheric scientist working in Netherlands. He wrote many articles about climate change and global warming before such as “Scientists’ views about attribution of global warming”. In this article which is analytical and opinion-based, he highlights global warming has been subject to hot debates for decades because inherent uncertainties and perception of risks around this issue are influenced by one’s ethical, ideological and political beliefs, and cultural values.


Do greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need reducing? According to mainstream scientists, the Earth is warming due to human-induced emissions of GHG which is supported by theory and observations, whereas opponents argue that emission-abatement schemes would ruin the economy because the full consequence of climate change could not be captured until many decades later, and so they have no incentive to do positive actions to mitigate carbon emissions right now. Proponents for stringent emissions reductions claim that transformation of global energy system is easy and can boost the economy while advocates for continuing emissions argue that unlimited global warming will have positive economic effects.


In author’s view, recent climate debates are characterized by polarization and politicization. Policymakers and general public rely on scientists to explain the phenomena. Opponents do not agree scientific consensus because there exist errors or uncertainties in scientific prediction or global climate models while proponents argue that changes in climate will be more extreme than scientists can predict.


The debates in scientific context mainly focus on concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2).   Few people deny basic characteristics of GHGs, which absorb infrared radiations emitted by the Earth and cause greenhouse effect, and make the Earth warmer. Opponents argue that greenhouse effect conflicts with the second law of thermodynamics, and absorption of CO2 by the Earth’s atmosphere would become saturated, and radiation is able to escape to the outer space.


Other debates are on carbon cycle; proponents believe that climate effects of CO2 can last for many decades or centuries whereas opponents argue that it takes five years for a CO2 molecule to be removed from the atmosphere, and very low CO2 concentration is insignificant to cause climate change.


I support the author’s views of the need to abate the GHG emissions, as in his article, he gives scientific justifications and quotes relevant incidents happened in the past of the adverse greenhouse effect on biodiversity, food supply, health and sea level.


Article Title: Economics, Cost of Affecting Climate Change
Author: Emily McGlynn, U.S. Department of State

Emily McGlynn (Ecologic Institute 2016)

Emily McGlynn is an expert on climate change and global warming. Her research focused on domestic and international climate change policy, arctic policy, emissions trading and renewable energy. In this article, which is mainly analytical and research-based, McGlynn outlines various options for reducing greenhouse gases and compares the cost of implementing different mitigation measures to reduce carbon emissions, and the costs indicated in her article is in terms of US dollars.


In order to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions that have impacts on climate change and global warming, the author suggests that the world should take proactive measures to develop less energy and emissions intensive systems of production and consumption, which may require significant investment in new economic sectors, infrastructure and education.


The marginal costs for each mitigation measure can range from negative (such as for adopting some energy efficient standards) to high (such as for developing renewable energy technologies, and carbon capture and store scheme). Some of her findings are summarized below: –


  1. Fuel switching is to move from one type of fuel to another (such as from coal to natural gas), and the abatement cost of fuel switching is fairly high, ranging from $175 to $190 per ton of CO2e (or tCO2e), due to the need to change existing infrastructure. CO2 equivalency (CO2e) of a GHG refers to the amount of CO2 needed to effect the same overall global warming potential (amount of heat trapped) over a given time period (100 years).
  2. Using renewable energy of lower carbon emissions in lieu of generating electricity from conventional fossil fuels, such as from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, waves and tides, the abatement cost is comparatively cheaper, talking about $25 to $150/tCO2e.
  3. The abatement cost of using nuclear power is very low in the range of $10 to $20/tCO2 Nuclear power generation only produces very few CO2 emissions but its adoption is debatable because of safety issue and initial costs.
  4. Using more efficient fuels, improving combustion processes and energy technologies, constructing greener buildings, and increasing vehicle efficiencies (such as hybrid vehicles) or add retrofits to existing infrastructure can reduce energy consumption, and the abatement cost can be (-)$50/tCO2e, which is gain instead of loss.
  5. Reducing deforestation and, hence impacts of land use change on soil capacity to retain carbon, can reduce greenhouse gases. Abatement cost through forest management and afforestation ranges from $30 to $100/tCO2e.
  6. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology can effectively remove CO2 from the power plant, oil refineries and heavy industrial sources. The abatement cost is high, in the order of $150/tCO2e.


The abatement costs can be visually represented by a marginal abatement cost curve, which displays abatement costs per unit of CO2e avoided.

Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (McGlynn 2012)

As highlighted by McGlynn, other mitigation measures include geo-engineering (control of solar irradiance by injecting particles into atmosphere), and carbon cycle management (harnessing and confiscation of ambient atmospheric CO2), these technologies being developed and immature, their abatement costs still remain uncertain; also, there are controversial issues related to the cost calculations such as the discounting rate used to calculate the net present values in cost benefit analysis, assumptions on estimates of climate-related damages are uncertain, and co-benefits of other activities (health benefits, economical growth and job creation) if not duly accounted for in the calculation. Another controversial issues are who to pay the mitigation costs – the carbon emitters, consumers or general taxpayers, and how to exert leverage on private funding and public funding.


Having said that, in my view, this article is trustworthy, and it is good to know the comparative mitigation costs of various options available in order to consider which one is more cost effective for implementation by a sovereign state.



  1. Verheggen, B., 2012, ‘Global Warming Debate’ in Encyclopedia of Global Warming & Climate Change, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, Vol. 2, pp. 654-660
  2. McGlynn, E., 2012, ‘Economics, Cost of Affecting Climate Change’ in Encyclopedia of Global Warming & Climate Change, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, Vol. 1, pp. 476-480
  3. Verheggen, B., 2016, “Bart Verheggen’s weblog on climate change issues”, viewed 6 August 2016,
  4. “Emily McGlynn” in Ecologic Institute, viewed 7 August 2016,

Post 1- Five Articles

By Vicky Lam

The issue selected by me for this subject is “Climate change, global warming, biodiversity and coral reefs”. I choose this issue in particular global warming because this is a global issue and a scientific challenge that has adverse impacts on everyone like you and me on Earth if this issue is not recognized or addressed. So, in this subject, I want to explore on this issue through primary and secondary researches on its nature, cause, impact and how to tackle it and develop a design proposition to visual communicate to the audience the importance of addressing to this issue.


Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over a long period of time, say ten years. The cause can be natural (such as Earth’s orbit variations, volcanic eruptions) or caused by human activities (such as global warming mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions or cutting down carbon-absorbing forests) (The Wikipedia 2016).


Global warming refers to rise in the Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century, mostly caused by human activities related to greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane. The rise was about 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius in the past century and the rate of increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years (Earth Observatory 2016). Most of carbon dioxide comes from burning of fossil fuels.


Impacts of global warming include increased in sea temperature, rise in sea levels, expansion of deserts in sub-tropics, melting of glaciers and sea ice, more frequent extreme weather conditions such as droughts, heavy rainfall with floods, heavy snowfall, ocean acidification, species extinctions (reduced biodiversity), decreasing crop yields (The Wikipedia 2016).

First Article–Carbon emissions: Queensland still biggest emitter but level has been dropped 4.6%

In the first article, which is a recent news from the newspaper Sydney Morning Herald (Moore 2016), when compared Australian state by state and based on the figures updated by the federal government in the year 2014, Queensland is still the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (146.7 million tonnes), whereas New South Wales and Victoria are the second and the third biggest emitters (130.2 million tonnes and 118.0 million tonnes respectively).


Dr. Steven Miles, the Environmental Minister warned that climate change is real as we see increasing sea temperatures are affecting the Great Barrier Reef causing coral bleaching, and the extinction of the first mammal (Bramble Cay melomys) due to human-induced climate change, right here in Queensland, and indicated that the government will increase the state budget over next 4 years to develop strategies to tackle climate change.


This article is factual and, in my opinion, is trustworthy as it contains updated figures of Australia’s 2014 carbon emissions excerpt from the national register of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the federal government, and the impact of global warming on coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef and the extinction of Bramble Cay melomys are some that we all knew or experienced already.

Bramble Cay melomys (Acosta 2016)


Second Article–Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching at 95 per cent in northern section, aerial survey reveals

We can see the impact of global warming on ocean organisms in the second article (McCutcheon 2016), according to another news from ABC News, an aerial survey showed that 95% of the reefs in the Great Barrier Reef were severely bleached. Of the 520 reefs surveyed, only four showed no sign of bleaching. The recovery period for affected corals can take as long as 10 years, and about half of them would die in near future if situation not improved, as highlighted by Professor Terry Hughes, a coral reef expert at James Cook University.


Coral bleaching is caused by increased sea temperatures that kill the tiny marine alga zooxanthellae, which are essential to coral growth and health. Dr. Neal Cantin from the Australian Institute of Marine Science pointed out that this is the third serious global coral bleaching since 1998, and scientists have not found these disasters before the late 20th century.


Hughes was angry with the government of not listening to them although they produced evidence for the past 20 years. He expressed that we need to join the global community in abating greenhouse gas emissions, which induce global warming and hence increased sea temperature.


I agree to Hugh’s suggestion because we need to know the adverse impact of carbon emissions on our planet and see the importance of preserving the Great Barrier Reef, which is an important world heritage natural site.

Coral bleaching at northern Great Barrier Reef (McCutcheon 2016)


Third Article–Queensland’s soaring pollution rate threatens national emissions target

The third article (Robertson 2016), from theguardian, explained why Queensland is the biggest carbon emitter in Australia as an Australian government report shows that Queensland is Australia’s single biggest polluter and is on track for a very significant 35% rise in carbon emissions by the year 2030 if the government takes no positive action to reduce carbon emissions. In this article, the author pointed out Queensland’s high carbon emissions are attributable to its coal mining and industry, and heavy reliance on coal for electricity, and increasing use of fuel for transport, gas processing for export, and a recent surge in deforestation.


Deforestation accounts for 90% of Australia’s emissions, after the former government relaxed the clearing laws. Its land clearing has doubled to 300,000 hectares per annum in 2013- 14, and the same situation is expected for 23014-15, and this is equivalent to half the annual rate of land clearing in Amazon of Brazil. Queensland parliament has to fix the tree clearing laws, as suggested by Tim Seeing (Wilderness Society Queensland’s campaign manager).


At the same time, power stations also reverted back to higher-emitting coal because export gas to other Asian countries was found more profitable than burning it for electricity. Queensland’s environment minister Steven Miles pinpointed that the state government has to limit tree clearing so as to control carbon pollution, and the federal government also need to do more and make appropriate policies and mitigation measures to achieve the targets they set, such as to address the carbon emissions by a cap-and-trade mechanism that sets a price on emissions (carbon tax) and let the economy to accommodate that price. In my view, this article is factual and opinion-based supported by government data and expert’s opinions and thus trustworthy.

Land-clearing surge in Queensland (Robertson 2016)


Fourth Article–Troubling shift in global response to climate change

This article is an editorial (The Sunday Paper 2016), highlighting the global warming in the context of political, environmental and economical issues, which are often in debates based on my research as there does not exist a single regulator with the jurisdiction for the global atmosphere or the global climate, and implementing regulatory policies relies on individual sovereign states, and in each sovereign state, the specific form of the regulatory policy depends on the state’s legal system and rules which are affected by change in social and political perceptions over time.


As highlighted in this editorial, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in his recent trip to Canada, supported Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that “We should do what we reasonably can to limit (greenhouse gas) emissions and avoid man-made climate change but we should not clobber the economy and that is why I’ve always been against a carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme, because it harms our economy without necessarily helping the environment”. According to Abbott, there is no sign of emissions trading schemes to offset the carbon emissions being increasingly used amongst the countries.


Haper is of the view that “It’s not that we don’t seek to deal with climate change. We seek to deal with it in a way to protect and enhance our ability to create jobs and growth – not destroy jobs and growth in our countries”.


In the view of the editorial, climate change and global warming are global issues; however, the coalition formed by Harper and Abbott on climate policy is a troubling shift in the global response to climate change – inaction being a “by-product of previous summits but never a stated intention”, and in the eyes of Haper and Abbott, economy is more fragile and hence more important to care about than the physical environment.


Fifth Article–Australia

The author of this article (McManus 2012) Professor Phil McManus is an expert in urban and environmental geography, and his studies mainly relate to sustainable cities and environmental issues. In this article which is mainly factual, he outlined the geographic and population distribution of Australia state-wise, two biggest cities being Sydney and Melbourne while Queensland and Western Australia being in rapid population growth and hence their impacts on global warming.


He pointed out that Australia was the 15th top emitter in the world in 2003, and the rate of greenhouse gas emissions per person had once been the highest in the world because only 0.3 percent of world’s population lives in Australia.


He also highlighted different governments take different views and hence policies on GHG emissions, and for-or-against climate change had become a major election issue in 2007 federal election between Liberal Party led by John Howard who opposed and Labor Party led by Kevin Rudd who favoured carbon reduction schemes to meet the Kyoto Protocol set up in Japan in 1992.


The author also warned, based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report published in 1997, Australia is very prone to drought, fire occurrence, storm, flooding, insect outbreaks, species extinction and coastal settlement due to sea level rise in future. Apart from coral bleaching in the Reef, I have no particular comment on the author’s position as such predictions need long time period to verify their truth.

Phil McManus (Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney)


Having analyzing the articles, I found there are three positions that are worth investigation: –

  1. What issues related to the global warming are subject to hot debates, and why?
  2. What are the impacts of global warming on economy and what are the costs of implementing mitigation measures for reducing carbon emissions?
  3. Are there any barriers of using renewable energy in lieu of generating electricity from conventional fossil fuels?

I chose the above positions because they are subject to hot debates, and different stakeholders may hold different views.



  1. ”Global Warming” in The Wikipedia, 2016, viewed 27 July 2016,
  2. Moore, T., 31 July 2016, “Carbon emissions: Queensland still biggest emitter but level has been dropped 4.6%”, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 31 July 2016,
  3. “Global Warming”, Earth Observatory, viewed 28 July 2016,
  4. McCutcheon, P., 28 March 2016, “Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching at 95 per cent in northern section, aerial survey reveals”, viewed 31 July 2016, ABC News,
  5. Robertson, J., 4 July 2016, “Queensland’s soaring pollution rate threatens national emissions target”, theguardian, viewed 1 August 2016,
  6. Troubling shift in global response to climate change”, 14 June 2016, Editorial, The Sunday Paper, viewed 29 July 2016,
  7. McManus, P., 2012, ‘Australia’ in Encyclopedia of Global Warming & Climate Change, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, Vol. 1, pp. 101-104
  8. Acosta, D., 1 August 2016, “Queensland Biggest Emitter of CO2 in Australia”, Aussie Network News, viewed 2nd August 2016,
  9. Sydney Environment Institute, The University of Sydney, viewed 1 August 2016,