Serena meltdown a missed opportunity

Much has been written since the women’s final of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships saw world number one Serena Williams beaten by a young rising star Naomi Osaka after receiving a code violation warning, then a point penalty and finally a game penalty, which put Osaka in an excellent place to win the second set 6-4 and the match. Elite opinion, especially overseas, has come down heavily in Williams’ favour, blaming the umpire Carlos Ramos for his handling of the incident, which, it is said, was an example of sexism because he would never have treated a male player so harshly, and probably racism to boot.

I’ll tell you my opinion, on the evidence I’ve seen (I didn’t watch the match) and comment on the commentary. My conclusion is that tennis needs to put its house in order, and has missed a golden opportunity to enforce rules so that tennis fans can expect to see excellent tennis being played, rather than players venting. Continue reading Serena meltdown a missed opportunity

Climate of the Nation 2018

I believe that by the middle of next decade people denying significant human agency in causing climate change will constitute a crank fringe and will basically be ignored.

The Climate of the Nation 2018 report, now produced by The Australia Institute (pdf here), found that more Australians accept the reality of climate change than at almost any time since Climate of the Nation began in 2007.

    Three quarters (76%, up from 71% 2017) of Australians accept that climate change is occurring, 11% do not think that climate change is occurring and 13% are unsure.

    Acceptance of climate change closely follows voting intentions, but interestingly while One Nation (22%) and Nationals (15%) voters are the most likely to say they do not think that climate change is occurring, this declined significantly for both groups since 2017.

    The effects of heat are the driving concern about the impact of climate change, and people were most concerned about more droughts and flooding affecting crop production and food supply (78%), destruction of the Great Barrier Reef (77%) and more bushfires (76%).

Continue reading Climate of the Nation 2018

Climate policy shambles, power prices up

    One energy company executive, who asked not to be named, said the industry was beside itself.

    “One of the most concerning developments in politics is that the quality of an argument no longer matters,” he said.

He went on to say that they all knew we needed to head for zero emissions. They just wanted to know what the rules would be on the way.

That was from the AFR article Labor backs the NEG as political mess sends power prices up. The print edition carried it as a front page headline story:

Political power price hit

Continue reading Climate policy shambles, power prices up

Weekly salon 9/9

1. World pollution kills more people annually than wars, disasters, hunger

    Environmental pollution — from filthy air to contaminated water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

    One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 — about 9 million — could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released on Thursday in The Lancet medical journal.

The worst affected countries are in Asia and Africa, with India topping the list. Continue reading Weekly salon 9/9

Coal power fading fast

Some time in the last few days I heard a person who should know better say that 1800 coal-fired power plants were being built around the world. One wonders where this (dis)information comes from. It went unchallenged by the ABC interviewer, showing once again that ABC journalists and presenters need an update on climate change – in the national interest.

As Adam Morton at The Guardian writes The world is going slow on coal, but misinformation is distorting the facts. Back in June, John “Wacka” Williams asked the Parliamentary Library how many coal plants there were, how many were being built, how many closed etc and could he have the information by 4pm?

The Library included the information that 621 units were being built, the point here being that power plants typically have multiple units. Hazelwood had eight.

Unfortunately, this information was wrong. Continue reading Coal power fading fast

Reconnecting climate change politics with reality

The Liberal party has changed leader, in part because of climate change, and are now proceeding with pretty much the final policy landed upon by Malcolm Turnbull, with a couple of significant twists. We now have a very explicit instruction that energy prices along with keeping the lights on are the main game, while emissions reductions can be safely put off to the never-never.

The Coalition government under Scott Morrison is now almost completely isolated on energy and climate change. Compared to adult countries we look completely foolish, The question remains whether the main actors, the states and the corporates investing in the system, can move forward regardless. Continue reading Reconnecting climate change politics with reality

Weekly salon 2/9

1. Washer’s lament – the end of deliberative democracy

Dr Mal Washer was a Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives from October 1998 to August 2013. While he was there it is said he was doctor to the house, providing medical help and personal counselling to members of parliament.

When Waleed Aly and Scot Stevens spoke to Katharine Murphy about whether the Dutton insurrection was a symptom of how we do politics in Australia, she quoted Washer inter alia. She gave a three-part answer.

First, the major parties once represented stability to the electorate. Not any more. Rather the reverse. What happened is now hard-baked into the system. Continue reading Weekly salon 2/9

Care of strangers

Australian Border Force missed a Vietnamese boat, so now we have Dozens of migrants missing in crocodile-infested Daintree rainforest after boat sinks:

The boat containing irregular migrants that ran aground near the mouth of the Daintree River on Sunday 26 August 2018.

Steve Ciobo, newly minted Minister for Defence Industry, and a Queenslander from the Gold Coast, declared they should be taken to Nauru. Continue reading Care of strangers

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff