Canberra bubble explodes

Samantha Maiden’s story about Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape on the couch in Minister Linda Reynolds’ office shortly before the 2019 election has undoubtedly been the story of the week.

Higgins was just 24 years old, was less than a month into her new job, and it was just weeks before PM Scott Morrison called the 2019 election. Continue reading Canberra bubble explodes

Texas is freezing, but the Arctic is hot

Well, hotter than normal.

That is the temperature for Wednesday 17 February, referenced to a 1979-2000 base, from John Englander’s blog.

Some parts of the planet’s surface are 15 – 20 degrees Celsius colder than we would expect, and other parts are 15 – 20 degrees Celsius warmer.

However, with climate change one of the big effects is destabilisation of the weather. Continue reading Texas is freezing, but the Arctic is hot

Weekly salon 16/2

1. Trump acquitted??!!

Trump is back in town having been exonerated from impeachment by the Senate.

The ABC has a detailed account of what went down and why. It seems the Republican Party is cowed by Trump with only a few willing to show dissent. The article ends with this:

    Finally, Mr Trump claimed exoneration from a “witch-hunt”, maintaining his reputation as the Teflon president.

    “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued just moments after the Senate vote.

    “In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.” Continue reading Weekly salon 16/2

Climate tipping points: real and present

The planet has changed. This is Iceland’s Skaftafellsjokull glacier in 1989 and 2020:

As reported in Al Jazeera, Christiana Figueres, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, was stunned speechless when:

    She was told by leading climate scientist Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, that we have already gone beyond some key tipping points. Losing the resilience of the planet was the nightmare that is keeping scientists awake at night, Rockström said.

He was referring to (1) the Arctic summer sea ice (2) West Antarctic glaciers, and (3) tropical coral reef systems. Continue reading Climate tipping points: real and present

From besties to whipping boy: our China relationship

I’ve had a draft post on our China relationship in the works since 17 December 2020, with over 800 words and lots of links. I decided I had started in the wrong place.

Here I’ll highlight two links. First, Tom Switzer on his ABC RN show Between the Lines interviewed Peter Hartcher, political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and Kishore Mahbubani, distinguished fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute in Can Australia and China learn to get along? Continue reading From besties to whipping boy: our China relationship

Holocene heat corrected

To set this up, the following is a graph of the temperature during the Holocene Era comes from a 2017 James Hansen publication, with explanatory enhancements by David Spratt:

It was thought that both the Holocene and the Eemian, 130 to 118,000 years ago, experienced an early thermal maximum reflected in the big hump in the graph.

Research done by Samantha Bova et al Seasonal origin of the thermal maxima at the Holocene and the last interglacial gives quite a different picture, one of steady warming. This has important implications for where we are at with global warming. Continue reading Holocene heat corrected

Pivotal moments in climate change: Part 1-Climate Targets Panel report

In recent times the biggest pivot in climate change action has undoubtedly been the election of Joe Biden and President of the United States, whose vision and plans have been described as ‘breathtaking’. More of that later.

However, here in Oz a number of things changed within a 24 hour period.

  • There was a seeming capitulation by Labor to the demands of Joel Fitzgibbon to get rid of Mark Butler in the climate change portfolio,
  • An ad hoc group including John Hewson and Will Steffen, the Climate Targets Panel, released a report that took a look at what Australia’s fair contribution to the Paris Agreement should be,
  • The National Party issued a report arguing the necessity of building coal-fired power stations, inter alia,
  • and Dr Andrew Forrest AO delivered the first Boyer Lecture 2020 on Rebooting Australia — How ethical entrepreneurs can help shape a better future.

Seriously, Forrest’s lecture was amazing, and the Dr is not honorary, he actually completed a PhD in marine ecology last year.

In this post I’ll look at the Climate Targets Panel report. Continue reading Pivotal moments in climate change: Part 1-Climate Targets Panel report

Five climate graphs that matter: 2020

The numbers are in for 2020.

Remember Greta Thunberg, the girl who can’t quit, said:

    The emissions are increasing and that is the only thing that matters.

In September 2019 I posted the Four graphs that matter in the climate emergency with some bonus graphs. I’ve decided that we should be watching sea level rise also, because of the future destruction it will wreak, and because sea level rise was the chief motivation behind the move from the island states to target 1.5°C of warming rather than 2°C.

The big news, however, is that 2020 was basically tied with 2016 as the warmest year ever, which is now reckoned to be 1.25°C or more above pre-industrial, depending on where you start. Continue reading Five climate graphs that matter: 2020

Weekly salon 24/1

1. The problem with democracy

Clearly the big problem is the people, the electors, although candidates can be an issue also.

Last November popular Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow resigned over a perceived indiscretion.

Next problem was that the Queensland government had just passed a law saying that when a mayor disappears through death or resignation, the candidate with the next highest number of votes should automatically take over.

It happens that on this occasion the next in line was a bloke known Pineapple (Chris Hooper), who commonly rides a pushbike barefoot around town carting signs about saving the world: Continue reading Weekly salon 24/1

Changing of the guard

“Out of many, one” is what the Latin E pluribus unum means on the Seal of the President of the United States which only reached its final design in 1945 when President Truman adopted it by executive order, with extra stars added for Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 and 1960.

However, it is similar to the Great Seal of the United States, the principal national symbol of the United States, which was first used in 1782. The national motto is “In God we trust” in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” as the National Anthem tells. Continue reading Changing of the guard

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff