For anyone who arrives early


One day soon, in the middle of the night, a bright new day is going to dawn with the official birth of a new blog about climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff.

Climate Plus is due to put up a welcoming post, shall we say at 12.01 am (Eastern Standard Time of course) on Sunday 6 April. Anyway with a bit of luck I’ll be there.

This is an open thread for anyone who arrives early to chat if the spirit moves them.

54 thoughts on “For anyone who arrives early”

  1. G’day Brian.
    Just getting my ” first time commenter ” status out of the way.

  2. Hi jumpy, BilB and Jules. There should be a prize for the first three but I’m afraid our budget doesn’t run that far.

    I think tigtog has done an awesome job on the design and I can’t help being a bit excited.

  3. Bilb @ 2
    Nose to the grindstone of late, yourself ?
    Jules @3
    Thank, there can be only one ( said in a gravely voice )

    There should be a prize for the first three but I’m afraid our budget doesn’t run that far.

    No,no, just stick to prizes for first.
    May i suggest that lucky champion be rewarded with ” moderation immunity* ” for the duration of the OT.
    No budgetary pressure at all.
    (* not that I’ll have any need for it 🙂 )

  4. Well, how’s that for a double-bunger? Brian Bahnisch AND John Davidson. Really looking forward to a more interesting and better informed discussion on climate and similar issues than in the infomercial media. (b.t.w.,Didn’t subscribe your to email notifications because I prefer to visit this site regularly anyway – added to Favourites).

    G’day to all my fellow accomplices, culprits, grumblers, malcontents and askers of awkward questions. 🙂

  5. Hey jumpy, no-one gets moderation immunity, though I’m hoping and expecting that civility and respectfulness will become the norm. There will be climate denialist trolls, of course, who will get the treatment.

  6. Graham @ 6, John D is still reeling from having to confront the mysteries of Word Press, so I expect his contributions will build up over time. I actually have a stack of posts in the draft bin, so my posting rate will be abnormally high as I feed those in.

  7. Lovely design by TigTog, and I am soo pleased that you’ve revived all of the old LP content. Looking forward to this website keeping me up to date and stimulated.

    By the way Brian, will you have a policy on consistent Trolls, particularly climate science denialists? They have ruined certain website comments sections, notably Climate Spectator. I recommend you be like John Quiggin, and not tolerate the nonsense unless heavily scientifically referenced. There really is no place for this idiocy and agnotology.

  8. wiful @ 10, we already have a policy on climate trolls. A few disappeared at LP and we have the facility here to make them disappear also. I’m reluctant to do that, but in the end it preserves the conversational atmosphere I’m looking for.

    You have to think of it as a lounge room (or in Qld a deck) where the host decides who gets entry, or perhaps like an 18th century salon with a bouncer on the door to keep the undesirables out.

  9. Chirp, chirp, chirp. Happy as a sparrow in the early morning that youse are all back. And I haven’t even fully checked out the website yet.

  10. In addition, wilful, I was keen on having the “report this comment” facility, so that the commenter group can have input. Not quite sure how it all works, but I’m sure all will be revealed.

  11. So how are you Paul Burns? How is everything in Armidale? and how did it work out with those corrupt politicians you had out there?

  12. BilB,
    Am okay. Had a brief stay in hospital a couple of weeks ago, but okay since I’ve gone on a non-fat/low-fat diet.
    Re the allegedly corrupt politicians, who cannot be seen for smoke nowadays, I presume ICAC is still trawling through confiscated documents. Guess we shall have to wait for public hearings to find out exactly what was going on. Guess it will be soon enough.

  13. Brian @ 7

    There will be climate denialist trolls, of course, who will get the treatment.

    Very good.
    I do hope that views that are ” unorthodox ” or ” challenging to the consensus ” will get fair run if put politely. John D, from memory, had a few and enhanced the discussion.
    I plan to lurk with the occasional question.
    Questions like ” What’s hapnin with @ 11s corner of paradise ? “

  14. Hi everyone. Watcha been up to? I was part of a Meet Your MP group from Getup. The object was to show him that a significant number of voters in his electorate were Getup members and to inform him of their significant concerns. His responses were predictably dismal.
    Apart from that I have been responding occasionally at The Conversation and The Drum and have shifted my meagre financial support to causes which concentrate directly on specific environmental issues. ( sea shepherd, abbot point etc.)

  15. Salient Green,
    Don’t know what electorate you are in, but I did get an e-mail from Get-Up informing us that a meeting arranged with Barnaby Joyce in Tamworth which he very reluctantly agreed to, was, when he finally acceded to it, distinctly hostile on Joyce’s part..

  16. Hi Roger.

    Your blog is one of a handful I take a feed from, so when you post. I’ll know.

    I’m planning to pick up important stuff in CC or do link posts, and all of your stuff is important, so…

  17. jumpy @ 18, anyone with information/science or ideas/opinions that are soundly based is welcome.

    I think you know the kind of stuff that bugs me and turns off other readers in droves.

    I seem to remember that you sometimes provided interesting links which is also welcome.

  18. Hi Brian and all
    Great to see this blog up and running. Love the design. The subheading is a bit hard to see though – maybe the font could be pale blue?

    I’m in Germany, helping my daughter with her new baby – though actually on a cruise on the Rhine at present. With my talent for getting things wrong in peculiar ways, I’ve managed to book myself on a German speaking (only) cruise. Either my rudimentary German is going to get better fast, or I’ll be spending a lot of time on the internet!

    Anyway this is getting a bit long, so will comment re controversies over German energy use, etc, later. Cheers

  19. Paul Burns, it was the member for Barker, Tony Pasin, who is unashamedly anti-science on the Human causes of global warming, completely without compassion for asylum seekers who come by boat including children being locked up (its their parents fault) and not at all concerned about the TPP or the reversal of world heritage listing for some of Tassie’s forests.
    When pressed on AGW and asylum seekers things got a little hostile.
    The reason he got into politics, in which he must sacrifice time spent with his family and especially his 4yr old daughter, is to help Australia to improve its standard of living for his daughter’s future????
    Apart from being ant-fracking (his electorate covers the entire SE of SA where ground water is the lifeblood) he is doing everything wrong!

  20. Hi all.
    Thanks for the site Brian looking forward to informative discussions and exchange.

    Living in the “lair of the beast” (LNP Tassie) it will likely be interesting to see what sort of “green army” will confront the loggers attempting their assault on the WHA – probably not the sort abbott imagines, I’d say.

  21. SG,
    They’re all a bit of a worry. So far any queries I’ve made to Joyce are basically a regurgitation of the party line as a reply or a reply pointing out its somebody else’s fault. A far cry from the kind of service one used to get under Tony Windsor.

  22. G’day everyone good to see the many familiar names.

    Brian, thank you and ‘respect’ for your commitment to open this forum. I look forward to your incisive posts and guidance in the group discussion, which, given the complexity, pertinence and controversy of the topic, must surely be a labour of love. Also, look forward to John D’s contributions, as I have learned to appreciate his knowledge and arguments even though I do not always agree with. Last but not least, thank you tigtog for the setup and well done, I already feel ‘at home’ here.

    Since the closure of the purple pages, I have become even more convinced, that the core of AGW problem is primarily based in the psycho/social domain. That is not to say that ‘the environment’ and technology needs to be considered any less. However, there is evidently a very high probability, that as humanity, we are standing at an existential crossroads. Thus I would very much appreciate if the psychological and social aspects could be given a more prominence in posts and discussion. Having said that, I look forward to the informative, analytical and challenging OPs with the caliber of the old LPs CC, as well as vivid and broad discussion thereof.

    Cheers Ootz

  23. Good morning (and guten abend, Val). Nice to see everyone stirring as “dawn” shifts the “dew”.

    Tasmania: over at The Conversation, suggested Tasmanian independence as a way of escaping neglect and unnecessary damage; might turn local LNP members into a genuine conservatives too, for a change.
    Politicians: dismal performance might be overcome by making parties severely illegal whilst allowing elected members to form their own known, specific-purpose coalitions for the duration of each session. That won’t happen until after the Wattle Revolution though.
    Climate change: denying it cuts the denialists out of profitable opportunities, so they make their own penalties for their foolishness. Trouble is, their ignorance hurts everyone

  24. Ootz @ 28, I take your point about the psychological and social aspects. With John D looking after the practical stuff, I’ll try to make the coverage more comprehensive.

    I’ve been coming across material on the implications for health and food production quite a bit. The health stuff is a bit shallow and repetitive, but I think both are going to be quite significant in the not too distant future.

  25. Hi Brian and Ootz, as you may know I’m researching the health angle and links to social justice/equity. Haven’t written as much as I should about the results of my research yet, but it is quite difficult as work in this area (apart from Tony McMichael et al at ANU and some of the work that is being published in The Lancet) is mainly at a fairly early stage. Perhaps that’s why it looks a bit shallow and repetitive.

    I am in touch with a few other Victorian researchers working in this area and hoping to get more integrated ideas together soon. We are mainly working in the health promotion/primary health care field and in public debates that tends to be given less prominence than the disease focused and more acute health care field, so that may be one reason you are not seeing so much. I recommend the work of the Climate and Health Alliance which I have talked about before (you can google it).

    At present I am trying to finish an article about a climate change denial review I’ve done (which I have been doing on and off for ages) – what’s the evidence, and what’s the usefulness of denial as a frame. I don’t know if it will get published as it is only a literature review with some conceptual analysis basically, even though needed a lot of thinking. Anyway happy to share conclusions here when finished, even if it doesn’t get published.

    More broadly from my research, I think Brian is right in emphasising caring – the underlying principle for both environmental sustainability and social justice is how much we care about the earth and each other. Caring has become discredited or marginalised in dominant ideologies, patriarchy and neo-liberal (which of course have much in common also). Apart from looking at the specific results of my research, which is nearly finished, it’s analysing that political and ideological context which is also taking a lot of time.

    Anyway better get on with studying German, so will leave it there but will provide further updates especially when I get back to Australia, on my blog – and brief updates here if you are interested. (The blog link is on my name as you probably know, though I haven’t posted much lately)

  26. Val, I think the way to go is for you to publish stuff on your blog and then let me know when you’ve done something major, as it were. See Contact page on the header. I’ll then consider a link post.

    Of course you are very welcome to feed in information and ideas yourself by commenting here as we go.

  27. Watched the 3-part series ‘Ice Age Giants’ on pre-stolen-and-dismantled ABC-TV. Interesting how seemingly unrelated factors – in combination – can lead to the extinction of a species. Lessons for our time there.

    (b.t.w.; shall keep Larvatus Prodeo Nostalgia toddling along, at a snail’s pace, as a spare wheel – just in case something goes seriously awry here).

  28. GB,
    Thanks heap for Larvatus Prodeo Nostalgia, btw. Been one of the things along with my descent into Soviet literature and history that has kept me sane since LP closed. Will keep checking in on it now and then, just in case. Much appreciated.
    As is this new, wonderful blog. Chirp, chirp. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Missed Ice Age Giants last night. Was too pissed off at ABC for programming repeats for the rest of the night, so I sunk my teeth into Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror. A Reassessment. Its not as difficult a work as I found the original, but still requires much concentration.

  29. Paul Burns @ 36: No need to thank me – it was Tigtog’s inspiration and skills that got LPN (not to be confused with LNP) up and running.

  30. Danke schön Brian und Val, da Ihr jetzt alle plötzlich Deutsch sprecht, dann kann ich da auch mithalten und mich vieleicht auch verständicher machen.

    Or maybe not …

    Brian, to elaborate on my point re psycho/social domain.

    On all the evidence available, there appears to be a high probability, that humanity is collectively sailing into troubled waters. We are all sitting in the same boat and as it starts rocking, two major questions come up for me.

    First, what assets have we got ‘on board’ and what are the liabilities, or soft spots. There are already some interesting angles of analyses available, such as security/defence analyses, economic/resource analysis as per Stern, Garnaut, as well as many other valid and credible research based information sources, such as Val commenting on. We also increasingly understand with more clarity how ‘the environment’ or literally our surroundings, will cope. However, I have never come across any overall analysis and model, how the above mentioned boat and it’s passengers could be predicted to fare in more details.

    How will we cope?

    Will we ‘play’ like a “Game of Thrones” scenario? As my favourite Australian Scientist, Lord Robert May, past President of the Royal Society in an interview with Robyn Williams in 2009 on RN said:

    “… a fascinating meta level evolutionary question of is the trajectory we’re on, which doesn’t look very hopeful at the moment, it looks like a trajectory that at best is going to go to the world of the cult movie Blade Runner and more likely to Mad Max. Is that a trajectory that any inhabited planet gets as it gradually begins to understand the world, use that mastery to do well intentioned things (everybody lives longer, everybody has more energy subsidies, life gets better and better) but all of a sudden you realise it’s just out of control and there are more people than the planet can sustain, putting a footprint on it that’s unsustainable…is what we’re doing an inevitable part of evolution on an inhabited planet or are we aberrant?”

    Being a resilient person, with chronic health conditions, has taught me to keep an eye on ‘the big picture’.

    (may elaborate second or important, but neglected, ‘small picture’ question later)

  31. Well, thanks, tigtog, then. Much appreciated etc.
    Given up on Conquest for now. Started reading Robert Service’s bio of Lenin. Enjoying it, so far. Its a field strewn with mines. Anti-Soviet historians, pro-Soviet historians, revisionists (who I gather are social historians as opposed to historians of high politics) etc., etc., Guess I’ll work out who is who as I get a better feel of the subject. Quite a bit of reading ahead.

  32. ooops, sorry folks, I brushed the wrong button – that didn’t launch the spaceship without the crew, did it?

    PB: You are indeed a voracious reader – I envy you. It’s a skill that might become very handy if the threats to make pensioners pay for decades of high-level policy blunders come into being. I’m dusting off my black-marketeering and soldiering skills just in case a two-up game or a moonshine still is looking for a cockatoo after the Bludget – well, money is money, no matter how little, it all helps.. 🙂

  33. Ok Ootz, ya show off, I’m just a beginner. But with my trusty translation app, I can work out most of that, except verstandlicher – which has something to do with mind. So I think it’s something like:
    Thanks kindly Brian and Val, since you’ve all of a sudden decided to speak German, I can match that also and maybe make myself even (more intelligent?)

    On the subject of being all in this planet together, and looking at the whole picture, I agree, that’s something that seems to come out of the review I’m doing also – even the smartest climate minds aren’t necessarily thinking holistically and working across disciplinary boundaries yet.

    However on the population issue, people seem to forget that in wealthy countries, population growth is falling below replacement levels, which makes the picture different.

  34. Val, he’s got a couple of spelling errors there which might be throwing your app. Verständlich means ‘understandable’. Vielliecht means ‘perhaps’ but ‘maybe’ is good.

    Ootz, your German is more fluent than mine, I think. I studied it at university but haven’t used it much in 55 years.

    Val, my understanding of health impacts is no doubt shallow. Mostly I read about disease vectors like mosquitoes taking things like malaria or Dengue fever further north and south or further up the mountains. And about heatwaves killing more people than die in wildfires. But not much else comes to mind.

    Other than that its about secondary impacts on health from droughts/food production and social dislocation from a variety of climate impacts. Stuff like that, but fairly cursory.

  35. Ootz and Val, on 31 March the IPCC released its second report in this round – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. I don’t know whether that meets your requirement for an “overall analysis and model”. I’m working on a post which is some days away. It has a lot of detail by theme and by area. I won’t be able to cover it all in a single post, of course.

    One way of looking at the overall is to see homo sapiens as a species out of control and in plague proportions. Such outbreaks of pests often have a severe impact on the environment. We’re doing it on a grander scale.

  36. Val, further to @ 42, there is a contrarian scientist named Richard Tol, who I remember once contended that cold is no good for our health either (correct) and that the benefits of less cold so far outweigh the harm of more heat.

    He also contends that economically, which includes food production, the ledger is in the positive. He’s a smart guy, and an anti-alarmist rather than a denialist, but I don’t quite trust him not to cherry-pick or neglect some significant dimension.

    He has a blog of sorts with occasional postings.

  37. Not keen on the word ‘trajectory’ to describe our journey towards possible extinction; the word gives the impression of a smooth, continuous, probably parabolic track whereas I think more along the line of set of trends: very ragged, often divergent, sometimes back-tracking, sometimes swinging off in an unexpected direction with the only constant being that we are going down – down -down – down.

    Brian, I like your distinction “an anti-alarmist rather than a denialist”.

  38. Brian, trust you to spot the errors in my Rechtschreiben. German is my first language, although for Swiss-German speakers, in reality it is second spoken and first written language, followed by French and some Italian, which are also Swiss national languages. English came to me as a fifth language, which I taught myself by translating the instruction manuals in English from dictionary to construct model planes. However, I have lived in english speaking countries for nearly forty years hence my German is not fluent anymore. It perhaps explains my often idiosyncratic english expression and occasional diversion into French or Italian on LP. Also, often my chronic fatigue induced ‘foggy brain’ will mangle my thoughts or their expression. So please peps keep that in mind, when I appear to be rambling. LP was a heaven for my intellectual stimulation as I can’t work anymore due to my health issues. I look forward to your informative and stimulating posts as well as participate in the discussions on Climate Plus. Enough of me …

    I was not aware that the IPCC released this report on “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”. I will follow that up and very much look forward to that post. I am aware that you won’t be able to cover it all in detail in one post, thus my emphasis on providing a overview which is conducive to anchor the detailed understanding from the diverse understanding we already have. The journey of humanity, to use GBs terminology, as a focal point serves two valuable purposes.

    First, as I indicated in my comment above, it gives us guidance towards building up resilience, to cope with the predicted changes. It also firmly puts us back into the picture, when very often the discussion is based on technology and ‘the environment’. The dichotomy this term evokes does somewhat distract from what our stake is in this. As Brian aptly says: “One way of looking at the overall is to see homo sapiens as a species out of control and in plague proportions.”. To talk about ‘the environment’ causes us to distance ourself intellectually and literally from a very important part of humanity. It allows humans to ‘own’ the environment rather than being an important part of it and having responsibilities in the collective welfare. Hence, I am very much interested in exploring the psychological, social and cultural aspects of the problem and potential solutions within climate change and associated human journey. Further, to then apply these understanding in practice we should look at organisational change theories and methodologies, suitable for such a massive and complex undertaking. I have previously, in my studies a while ago looked at these, though I am not in any capacity to elaborate or even do a post on these. I will just mention Soft System Methodology, which is increasingly used in diverse fields, such as urban planning, engineering, IT and many others to deal with the ‘human nature’ in complex developments.

    Further, the problem climate change poses for humanity also provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on ‘us’ as humanity. This is an interesting and valuable exercise in itself and may bring us to the core of the overall problem and an opportunity for genuine ‘growth’.

  39. Ootz I brushed up in my German language history a bit when I wrote some stuff on European origins in our family history project.

    Standard German is not a first language anywhere, it’s a kind of lingua franca, not invented by Luther but was hugely influenced by his translation of The Bible in 1522 from memory. It derives from Central German. His patch was Saxony, I think, which is more or less central.

    Now there are three versions of Standard German, based on the versions employed in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Germans communicating to each other in dialogue can be a problem, I understand. Standard German, or Hochdeutsch was taught as a foreign language in primary schools in northern Germany in the 19th century. Not sure how they cope now!

    Have to go now. I’ll comment on the rest later.

  40. Brian @ 44
    Thanks for introducing me ( and probably many others here ) to Richard Tol.
    I’ll look into his work.
    Ooh, and on trusting him, you can remove financial gain from the list of motives that may contribute to his desire to;

    cherry-pick or neglect some significant dimension.

    Other I’m not so sure about.

  41. Old fashioned, I know, but I still think of three bands of traditional German: Northern – covering the North German Plain with all the dialects related to Plattdeutsch, Niedersachsen etc and gradually blending into Dutch. Middle – covering all the uplands and valleys. Southern – in the high mountains, where they greet each other with “Gruss Gott”; Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria.

    Ootz: Like your optimism and your search for resilience and for ways of coping with the adverse changes.

  42. GB I think those divisions are roughly valid. Also in the south I think you’ll find parts of Tyrol in Italy which are largely German speaking.

    BTW Senator Matthias Cormann (lovely man!) is not German. He’s from Belgium, albeit a German-speaking town in the east.

  43. jumpy, Richard Tol is a solid and successful academic. He’s so passionate and combative, however, that while I can’t say he’s wrong I’m not altogether sure he’s right!

  44. Well thanks Brian and all, very interesting discussion. Brian if you were ever moved to set up a thread in German it sounds like there might be some takers! I have a vested interest of course, as I am keen to keep up with learning German and it will be harder to do that once I’m back in oz (I’ll take lessons, but won’t have the daily contact).

    Regarding the IPCC report, I’m really behind the eight ball on that due to other things happening (hmm, environmental catastrophes are what happen while people ‘are busy doing other things’ I guess, though I will catch up soon), however can I again recommend – Fiona Armstrong has been coordinating a health sector response.

    I’ve read your post of course but won’t comment until I am better informed, soon I hope

  45. Ootx, that was an interesting comment @ 46. I wasn’t aware of soft systems methodology. I did a unit on theory of organisations back in the early 1980s, but can’t say I’m up to date. I’ve bookmarked the link.

    On human nature and the environment, the ideal is for humans to live in nature, in harmony with nature as they say. However we have a fundamental tendency to control nature, and I’m afraid we must, with intelligence and intent. So our values are writ large, with inevitable compromise and conflict.

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