Climate clippings 104

This edition begins with the weather and ends with a sad tale of revenge and tribalism as the basis for climate policy.

1. June the hottest on record

When we have some cooler than normal weather people are apt to say “So much for global warming!” They should realise how small a part of the globe we are.

The warmest May on record for the planet has been followed by the warmest June:

June 2014_201406-600

In fact June was the highest departure from average for any month on record.

The last below-average global temperature for any month was February 1985. The last below average June was in 1975 when Gough Whitlam was PM!

2. El Niño still favoured

The majority of models still favour a spring El Niño:

Warming in the tropical Pacific Ocean since the beginning of 2014 has primed the climate system for an El Niño in 2014, although an atmospheric response is yet to be observed. As a result, the transition towards El Niño conditions has slowed in recent weeks. While five out of eight climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest El Niño will become established by October, all have eased their strength over the past few months. Three models suggest an El Niño will not occur in 2014, while another indicates only a brief period of El Niño-like conditions.

3. Temperatures poised to rise rapidly

El Niño years are often associated with a higher than average temperature rise. However, there’s another reason temperatures may be about to rise. You may recall that around 93% of the extra global warming goes into the ocean and only 2.3% into the atmosphere:


In recent years the trade winds have speeded up causing deep mixing in the ocean, taking warm water deeper displacing cooler water which rises to the surface to be warmed. Sooner or later this will stabilise, with more heat going into the atmosphere.

The article also points out the recent correction of the Hadley Centre temperature record, adding in an estimate for the polar regions, where there are no weather stations. This correction virtually eliminates the famous ‘pause’. The heavy lines show the corrected data:


4. Onshore wind is now the cheapest form of new energy in Denmark


A new analysis from the government of Denmark found that wind power is by far the cheapest new form of electricity in the country. New onshore wind plants coming online in 2016 will provide energy for about half the price of coal and natural gas plants, according to the Danish Energy Agency (DEA), and will cost around five cents per kilowatt hour.

5. Abbott bets the house on coal

Meanwhile our visionary PM bets the house on coal as the world price is collapsing and countries turn to renewables.

The price for thermal coal has plunged more than 10 per cent in the last two months as the presumed major customers – China and India – make it clear that renewable energy is offering a competitive alternative to coal and gas.

The current spot market has been below the cost of production.

China may cease to import coal in a few years. The Europeans are talking about ramping up targets for emission reductions, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Indians are

building of “mega” capacity solar farms, off-grid solar pumps for irrigators, solar installations over canals, cuts in tariffs for solar components and a doubling of the tax on coal – has been followed by an announcement that the country will look to expand a “rent-a-roof” program from solar installations initially begun in Gujarat, the home state of new PM Narendra Modi, who has promised a “saffron revolution” of solar power.

Tata Power is providing interest free loans up to $4,000 for rooftop solar.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week predicted solar would beat coal plants on costs by 2020. Chile has announced a whole series of large scale solar plants. On and on it goes.

Here in Sydney there was concern at the Clean Energy Week conference that Abbott can cripple renewables by doing nothing. According to one speaker

even if the 41,000GWh target was retained, and long term certainty provided, the removal of the carbon price will make it difficult to obtain financing for wind and solar farms from financial institutions.

That’s because the carbon price and the RET were designed to work together. If the carbon price is removed, then there is a massive shortfall in revenue when the certificates issued under the RET expire in 2030…

John D has been calling it but here’s a dramatic graph showing how large scale investment has stopped in its tracks:


6. Tribal wars and revenge

I couldn’t find a decent review of Ian Chubb’s excellent book Power failure, which traces climate policy in Australia from before the 2007 election to the installation of the Abbott government. The link in the heading is to a revealing interview with the author by The Fifth Estate. Chubb:

“[Climate change denial] is a cultural issue for the Coalition. It’s nothing to do with rationality or reason or the future or business – it’s tribal. While this government is in power we can’t recreate the consensus.

“For this government burning coal to make electricity is the equivalent to eating red meat – if you don’t, you’re a sissy. So this government will never have sympathy for making renewable energy – only sissies do that. The government has attempted to shut down everything to do with renewable energy.”

He the goes on to talk about revenge, tribalism and well-flung mud.

He describes the current policy situation as current policy situation as a “ridiculous and expensive mess”. Two things might change it. One is leadership from the US. The other is that nasty things may have to happen from the climate itself.

My sense is that the damage to confidence wrought by this mob is such that a change of government with new policies may not be enough. We need the Tea Party to get real before confidence can be restored.

I need to say more about Chubb’s book which is clear-eyed about the strengths and weaknesses of both Rudd and Gillard. Anyone wondering why some of Rudd’s colleagues thought he had to go should read this extract in The Age.

An untrustworthy, unimaginative, incompetent dunderhead

That’s how voters see their prime minister Tony Abbott, says Laura Tingle of the most recent Nielsen Poll.

More of that later, but the poll sees the ruling LNP stabilise in landslide loss territory at 54-46:

Nielsen Jy 2014_cropped_600

The only demographics where the LNP has a clear lead in the primary vote are the 55+ group and WA. But in WA the TPP lead is only 52-48, well within the margin of error. Queensland has turned sour for the LNP at 45-55.

Abbott’s approval rating has improved from -25 to -18. Abbott’s overall personal rating may improve further due to his handling of the response to the Ukraine air tragedy but his real problem seems to lie in the voters’ view of his personal attributes. Abbott continually hammered the Gillard government over competency and trust. He fails on both counts.

According to Nielsen, voters now rate his competence as slightly lower than Gillard’s.

They do not rate him as being as strong a leader, believe him to be even less trustworthy, and have an even weaker grasp on economics.

At least the former prime minister had a majority of voters believing she had a firm grasp on foreign and social policy – only 43 per cent of voters rate Abbott on foreign policy and 34 per cent on social policy.

Abbott has strengths (above 50%) in his clear vision for Australia’s future and in his ability to make things happen. However, his weakness on social policy is severe, contrasting with Shorten’s strength. In context Abbott’s strengths may be problematic.

Shorten emerges as a more competent and trustworthy figure, but he is yet to be seen as a strong leader with a vision for the country and an ability to make things happen. Perhaps a problem of opposition.

Shorten still heads Abbott as preferred PM but has slipped slightly from 47-40 to 46-41.

On economic policy they are even, and not very good on 45%.

Prior to the budget Joe Hockey had a clear lead over Chris Bowen as preferred treasurer at 51-34. Now they are virtually even at 43-42.

Reading opinion polls is a bit like reading tea leaves, but the Abbott government’s problems appear fundamental.

Climate clippings 103

Climate clippings_175

I like to think that at Climate Plus we cover all the important issues and happenings. In this edition we look at two significant reports, one by Jeffrey Sachs to the UN Secretary General and the IEA’s World Energy Investment Outlook 2014.

As usual use Climate clippings as an open thread on climate change.

1. Deep Decarbonization Pathways

Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs found that Australia could cut emissions from its energy sector to zero by 2050 and still grow GDP by an average of 2.4% over that period. That was in an interim report recently delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plotting

specific measures for the world’s 15 largest economies, including China, India and the US, to cut their emissions quickly and deeply enough to meet an international agreed goal of limiting warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

What we do matters!

The report

found that it’s technically possible for Australia to get almost all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and to offset the rest by storing carbon in soil or planting more trees.

We can do that while GDP grows at 2.4% per annum, but it is interesting that our per capita growth rate is the lowest of the 15, India the highest.

There’s more about Sachs here.

2. Catalyst does sea level rise

It was scary, but could have, should have been scarier.

The program depended heavily on the last interglacial, the Eemian, as an analogue for now. It made the link through temperatures and probably got them a bit wrong. We’ll likely get more than 2°C this century, and the Eemian global average was possibly only 1°C higher than now.

Fundamentally the problem is this. CO2 levels during the Eemian which produced around 9 metres of sea level rise were never above 300 ppm. At 400 ppm, as we are now, the implied sea level rise is more like 20 to 25 metres, played out over the centuries.

Still they could have pointed out just how horrendous a 9 metre rise would be, other than the throwaway comment about most mega cities being displaced. At 9 metres significant chunks disappear from continents as in China:


Here’s SE Asia courtesy of the Firetree flood map:

SE Asia_cropped_600

At the end it suggested that we could cope by building sea walls, except that it would be expensive. Sea walls are not going to cope with nine metres, let alone 20.

This Skeptical Science post gives useful information about the Eemian, although it too arguably needs updating. I think scientists are settling on a higher sea level rise for the Eemian than the 5 metres suggested, more like the 9 metres of the Catalyst program. Also at least some parts of Greenland are thought to have been 10°C warmer than now, rather than 5°C.

3. The search for the clean coal holy grail

Radio National’s generally excellent Background Briefing program has turned its guns on a ‘clean coal’ technology called DICE – Direct Injection Carbon Engine. Would you believe, a DICE engine runs on a slurry of finely ground coal and water? One purpose seems to be to make brown coal as emissions efficient as black coal – a pointless exercise in terms of current climate mitigation needs. Inherently significant energy must be spent to get the coal into the required state.

The history seems to be one of shonky technology projects run by shonks, but the CSIRO is now involved and our visionary government is throwing money at the venture.

4. World Energy Investment Outlook 2014

The International Energy Association’s latest report is billed as its first full update since the 2003 World Energy Investment Outlook. It’s been out since 3 June. So far I’ve failed in my ambition to do a separate post, so I’ll just do a brief note here.

This post from the Post Carbon Institute is a packet of joy. It says that the IEA report “should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits” or looking for early retirement. Seems we need a mere $48 trillion in investment through to 2035 to keep things on track. But:

The IEA forecasts that only 15 percent of the needed $48 trillion will go to renewable energy. All the rest is required just to patch up our current oil-coal-gas energy system so that it doesn’t run into the ditch for lack of fuel. But how much investment would be required if climate change were to be seriously addressed? Most estimates look only at electricity (that is, they gloss over the pivotal and problematic transportation sector) and ignore the question of energy returned on energy invested. Even when we artificially simplify the problem this way, $7.2 trillion spread out over twenty years simply doesn’t cut it. One researcher estimates that investments will have to ramp up to $1.5 to $2.5 trillion per year. In effect, the IEA is telling us that we don’t have what it takes to sustain our current energy regime, and we’re not likely to invest enough to switch to a different one.

If you look at the trends cited and ignore misleading explicit price forecasts, the IEA’s implicit message is clear: continued oil price stability looks problematic. And with fossil fuel prices high and volatile, governments will likely find it even more difficult to devote increasingly scarce investment capital toward the development of renewable energy capacity. (Emphasis added)

Nibali a shoo-in, but plenty to watch for in Tour’s last week

It’s the curse of the commentator, political or sporting, that they are required to find drama where little exists. And this Tour promised so much. In the last major lead-up race, the Criterium du Dauphine, 2013 Tour winner Chris Froome and 2009 winner Alberto Contador fought a see-sawing battle over several mountain stages, only to have the race taken from under them by an enterprising, tactically astute and lucky attack on the last stage by young American rider Andrew Talansky. Vincenzo Nibali, meanwhile, looked a step below the two favourites. But, still, it looked like a closely-fought Tour was at hand. Meanwhile, the battle for the Tour’s flat stages was almost as tantalizing – could the diminuitive Mark Cavendish regain his ascendancy over Ivan Drago Marcel Kittel?

Continue reading Nibali a shoo-in, but plenty to watch for in Tour’s last week

Blogging hiatus, again

On Saturday 26, July Len and I together with my wife are setting out for Alice Springs and points beyond, returning via the Simpson’s Desert. Len’s wife is doing the smart thing and flying out to the Alice to join us there. If we return it will be on 19 or 20 August. This week my thoughts are turning in that direction with increasing excitement and some trepidation. So blogging might be sporadic this week. After that I won’t be looking at a computer screen until we get back.

Deep Red sand dunes of the Strzelecki Desert in outback South Australia.

(Image from here.)

I will set up the Saturday Salon posts ahead of time, but with no topical input from me, as I’m not clairvoyant!

I’m not usually a happy camper, and have avoided it most of my life, but we’ve invested in modern gear including sleeping bags rated to -10°C. I think a howling westerly and a sand storm would be the most unpleasant. We’ll be doing the desert crossing in a convoy of five, with all sorts of emergency and recovery equipment. No-one in the group has actually done it before, but the detail of planning engenders a deal of confidence, so here’s hoping!

The ‘featured image’ on the front page is from here.

Keeping the score on PUP

In an earlier thread, I linked to Lenore Taylor’s article, which holds that the pattern with Palmer is to cause maximum drama then support government. Robert Merkel also linked to Taylor as well as to Ben Eltham who sees Palmer as following self interest.

For both of these to be true, the government must always act in Palmer’s interest, which seems unlikely.

According to Laura Tingle the Taylor view has become orthodoxy in the major parties:

Having sussed out the Palmer United Party, both sides of politics made pragmatic assessments that, for now at least, the PUP should be regarded as a noisy nuisance but one which would support the Coalition in most things.

She says this does not accord with the experience of the past two weeks:

Yes, the PUP ultimately supported the government’s carbon tax repeal bill with amendments. But it opposes the Coalition’s Climate Change Authority Abolition Bill, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill and the bill to repeal the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

It is also opposing moves to stop tax cuts associated with the carbon package, as well as opposing the abolition of the renewable energy target.

While it is supporting the repeal of the mining tax, it is opposing the repeal of the schoolkids bonus, an income support bonus and the low income superannuation contribution, which are all in the same bill.

It eventually supported changes to the Future of Financial Advice laws, but opposes a $435 million cut to higher education through an efficiency dividend, as well as the reintroduction of fuel excise indexation. It also supported Labor amendments to the asset recycling fund.

The net result is a cost to the budget of just over $13 billion before we even get to the contentious budget cuts.

To the casual observer Palmer’s back flip on the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) looked capricious. In fact considerable work was put in by Cormann and Malcolm Turnbull who brokered the discussions at Cormann’s request.

Mr Turnbull’s involvement in the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) matter was at the request of Senator Cormann, who did not know Mr Palmer very well. So he rang Mr Turnbull on Friday night last week asking him for help to convince Mr Palmer to talk and to set up a meeting.

Mr Turnbull spoke to Mr Palmer ­several times over the weekend and presented him with a briefing paper on the Coalition’s changes to the FoFA laws which Senator Cormann had his department prepare.

I understand Cormann and Palmer met five times in a short space of time. Presumably both gave some ground.

I think it’s too early to call a pattern in PUP voting. As to ideology, I think PUP would see itself as seeking a fair go for ordinary people. Beyond that we also have to wait and see.

Tingle’s article was mainly about pre-election positioning and selling the budget. Labor has definitely revealed its hand as supporting emissions trading. Shorten made clear that he meant an ETS rather than a tax.

Abbott is going to keep banging on about it’s really a tax and continue the scare campaign.

Labor may propose a much more modest scheme, more in line with business thinking. Business, Tingle says, is troubled by the current vacuum in real climate policy. They know the vacuum must be filled, but by what?

As to the budget, Tingle says it will need a fundamental rethink if voters are to change their opinion. Short of resolving the conflicting messages involved in, for example, plugging pensioner austerity while promoting a generous paid parental scheme, it’s hard to see what they might do.

But unless they do engage in a fundamental rethink we can expect more mayhem from PUP.

Saturday salon 19/7


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. National Library archives

The National Library of Australia plans to include the Climate Plus website in its PANDORA Archive, so our words here will be immortalised!

2. The Australian newspaper celebrates 50 years in print…

…with a glowing endorsement from Tony Abbott.

The Australian has celebrated 50 years in print with a glowing endorsement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who said John Howard had the newspaper to thank for his elevation to the nation’s top job.

Abbott apparently thinks it’s OK for a newspaper to play an active role in politics, in spite of his weasel words.

The article gives an account of the puke-making love-in between Tony Abbott and Rupert Murdoch.

On the same day Phillip Adams pointed out that the ABC had just said good-bye to some of its staff due to government funding cuts.

3. Melbourne language cacophony

More languages are spoken in Melbourne than there are countries in the world, a cacophony of 251 tongues whose voices stretch to all corners of the city.

Melbourne languages_cropped_600

Across the city, three in 10 people speak a language other than English when they get home. In seven suburbs, English is not the dominant language. Arabic is the sixth-most commonly spoken language other than English in metropolitan Melbourne, behind Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Cantonese.

The population is very mixed compared to American cities such as Chicago and Washington DC, which are very segregated. Italian is the most widely dispersed non-English language, followed by German and Dutch.

4. Morgan shows ALP at 56.5% down 1% as new senate blocks carbon tax repeal

f a Federal Election were held today the ALP would win easily (56.5%, down 1%) cf. L-NP (43.5%, up 1%) on a two-party preferred basis according to today’s multi-mode Morgan Poll conducted over the last two weekends – July 5/6 & 12/13, 2014.

Morgan Jy 2014_600

It would be too funny if passing the carbon ‘tax’ repeal saw the restoration of LNP fortunes.

Analysis by Gender

Analysis by Gender shows that ALP support remains strongest amongst women with the ALP 60.5% well ahead of the L-NP 39.5% on a two-party preferred basis. Support amongst men is closer with the ALP 52.5% just ahead of the L-NP on 47.5%.

Analysis by States

The ALP maintains a strong two-party preferred lead in all Australian States except Western Australia: L-NP 50.5% cf. ALP 49.5%. New South Wales: ALP 55% cf. L-NP 45%, Victoria: ALP 58.5% cf. L-NP 41.5%, Queensland: ALP 56.5% cf. L-NP 43.5%, South Australia: ALP 64.5% cf. L-NP 35.5% and Tasmania: ALP 61% cf. L-NP 39%.

5. Stafford by-election

We’ll keep an eye on this one. Antony Green says he expected a double digit swing in the polls for the inner-northern Brisbane seat, citing the 17 per cent swing against the LNP at the Redcliffe by-election earlier this year and recent opinion polls. Janine Walker told local radio that anything less than 20% and the LNP will reckon they’ve been let off easy.

Notably, PUP is not running. She says they know they won’t win so they want to maximise the protest vote for Labor. The idea is to bury the LNP as deep as possible.

Most south of the border reckon Palmer is about self-interest or revenge. Walker says all the above and more, but he thinks strategically and is focussed on power.

6. FIFA wins

Remember this?

Popes praying_10449976_816909721666770_8792909987461327130_n

Germany won, but did it?

John Oliver explains that soccer is a religion, FIFA is its church. It’s evil, even murderous and frankly appalling. Soccer excites the masses like no other sport, but FIFA takes the gold – literally!

Thanks to my friend in Erlangen for the heads-up!

Noel’s translation of Dąbrówka Wielkopolska (fmly Groß Dammer) article in Polish Wikipedia

Noel Cameron-Baehnisch in a rush of enthusiasm has translated the Dąbrówka Wielkopolska (fmly Groß Dammer) article in Polish Wikipedia. This may mainly be of interest to specialists and enthusiasts but the persistent will be rewarded. I’ve added here some images from the article, first the famous folkloric church:


Next to the church stands a belfry:


Here’s the famous chateau, apparently as it appeared in 1858:


This is a more modern version, in a winter mood:


This is a park scene in the chateau complex:


In the centre of the village we find an attractive pond:


Related articles may be found under the tag Bahnisch family history.

Here’s Noel:

My rough translation of the Polish WIKIPEDIA article: found 7/7/2014; translated word-by-word using the Internet on the 9 July 2014. Dabrowka (pronounced “dom-BROOF-kah”) is the village where my Polish ancestors, the Ruciaks (“ROO-chark”), came from; they were Prussian subjects but ethnically very Polish. I assume the information in this WIKIPEDIA article is accurate, though I know it consists of contributions from one person or several people, none of whom can be classified as professional historians. WIKIPEDIA is free; professional history is not.

Dąbrówka Wielkopolska (niem. Groß Dammer [2]) – wieś w Polsce położona w województwie lubuskim, w powiecie świebodzińskim, w gminie Zbąszynek.

Translation notes: Polish is a heavily inflected language; words typically consist of a stem followed by all sorts of complex “inflections” or case endings, like in Greek, Latin, Russian and German).

niem. (abbreviation) = German. wies = village (“-wice” in placenames; wsi = in the village). “w” is a preposition which means in, towards, to, etc.
Village on Polish territory, in the Lubuska Province, District of Swiebodzin, sub-district of Zbaszynek (the modern industrial and railway town just south of Dabrowka).

Państwo Polska [Nation of Poland]
Województwo lubuskie [Province of Lubuska]
Powiat świebodziński [District of Swiebodzin]
Gmina Zbąszynek [Sub-district of Zbaszynek]
Liczba ludności (2010) 1172 [1] [population in 2010]
Strefa numeracyjna (+48) 68 [telephone area code]
Tablice rejestracyjne FSW [car number-plate begins with “FSW”]

Spis treści [List of Contents]
1 Historia [history]
2 Zabytki [monuments]
3 Galeria

4 Przypisy [references]

[Brian – The above images appeared from nowhere. The aren’t in the Word file Noel sent me, or in the back-end copy that generates the post, so I can’t remove them!]

Miejscowość wzmiankowana była już w 1406 jako wieś szlachecka Dambrowca w dobrach zbąszyńskich. W XV w. osada była w posiadaniu rodziny Zbąskich. Niestety we wsi nie zachowała się stara kronika z XIV w. napisana po łacinie i po polsku przechowywana w miejscowym kościele św. Jakuba Apostoła, ponieważ wypożyczona została przez Uniwersytet Humboldta w Berlinie i nigdy już do Dąbrówki nie powróciła [3].

Zbaszyn = German Bentschen, an important town just SE of Dabrowka; many families left the Bentschen district for South Australia. Neubentschen (New Bentschen) = Zbanszynek.

This place was mentioned as early as 1406 as the wies szlachecka (noble village = village owned by an aristocrat) of DAMBROWCA in the Zbaszyn Town records. W XV. wieku (in the 15th century) this settlement (osada) was the possession of a Zbaszyn family. Unfortunately the village no longer has its stara kronika z XIV w. (14th-century Old Chronicle), written in Latin (po lacinie) and Polish (po polsku) and stored in the Church of Saint James the Apostle (Jakuba Apostola) – because it was borrowed (wypozyczona) by the Humboldt University in Berlin (the oldest and most prestigious university in Berlin) and nie powrocila (never returned)!!

Osada zbudowana na planie tzw. owalnicy z charakterystycznym placem wewnętrznym, zwanym nawsiem.

z = the preposition means with, from, about, out of, because of, in, etc.
Settlement built on a so-called oval (owalnicy) plan with characteristic … … [too difficult for me to translate the rest].

Mimo bezpośredniego sąsiedztwa z niemieckim obszarem etnicznym i procesów germanizacyjnych, polska ludność autochtoniczna stanowiła zawsze większość mieszkańców zachowując polską mowę i obyczaje. W 1905 we wsi mieszkało 1.038 osób, w tym 90,1% Polaków oraz 9,7% Niemców [4].

niemieckim = the stem niem plus a complex inflection and case ending = German.

Despite (mimo) the closeness of ethnically German territory and the process of Germanification (procesow germanizacyjnnych), the native population always (zawsze) preserved (zachowujac) its polska mowe i obyczaje (Polish language and customs). In 1905, we wsi (in the village) were 1038 people, of whom 90.1% were ethnically Polakow (Polish) and 9.7% ethnically Niemcow (German).

W 1910 jako dominium Gross Dammer miejscowość należała do Bernharda von Britzke. Mimo protestów polskiej ludności w 1919 pozostała w granicach Rzeszy na mocy decyzji komisji międzyalianckiej. W latach 1815-1945 Dąbrówka Wielkopolska należała do powiatu międzyrzeckiego (Kreis Meseritz).

In 1910, the “dominium” of Gross Dammer was owned by the aristocrat, Bernhard von Britzke (von is the aristocratic adjective and Britzke looks like a Slavic name; Bernharda is in the genitive case): in other words, the village was owned by Von Britzke, who obviously lived in the big palac (chateau). Despite (mimo) the protests of the Polish population in 1919, it remained inside the border of the Rzesz (Polish form of Reich), because of a decision by an international commission. In the years 1815-1945, Dabrowka belonged to Kreis Meseritz (the Prussian District of Meseritz Town).

W latach 1929–1939 we wsi działała polska szkoła, w której nauczało 3 nauczycieli, a uczyło się 140 dzieci [5]. Szkoła po raz pierwszy wzmiankowana była w 1640. W miejscowości istniało także przedszkole polskie założone w 1935 roku, z 70 dziećmi.

In the years 1929-1939, the village operated its own Polish school (polska szkola), in which 3 teachers (nauczycieli) taught about 140 dzieci (children). The school was pierwszy wzmiankowana (first mentioned) in the year 1640. There was also (takze) a Polish kindergarten (przed-szkole polskie), founded in 1935, with 70 youngsters (dziecmi).

W 1939 na 1.287 mieszkańców wsi Polaków było 986. We wsi w 1923 powstaje Polskie Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne Sokół założone przez Stanisława Mizernego, które posiadało męską i żeńską sekcję sportową. W miejscowości istniał także oddział regionalny Związku Polaków w Niemczech, Przysposobienie Rolnicze, Chór Polski oraz Kółko Rolnicze.

In 1939, of the 1287 village residents, 986 considered themselves to be Polakow (Poles). In the village, in 1923, was founded a branch of the POLSKIE TOWARZYSTWO GIMNASTYCZNE “SOKOL” by Stanislaw Mizern, which had male and female sporting sections. (This “Falcon” Polish Gymnastics Society was part of the Pan-Slavic Movement.) The village also (takze) had a regional branch (oddzial) of the non-political Zwiazku Polakow w Niemczech [Union of Poles in Germany], a Przysposobienie Rolnicze [agricultural college], a Chor Polski [Polish choir] and a Kolko Rolnicze [agricultural “circle” or club].

W 1934 roku, utworzono stały obóz Arbeitdienstu. W 1935 miasto Lipsk rozpoczęło tuż przy Dąbrówce budowę osady niemieckiej pod nazwą Limbach, dla uczczenia SA-manna Limbacha, zabitego w walce nazistów z komunistami. Wg oceny niemieckiej gazety “Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung” osada ta powstała w celu wzmocnienia żywiołu niemieckiego “muszącego ciężko walczyć na Pograniczu z mniejszością polską”[6]. W lipcu 1938 roku, nastąpiło uroczyste poświęcenie 20 gospodarstw, wielkości 20 ha każde przeznaczonych dla niemieckich kolonistów-członków SA i SS [5].

[In 1933 Hitler ruthlessly grabbed power and strangled German Democracy.] In 1934, an Arbeit-dienst camp was set up. In 1935 the City of Leipzig (Lipsk) began to construct osady niemieckiej (German settlements), called Limbach after an SA soldier of that name, killed in Nazi action against German communists. (SA = Nazi Brownshirts.) According to the German newspaper (gazety) “Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung”, the settlement was founded to strengthen the German presence in those border districts z mniejszoscia polska (with Polish minorities). In lipcu (July) 1938, there was a ceremony to dedicate 20 gospodstw (farms), each of 20 hectares, mainly for niemieckich kolonistow (German colonists) who were czlonkow (members) of the SA and SS. [You can be sure these colonists left quickly in 1944, of their own volition! Limbach is now called Samsonki, about 3 km east of Dabrowka.]

Podczas wojny, polskojęzyczna ludność Dąbrówki była przez Niemców wysiedlana i zsyłana do obozów koncentracyjnych, dotyczyło to szczególnie polskich działaczy społecznych i narodowych, np. Jana Budycha współorganizatora Banku Ludowego i jednego z organizatorów polskiej szkoły w Dąbrówce Wielkopolskiej. Łącznie zginęło 12 osób [7].

During the War (“wojn” is the stem for “war”), polskojezyczna (Polish-speaking) residents of Dabrowka were arrested by the Germans and sent to obozow koncentracyjnych (concentration camps), especially Polish social and nationalist activists (dzialaczy), such as Jan [John] Budych, managing-director of the local People’s Bank and one of the organizers of the local Polish schools (polskiej szkoly) in Dabrowka. Lacznie (in total) zginelo (were murdered) 12 osob (people), by the Nazis, including Jan.

(The surname Budych is significant because Carl Albert Budich [sic: “BOO-dik”] (1839-1911) married Franziska Naida (1845-1891) in 1863 in South Australia: Franziska was the niece and namesake of Franziska Baehnisch nee Ruciak (Ruciack); Fran Naida’s mother was Severina Ruciak, Fran Baehnisch’s sister. The Budich (Budick) surname is still found in South Australia. So are the surnames Naida (Nayda) and Ruciack. All these families left Dabrowka district and so missed out on the trauma and horrors of two idiotic ultra-nationalistic World Wars. Instead, they had the privilege of helping to destroy an out-of-control ultra-militaristic Germany, then watching from afar the formation of two new and peaceful Germanys, one free, one not free, next to a proud and independent, if not free, Poland.)

W 1945 wieś została przyłączona do Polski. W uznaniu zasług w zachowaniu polskości wieś, w 1973 została odznaczona Krzyżem Grunwaldu II klasy. W latach 1945-1954 siedziba gminy Dąbrówka Wielkopolska. W latach 1975-1998 miejscowość administracyjnie należała do województwa zielonogórskiego.

In 1945, the village (wies) was attached to Poland. In recognition of its meritorious behaviour as a polskosci wies (Polish village), in 1973 it was awarded the Grunwald Cross (Second Class). (In the battle of Grunwald, in 1410, the Poles crushed the Teutonic Knights.) From 1945-1954, it was in the sub-district (gminy) of Dabrowka. From 1975-1998, it was administered by the Province of Zielona Gora. [1998 marks the end of Communist Poland.]

Siedziba Parafii Niepokalanego Poczęcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny i św. Jakuba Apostoła.

Seat of the Parish of the Niepokalanego Poczecia (Immaculate Conception) Najswietszej Maryi Panny (of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and of Saint Jakub Apostol (James the Apostle).

Zabytki [Monuments]
Według rejestru Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa na listę zabytków wpisane są [8]:

According to the National Heritage Institute’s list of registered monuments:

kościół parafialny rzymsko-katolicki pod wezwaniem Niepokalanego Poczęcia NMP, z połowy XVII-XVIII wieku
zespół pałacowy: pałac, neorenesansowy z lat. 1856-1859; park, z połowy XIX wieku.

kosciol (pronounced “KOSS-ya-choo-wa”) = church. parafialny = parish (adj.). rzymsko-katolicki = Roman Catholic. pod wezwaniem = called. z polowy XVII-XXIII wieku = [built in] mid-17th century to 18th century.
Chateau complex: the palac [“PAH-wah-ts”] or chateau, Neo-Renaissance, [built] in 1856-1859. And the chateau’s park, mid-19th century.


1. Kościół par. pw. Niep. Poczęcia NMP [parish church called the IC of the BVM]
2. Pałac [palace or chateau]
3. Park w zespole pałacowym [park in chateau complex]
4. Staw w centrum wsi [pond in centre of village; staw is pronounced “STAH-ff”.]
5. Neorenesansowy pałac [Neo-Renaissance chateau]
6. Pałac na ilustracji z 1858 r. [chateau illustrated in 1858 year]
7. Dzwonnica przy kościele parafialnym [belfry beside the parish church]

[Brian – again the images appeared from nowhere. Curious because what we have here is not co-extensive with what appears in the linked article.

Przypisy [References]

Reference [4] is the most interesting one:

Na podstawie danych ze spisu powszechnego z 1905 r., wg deklarowanego języka ojczystego i religii; część ludności zadeklarowała inny język ojczysty. Gemeindelexikon für das Königreich Preußen. Heft V. Provinz Posen, Berlin 1908.

Based on data collected by the Census (spisu) of 1905, based on stated (deklarowanego = declared) jezyka ojczystego (native language = mother tongue) and religii (religions); segment of population declaring “other” (“inny”) native language. Parish Lexikon for the Prussian Kingdom. Volume 5. Province of Posen (Poznań in Polish). Berlin, 1908.

And finally, I must tackle the text of one of the 3 plaques I photographed in 2004 on the outside of the parish church. Our Polish guide Bolek told me the 12 listed people had died in WWII. I had always guessed that they were young men compulsorily drafted into Hitler’s armies and then killed in action. But I know better now. And I must apologize to the families of the 12 martyrs, who are my very distant cousins, for the misunderstanding. This is what happens when a family forgets how to speak Polish. Please pardon any bad transcription errors because it is very hard to read the beautifully carved text on the marble plaque. When I read about Jan Budych’s fate in the WIKIPEDIA article, I began to understand the following:

Boże zbaw Polskę. God bless Poland.
Bohaterom Dąbrówieckim. To the Martyrs of Dabrowka. (bohater = martyr.)
Milość. Wierność. Cześć. Love, Fidelity. Honour.

Jan Budych, Tomasz Budych, Marcin Bimek, Walenty Berent, Wojciech Berowicz, Jan Flejsierowicz, Wojciech Golek, Jan Golek, Antony Kwaśny, Stanisław Kędziera. Piotr Malysiak, Wojciech Młodystach.

Some of the surnames are Germanic or partly so (Flejsier = Fleischer?). Młodystach is very prominent in the South Australian Phone Book today: now spelt Modistach but unmistakably Polish; in modern Polish, the l-with-stroke ( ł ) is pronounced like the English ‘w’ sound – “m-WOR-dee-stah-k”.

Za Waszą Wiare i Wolność. For Your Faith and Freedom.
Życie Swe Oddali. They Gave Their Lives. (word-for-word, Lives Their They-Gave.)

This is an echo of Poland’s unofficial National Motto, which dates back to the disastrous 1830 Polish Insurrection: Za Naszą i Waszą Wolność (For Our and Your Freedom). The 12 Martyrs of Dabrowka not only fought for their own Freedom but for the Freedom of Everyone, then and now, for you and me.

Męczarniach Więzień i Obozów. Tortured to death in Prisons and Camps.
Miłosier Bądż ——-. Mercy Be ——–. Probably “upon their souls” or “upon all”.

And I can’t read the last line on the plaque.

Finally, Reference [2] makes reference to the “Rodło”. I GOOGLEd this and read a fascinating story of adaption and survival. Kaczmarek died in exile in Washington DC in 1977; Kłopocka died in Communist Warsaw in 1982. Prussia had long before banned the use of the White Eagle as a Polish symbol inside Prussia. Hitler seized power in early 1933, so it seems the symbol was adopted before he rose to dictatorial power, despite what the English WIKIPEDIA article implies. I have edited the text slightly. In Polish, the Vistula is called the Wisła (”VEE-s-wah”). Rodło = “ROR-dwor”.

The Rodło is a Polish emblem used since 1932 by the Union of Poles in Germany. It is a stylized representation of the Vistula River and Kraków as the wellsprings of Polish culture.

After Adolf Hitler had seized power in Germany, Nazi emblems were soon compulsory nationwide. The swastika became the national emblem of the Third Reich and Poles from the Union of Poles in Germany could not use their national symbols anymore, because they were prohibited. Dr. Jan Kaczmarek approached the supreme council with the following proposal:

“Our acceptance of the swastika and the German Greeting [the Nazi Salute] could only signify agreement to total Germanisation. Therefore we must find a way, without risking the accusation of anti-state activity, of not accepting Heil Hitler and the swastika (…) we should at last have our own national symbol, which would enable us publicly to set ourselves free from the Nazi swastika.”

The Rodło graphic was conceived by graphic designer Janina Kłopocka who sketched the course of the Vistula River, cradle of the Polish people, and Royal Kraków, cradle of Polish culture. The white emblem was placed on a red background – the Polish national colors. It was adopted in August 1932 by the leadership of the Union of Poles in Germany.

This clever modern image combines the Rodło on the right with an explanatory graphic on the left.

Polish image_cropped

The Polish WIKIPEDIA article says in part:

… i zewnętrznie wyglądające jak pół zmodyfikowanej swastyki, a jednocześnie nią nie będące. W ten sprytny sposób, Polacy w Niemczech uniknęli przyjęcia symboliki nazistowskiej.

… and outwardly looked like half a modified swastika, whilst not actually being that. In this clever way, Poles in Germany avoided the adoption of Nazi symbols.

We all have so much to learn about our Polish ancestors!

Please correct any Polish typos, Polish Clerical Errors, etc.
By Noel David Cameron-Baehnisch, 7 Park Road, Angaston 5353 SA;

Brian: I can’t find the above image in the current article. It seems to have been replaced by this one:


Stiglitz on inequality

Joe Stiglitz certainly knows how to make a point, as he did to Fairfax Media in calling our budget changes to health and education “absurd” and a “crime”. He did this on the basis of the relative performance of our system as against the USA. In health, for example, America spends twice what we do as a percentage of GDP for three years shorter life expectancy.

In his Fairfax article he claims:

Two big lessons of economic research over the past 10 years are that inequality is not the result of inexorable laws of economics but rather of policy; and that countries that adopt policies that lead to high inequality pay a high price – inequality not only leads to a divided society and undermines democracy, but it weakens economic performance.

In this he explicitly diverges from Piketty, as he said in conversation with The Conversation:

I think he [Piketty] is absolutely right to emphasise the increase in inequality that has occurred. I think he is absolutely right in his key idea that the period from World War II to 1980 was unusual in the history of capitalism, capitalism has typically been associated with high levels of inequality.

What I differ with is I don’t think it is the inexorable result of economic laws, of economic forces. It is a result of policies and politics, it is the result of rent-seeking behaviour, which the laws and regulations help create or don’t do enough to counter. There is almost a tone in his book that this is just the way of capitalism, and my view is that the kind of inequality that we’ve seen is really a result of the fact that we don’t have a well-functioning market economy.

So to Stiglitz markets are a human artefact and need regulation, and the nature of laws and regulations governing markets matters. As do state provisions and interventions.

Joe Hockey defended his budget saying you can’t expect equality of outcomes, only opportunities. Stiglitz has a more nuanced and interactive view:

While there are many dimensions to growing inequality, perhaps the most invidious is inequality of opportunity. Western democracies pride themselves in providing a level playing field, in which all who would work hard can prosper. But it’s a myth, and nowhere more so than in the US, in spite of the rhetoric about the American dream. The life prospects of a young American are more dependent on the income and education of his parents than is the case in other advanced countries. And there is a vicious circle: inequality of outcomes leads to inequality of opportunity which leads to further inequalities of outcome. The prospect for America’s future is thus still more inequality of outcomes and opportunity.

Stiglitz says that only about 8% of those in the bottom half of the income scale get a college education. He says our Australia’s HECS system works and is the envy of the rest of the world.

But Australia is neither the best nor the worst in terms of equality. In his article in The Guardian he compares our Gini coefficient unfavourably with that of Norway, a resource-rich country that has done a particularly good job of managing its wealth for the benefit of all citizens. He links to the OECDiLibrary. I can make more sense of the CIA Factbook which places Norway on 25 and Australia on 30.3, close to the European Union average of 30.6. The USA looks third world at 45.

On the one hand we are the best in the Anglosphere, with Canada on 32.1, the UK on 32.3 and New Zealand on 36.2. On the other, we are worse than half of Europe.

A third area where we do better is in “basic welfare support and systems of social protection.” In America with

almost one out of four children living in poverty, and with deficient public support, the prospects for their future are not rosy – and this will inevitably translate into weaker overall economic performance for the country.

In Stiglitz’s ideal world one’s opportunities are not constrained by the circumstances of birth. Society should help individuals to become whatever they can be, which is in turn better for society and the economy. In Hockey’s world society gets you to a mythical starting line from which reward is dependent on individual effort. Social support is not universal. The social safety net has holes in it through which fall the unworthy.

I sense that for Stiglitz freedom and equality are integrated through a sense of justice, as for John Rawls. Full individuality is attained in a cooperative and mutually supportive social context. This contrasts with the individualistic competitiveness which seems a leading feature of Hockey’s world.

One day listening to Radio National I did hear about research which purported to show that societies with a Gini coefficient of 33 or more tended to become socially dysfunctional and corrosive. Unfortunately I did not get a name or a link. It seems to me, however, that the sense of outrage felt towards Hockey’s budget stems from the sense that it is taking us as a society into territory where we feel that the social contract between the people and the state has been breached.

The future of emissions trading

While the Senate has not yet passed the bill to repeal the ETS the question arises as to when if ever carbon pricing will return. I’m not a psephologist but I suspect that the Palmer United Party are going to be in a similar position after the next election of having a stake in the balance of power, perhaps more so! Given that Labor appear set on retaining carbon pricing as part of their policy platform and the Greens will sign up to a reasonable scheme, the introduction of carbon pricing appears to depend on either the Liberals growing up or PUP.

Assuming PUP don’t change their mind they have said we won’t have emissions trading until India, China, the USA, Europe, Japan and South Korea do it. So the prospects of carbon pricing appear to depend on the US Tea Party losing a controlling position in the US Senate, or the Australian Tea Party turning into a mature modern party that respects the science.

The most likely to give I think is the PUP. Recall what Bernard Keane said at Crikey:

The key to understanding Palmer is that he’s always about what’s ahead. What’s in the past is irrelevant. The issue of consistency simply doesn’t arise, because Palmer eternally moves forward, toward the next announcement, the next stunt.

Palmer has said that PUP are going to be on the right side of history. The international scene is likely to be somewhat fluid leading up to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Paris in December 2015 where a legally binding post Kyoto deal will be attempted. Negotiations under the UNFCCC are almost continuous but the next big event is in September 2014 when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to a Climate Summit Catalyzing Action:

This Summit will be a different kind of Climate Summit. It is aimed at catalyzing action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society in areas for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions to the Summit that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy.

In preparation for the summit economist Jeffrey Sachs’s Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project has produced an interim report plotting specific measures for the world’s 15 largest economies “to cut their emissions quickly and deeply enough to meet an international agreed goal of limiting warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.”

The 15 economies are, in alphabetical order, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, the USA.

I’ve highlighted the ones nominated by Palmer.

The report

found that it’s technically possible for Australia to get almost all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and to offset the rest by storing carbon in soil or planting more trees.

We can do this while growing our GDP at 2.4% pa.

The importance of Australia’s role in New York in September is possibly two-fold.

Firstly, will Abbott be embarrassing? Will he be negative and disruptive or just irrelevant? It’s extremely unlikely that he will show any vision or learn anything.

I did hear that he was going to be too busy at home destroying Labor’s legacy in climate change to attend. No doubt Julie Bishop will fill in since Greg Hunt is not allowed out alone.

Secondly, and of greater importance, will Palmer as a result of what other leaders say decide that Australia should ride at the head of the peloton and show a bit of leadership without breaking away?

Palmer saves the world!

Clive Palmer Addresses National Press Club

Meanwhile here on the local scene PUP are planning to introduce their ETS on trainer wheels as an amendment to the legislation proposing the demise of the Climate Change Authority.

Driving down new car emissions using offset credit trading

Most cars last for years.  This means that a failure to reduce the average emissions of new cars now will damage the environment for many years to come.  This post looks at the use of offset credit trading to drive down the average emissions of new cars as well as a few other actions that would help.  Continue reading Driving down new car emissions using offset credit trading