Grattan weighs in on renewables

Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute is one of those lucky people who seems to know everything, and repeatedly sets us all to rights. So when he spoke about the Institute’s new report Keeping the lights on: lessons from South Australia’s power shock (Press Release, where you can download the report) my BS detectors were fully operational. On further investigation, however, the report has value, but there is a twist.

In brief, he points out that we have no climate policy that will reduce emissions in our power system beyond the RET to 2020, and that we need climate change and energy policies that combine to produce reliable, affordable and sustainable clean power. Continue reading Grattan weighs in on renewables

UN has a plan for a plan on refugees

Malcolm Turnbull was at the historic UN Summit on Refugees to tell everyone about our world-class effort, though it is doubtful world leaders took very much notice. Australia has unique circumstances, and thankfully, unique solutions. What we may see as our badge of honour, others may see as our badge of shame. Anyway, undaunted by UNHCR estimates of a burgeoning number, reckoned in 2015 at 65.3 million people displaced from their homes, the UN announced The New York Declaration, enunciating principles, promising aid, and plans to conclude a global compact on refugees and immigration in 2018.

Within hours, says Deutsche Welle:

    A UN aid convoy in Syria was bombed, leaving 12 aid workers dead; Kenya is closings the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, pressuring refugees to return to Somalia; and one of the main points of arrival for refugees in Europe, the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos, is burnt down…

Continue reading UN has a plan for a plan on refugees

Saturday salon 24/9

1. Survey on Muslims

Probably the biggest story of the week was the Essential survey asking people whether they would support or oppose a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia. Overall support/oppose was 49% to 40%, with Labor voters 40-48, the LNP 60-31, the Greens 34-59 and Other 58-35. Essential were so shocked they ran the poll again, with the same result.

Just about everyone is shocked, including the higher than expected support amongst Labor and Greens voters. Peter Lewis, the Essential man, says he was floored by the result. He thought Pauline Hanson represented a rump, but not so. Continue reading Saturday salon 24/9

A ray of sunshine

ford-gt_1474412326938_250A carbon revolution is about to launch itself onto the world. It has nothing to do with carbon emissions, or not much, Carbon Revolution is the name of a company that started in someone’s garage in Geelong about a decade ago. It’s about light-weight carbon fibre wheels for cars. The world-first technology was initially used in Formula One, then in May it won a contract to supply wheels for the Ferrari-fighting Ford GT, the fastest and most expensive Ford supercar ever made. It was a move from the race track to the road.

Now the company is raising $50 million to supply lightweight carbon fibre wheels to Ford Motor Company for the $US450,000 ($600,000) Ford GT and $US63,000 Mustang Shelby GT350R sports cars. Continue reading A ray of sunshine

New attack on 18C – what do anti-18C campaigners really want to say?

Louise Clegg, barrister and lecturer in constitutional law has written a piece which was printed in the AFR as Inevitable demise of 18C can’t come soon enough, and online as Why are politicians defending 18c when the High Court won’t?

She regards 18C as self-evidently unconstitutional, and cites a speech by retiring Chief Justice Robert French as indicating that the High Court would find it so.

She calls the QUT case “monstrous”, says the poor students have had their lives changed forever, and “these boys could be anybody’s sons.” Continue reading New attack on 18C – what do anti-18C campaigners really want to say?

Climate clippings 184

1. Arctic sea ice second lowest extent

The Arctic sea ice extent has just reached the second lowest ever, tied with 2007. I got the story from The Guardian, but here’s the story at NSIDC:

    On September 10, Arctic sea ice extent stood at 4.14 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles). This appears to have been the lowest extent of the year and is tied with 2007 as the second lowest extent on record. This year’s minimum extent is 750,000 square kilometers (290,000 square miles) above the record low set in 2012 and is well below the two standard deviation range for the 37-year satellite record. Satellite data show extensive areas of open water in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and in the Laptev and East Siberian seas.

Continue reading Climate clippings 184

Republicans ‘swiftboat’ Hillary on her health

“Swiftboating” entered the American language when the Bush campaign or its associates went out and told outrageous lies about John Kerry’s Vietnam service. It refers to “a harsh attack by a political opponent that is dishonest, personal, and unfair.” Hillary Clinton has been under an even worse attack, dating from well before she nearly fainted from pneumonia at a 9/11 memorial event.

I Googled and came up with some stuff ostensibly Wikileaks, but covered with soft porn click bait. Apart from that there was Infowars claiming secret service leaks, and even worse from Natural News: Continue reading Republicans ‘swiftboat’ Hillary on her health

Saturday salon 17/9

1. Conroy walks out

It’s not a stunt, Senator Stephen Conroy has resigned from parliament, effective from 30 September.

Senior Labor figure and so-called factional warlord, Conroy resigned from parliament by tabling a speech in the senate late on Thursday night. Bill Shorten is oversees and apparently knew, but no-one bothered to tell acting leader Tanya Plibersek. Continue reading Saturday salon 17/9

Climate clippings 183

1. Preparing for driverless cars

Leaders from federal and state road and transport agencies, motoring clubs, local government and engineering and industry groups met in Brisbane in August to consider how government and industry can better collaborate to ensure a smooth transition to the world of connected and automated vehicles.

They are expecting partially automated vehicles on public roads before 2020, and highly automated and driverless vehicles within the ensuing decade. Continue reading Climate clippings 183

18C: stupid white man and venting students

In an opinion piece Free-speech fundamentalists break free of good conscience in the SMH Mark Kenny quoted Senator David Leyonhjelm thus:

    “If you want to take offence, that’s your choice. You have the choice of choosing another feeling. Offence is always taken, not given. So if you don’t want to be offended, you, it’s up to you; don’t be offended.”

Apparently this opinion was expressed on the ABC Insiders program, and was fully supported by One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts. Kenny says:

    David Leyonhjelm is a boorish, supercilious know-all with the empathy of a besser block. And that new Hansonite conspiracy theorist from Queensland? He’s an absurdist fringe-dweller and fellow hate-speech apologist. It’s a case of wacky and wackier.

    Neither of these self-promoting misanthropes would have the first idea about entrenched discrimination. Yet both are experts.

Continue reading 18C: stupid white man and venting students

Racial discrimination and liberal values

In the past week I’ve tried to get my head around the debate on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act following the spectacular signing up by Cory Bernandi of the Coalition senate backbench to diluting the Act. He says it’s not about challenging Malcolm Turnbull, it’s about reconnecting the Liberals with their base. So it’s about the Liberals’ small “l” liberal values, and hence worth a close look.

Length alert: It’s about 3000 words, but I’ve gone down a lot of rabbit holes.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith said the Coalition party room view had moved on reform of the RDA. He will:

    co-sponsor a bill with his fellow Liberal Cory Bernardi and Senate crossbenchers David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day to remove the terms “insult” and “offend” from section 18C of the act.

Continue reading Racial discrimination and liberal values

Saturday salon 10/9

1. Malcolm in a muddle

There’s a new book called The Turnbull Gamble, co-authored by political commentator, journalist and academic Peter van Onselen and politics professor Wayne Errington, who ask whether it was all worth it. There are interviews on Lateline and Late Night Live with Andrew West.

They think his main achievements were first getting the job, and then winning the election by the narrowest of margins. He got the job because he wasn’t Tony Abbott – no-one had any enthusiasm for him personally. Continue reading Saturday salon 10/9