1. Storms for Hansen’s grandchildren
John Schwartz at the NYT (posted at Lethal Heating) asks How Has Climate Change Affected Hurricane Dorian?
Michael Mann and Andrew E Dessler respond in Global Heating Made Hurricane Dorian Bigger, Wetter – And More Deadly. With warm seas and more moisture in the atmosphere hurricanes can intensify faster, contain more moisture, more wind power and move slower. This means greater flooding and a increased possibility of coinciding with high tides.
James Hansen worried that all hell would break loose with global warming ans superstorms. He and his colleagues identified huge boulders on the Bahamas which they think were put there by wave action during a storm:
Those storms must have been worse than we’ve got now, and he specifically associates such superstorms with the cessation of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). He has a 15-minute video at Open Mind or for the full scientific story there is the paper Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimatedata, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2◦C globalwarming could be dangerous.
What I find interesting is the relationship of climate models to paleoscience. Hansen says that the IPCC doesn’t recognise paleoscientific information in relation to ice sheet decay. However, he says observations as well as paleoscience indicate that sea level rise and ice sheet decay will accelerate faster than IPCC forecasts.
There is a new IPCC report on the oceans in the offing. The early mail (story here) is that models now do include ice sheet decay, and what they indicate is scaring the bejesus out of everyone. We are looking at 5°C by 2100, 10°C on land in places, and which, in the course of time, would result in catastrophic sea level rise. The IPCC are now looking to paleoscience to provide evidence that it won’t happen so quickly.
The problem is that we are in new territory. We’ve never jerked the system like it’s being jerked now (the forcing is around 1000 times greater than in the Miocene). No-one knows how fast changes will come in the next century or two, how far they will go, and whether they can be stopped at all.
2. Defamation laws need an overhaul
ABC RN’s Big Ideas broadcasts a discussion Australia’s defamation laws – unfit for the digital age with David Rolph, Professor of Law, University of Sydney, Osman Faruqi, Deputy Editor of ABC Life and David Marr, journalist and broadcaster.
What interested me was the comment by David Marr on the Geoffrey Rush case. He said that the article on Rush was some of the worst journalism he had ever seen. He said that there should be space other than the front pages and the law courts for behaviour of the kind reported can be taken and resolved. It should not be the role of journalists to destroy the reputation of a public figure based on hearsay ‘in the public interest’.
The tenor of the session is that Australia’s defamation laws have never been fit for purpose, with the situation made worse by social media. We are also disadvantaged by not having a constitutional or legislated right of free speech right or human rights.
3. Bojo bumbles on
The situation is fluid and impossible to predict, but Bojo is breaking records, the last being that he has been defeated five times now on the floor of the house. This from the New Statesman:
- To sum up: he surely cannot be the PM to ask for a Brexit extension having said he would rather be “dead in a ditch”, he cannot break the anti-no deal law, and he now cannot get an election.
There is now growing speculation is growing in Westminster that Johnson may have to quit as prime minister towards the end of October, possibly to send Corbyn to Brussels as PM to ask for a Brexit delay and then hope to win the election that surely follows.
Basically, Boris Johnson is an entirely unsuitable person to be PM. No-one trusts him to act other than in his own interest.
After this is all over the Brits would do well to reflect on their system of government.
4. Adani not yet home and hosed
John Quiggin summarises where Adani is at now that native title has been extinguished, removing what looked like the last legal impediment. They still need a rail operator and engineering firms to carry the project further. Companies seem to be valuing their reputations rather than becoming involved. Quiggin says:
- Then there’s the operation of the railway. Aurizon seems unlikely to take it on, and another big operator, Genesee & Wyoming Australia, has said it won’t touch it. That leaves Pacific National, whose owners include at least one organisation, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, that’s coming under pressure to divest from fossil fuels.
Quiggin says the whole plan now depends on a crony-capitalist deal involving Adani, his close friend Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and the government of Bangladesh, referring to a pay-walled article How One Billionaire Could Keep Three Countries Hooked on Coal for Decades. In India Adani is facing a slew of court cases, but Quiggin is right:
the broader issue is the need for an orderly transition away from coal-fired electricity generation, and ultimately away from all burning of fossil fuels. If such a transition is to be feasible in the couple of decades available to us, no new thermal coal mines, or major expansion of existing mines, can be justified — and that applies to proposals such as Shenhua’s Watermark mine near Gunnedah and the New Hope mine in Acland, near Toowoomba.
That’s easier said than done. NSW’s Independent Planning Commission has just approved the expansion of a mine on the proviso it only exports to countries that are party to the Paris Agreement on climate change or have a similar plan to bring down carbon emissions:
- Glencore-Peabody’s $381 million United Wambo project in the Hunter Valley will expand an existing open-cut mining operation and develop a new open-cut mine to extract an additional 150 million tonnes of coal for the next 23 years.
Frankly, that is problematic in terms of the current climate emergency.
BTW one of their main customers is Taiwan, which is not a Paris signatory.
Even more problematic is gas where we have the breathless news that a new gas find made off the coast of Victoria close to existing production infrastructure has raised hopes of an increased supply of gas for the energy-short state within little more than two years.
That follows hard on the news of a discovery about 300km north of Perth in ‘Staggering’ WA gas find offers hope for low-cost LNG source.
Some people didn’t get the memo that gas was as bad or worse than coal.
John Wren is not impressed with this pair:
Morrison made up a story about a surge in boats:
Morrison was forced the next day to admit it was a made-up story to keep the fear of asylum seeker boats in the media. The liar from the Shire strikes again. Stupidly, the mainstream media ran with the story as usual.
For ScoMo, worse than telling lies is this:
- Morrison could easily direct Dutton to reverse his decision and be lauded as the popular peacemaker. The fact he hasn’t is indicative that he no longer has control of Dutton. Dutton is the one with the power now and the unfortunate family are the just the pawns in his raw display of naked power. What we are seeing is a lame duck PM and a megalomaniac Home Affairs Minister running roughshod over him, because, well, he can.
In short, Morrison has the title, but Dutton has the power. Be afraid, Australia. Be very afraid.
The article points out that Dutton’s wife Kirralee runs a couple of childcare centres, where you can find this on the website:
- Children need to feel safe and secure in our environment — we are influenced greatly by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child.’
Seems two young Australian girls from Biloela chose their parents badly. Now they are being punished in order to send a message.
Then on economic management:
- On a final note, what does it say about a government that is willing to plunge the nation, 25 million people, into deep recession just to be able to claim they delivered a surplus? There is no morality in that.
In the unlikely event you’re reading this, Morrison, may I quote you Matthew 16:26:
‘For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’
5. Alan Austin spells it out
Australia continues to lag the rest of the world.
Many of the latest published outcomes are at historical lows and push Australia even further down the global rankings. The latest GDP figures released this week corroborate that Australia is in a serious rut, only saved by demand for minerals dug out of the ground and exported.
The mainstream media once again preferred to focus on tangential bits of good news, chiefly by running the government’s narrative:
Austin identifies six areas of failure:
- Annual GDP growth
- Construction activity collapsing
- Productivity flatlined
- Retail trade record low
- Housing starts stagnating
- Housing index declining
Here’s our GDP:
And when we had a world champion treasurer:
Productivity has been flat for years:
On the other hand, corporate profits:
Here’s our chief trouble shooter on the prowl: