UN meeting failure, so what now?

This is the final version of a post first published on Thursday 26 September. This version contains additional material, and a considerable amount of the earlier version has been pruned.

I hope to do a specific post on the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Meanwhile we have a closing media release from the summit. While it tells us that “77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, [and] while 70 countries announced they will either boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing so”, none of the large emitters were included. Matt McDonald, Associate Professor of International Relations at the The University of Queensland, gives a neat summary with lots of links in Highly touted UN climate summit failed to deliver – and Scott Morrison failed to show up.

One success of the Summit was Greta Thunberg’s amazing speech:

Greta Thunberg “We’ll be watching you!”

This speech was given as part of a panel session during the main conference on Monday 23 September, although I can’t find it on the official agenda.

The speech, 495 words long and lasting about 4:30 minutes, was obviously carefully crafted and prepared, where the phrasing and pauses had meaning. It will long be replayed and studied (text here), and may well earn Thunberg a Nobel Peace Prize. She has already been named one of the 2019 recipients of the Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” and back in July, the Freedom Prize, awarded by the Normandy Region.

Along with the hundreds of millions of protesters who went on strike (see ACF photos), will it have an effect?

Scott Morrison made some patronising remarks about not scaring children, and then went on to say Australia’s record was misrepresented by the media and spurned criticism of Australia’s record on climate change.

Fact-checking found most of his claims questionable or bunkum. Australia is in fact notoriously seen internationally as a climate change laggard. There was excellent debunking in these two ABC RN segments:

At SBS, Scott Morrison’s UN speech was ‘colossal bulls**t’, says Climate Council chief and The New Daily, Climate scientists blast Scott Morrison’s ‘ludicrous’ UN speech.

[Update: From RMIT ABC Fact Check, We fact checked Scott Morrison’s speech to the United Nations. Here’s what we found.

What success Australia has had owes little to if anything to Coalition policies.]

On the involvement of children, Morrison should listen to what Prof Anne Samson said.

Kids have a right to know what is in store for them in the future, and to be involved in what might contribute to change. These rights are enshrined in the UN Rights of the Child. Many will know any way, and adults pretending everything will be lovely is patronising and foolish. Also UN Rights, Item 12 reads:

    Children have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account.

So far the protests have not cut through to fog of denial and inaction. Nevertheless, Natasha Gillezeau and Tim Boyd in their AFR article Cyclone Greta shakes up the climate change debate find that climate change is penetrating common transactions of human life.

    Some business executives were particularly critical of Thunberg’s claim that “we are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of endless economic growth”.

They accused her of “catastrophism”. Then we have Queensland LNP politician George Christensen, who:

    attracted widespread criticism for changing his Facebook page’s cover photo to a picture of the teenager with a red cross over her mouth, declaring his social media page a “Greta Free Zone”.

Guy Rundle at Crikey places Greta Thunberg in a fine tradition of speaking truth to power:

    Paradoxically, what draws people to Thunberg, and various comparable figures, from Martin Luther King Jr to Jesus, is that what she says is simple, rational and forensic in precisely the way that politicians should be.

She’s part of a cult of rationality, if you like.

Scott Morrison, Rundle says, is paid to be rational, but:

    addresses the UN with a speech oozing the sub-Krishnamurtiesque psycho-religious fusion of positive thinking.

    Hillsong have done their work well on Morrison; his version of Christianity perfectly expresses the degree to which it has become an adjunct to the narcissistic cult of the self, a device to support flagging spirits and instil self-belief by turning away from objective truth.

    Morrison’s concern at teenagers feeling horror and despair at the future to come is quite likely genuine. But the solution — to address the thinking about reality with other thinking about non-reality — marks him, and others, as the true cultists, devotees of the childish belief that life is specially arranged in one’s own favour.

Thunberg has apparently received the usual voluminous quota of threats, porn, and racist messages. She chose to answer one troll named Donald Trump, who happens to be POTUS. She asks quite reasonably, why adults mock ‘children for promoting science’.

At the Summit she was addressing a room full of presidents, prime ministers, mayors and business leaders, who have stolen her dreams.

    “You have stolen my dreams, my childhood, with your empty words,” Thunberg, the 16-year-old powerhouse activist from Sweden, said. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about are your fairy tales of money and eternal economic growth.”

In the end, after accusing the current establishment of essentially being too immature to face reality and see it like it is, she draws a line:

    You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

As Richard Flanagan says, it’s not so much “I have a dream” as “I have a nightmare”.

The ABC RN Signal team in examining Is climate change an excuse to break the law? asked what would satisfy the protesters?

The answer is a bit vague, but it amounts to ‘appropriate’ co-ordinated global action.

Greta Thunberg pretty much nailed what the IPCC is offering us, and so spectacularly failing to achieve:

    The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5C degrees, and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

    Maybe 50% is acceptable to you. But those numbers don’t include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of justice and equity. They also rely on my and my children’s generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us – we who have to live with the consequences.

Remember, with 1.5°C, 70 t0 90% of the world’s reefs die, sea levels will continue to rise, dangerous weather and wildfires will increase. Tipping points are likely already in play. If a plane had a 1 in 100 chance of crashing, you would not fly in it. What we are being offered by the authorities is a sick joke. The emperor has no clothes.

The only way to aspire to a safe climate is to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations as rapidly as possible, while transforming our economy to net zero also as a matter of urgency. 2050 is way too late.

The future does not need to be energy poor. There are paths in new technology opening up where we can provide food and shelter plus achieve economic growth while actually restoring the ecology of the planet.

We just need a paradigm shift in our thinking towards recognising that the present climate is already unacceptably dangerous, and that we need to aspire to achieving a safe climate.

We need to craft a narrative of genuine hope, rather than just a list of grievances, however warranted.

Notes: First, Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard University, has researched hundreds of campaigns over the last century and found that:

    nonviolent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns. And although the exact dynamics will depend on many factors, she has shown it takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

If the population of Australia is around 25 million, that would require about 875,000. The demonstrations on Friday came in at less than half that number, so there is a way to go.

They were still impressive, though, and said to be the biggest we have seen.

Second, Belinda Xie and Ben Newell’s research Why attending a climate strike can change minds (most importantly your own) shows that at least the protesters benefit, basically through feelings of solidarity and empowerment.

Not to be sneezed at.

Finally, First Dog on the Moon addresses THE GRETA THUNBERG PROBLEM, so many men freaking out about the tiny Swedish climate demon, asking:

    Is she the brainwasher or brainwashee?

Update:

This post at Phys Org, which talks about who Greta travels with (her dad, for starters), that she writes her own material, but talks for input to leading scientists like Johan Rockström, Stefan Rahmstorf, Kevin Anderson, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Glen Peters and others.

Update 2 (5 October 2019):

From Climate Home News This is what the world promised at the UN climate action summit.

A complete list, for the record.

56 thoughts on “UN meeting failure, so what now?”

  1. I have to go to work today, so I’ve posted this one rather than leave it. Please consider it as a final draft. I’ll have another look tonight.

  2. I’ve corrected a few glitches, added this photo at the end:

    In the middle I asked whether the protests and Thunberg’s speech would have an effect. I haven’t really answered that, so more to do tonight.

  3. I’m working on this post this afternoon (Sat 28/9). When I’ve finished I think it will be rather different. I thought the changes would be trivial, but new perspectives have come to light.

    Sorry about that!

  4. Finished! I won’t do that again!

    The final has new material and left large chunks of the earlier one out, hopefully to be used elsewhere.

  5. Brilliant work Brian! You are a great compilation artist, and becoming ever better. I applaud your growing ability to recognise that a person obtaining a title does not necessarily make them worthy of it, and that they need to be exposed for the danger that inappropriate people in public positions pose to the greater community.

  6. One kid I know who didn’t go to the climate said he didn’t go because he felt

    It would make no difference.

    The reaction to Greta and the climate strike shows that many politicians felt threatened by the strike.

  7. Thanks, BilB. It’s a lot of work and I get a bit frustrated by what I don’t get done.

    John D, if next year is even bigger, it may have some effect. Geoff Cousins says that you just have to keep on and on, and eventually change will come.

    However, taking CO2 out of the air and all the other things that need to be done, do require commitment from the major powers and co-ordinated action. I’m hoping that China realising that sea level rise is coming to get them may be the tipping point.

    Meanwhile in the UK Labour conference backs radical move to work towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and Labour unveils £83bn state windfarms plan before key climate vote .

  8. There’s a lot of stuff going down all around the world right now. In my (flawed?) living memory I don’t recall so many theatres in play at the same time. Maybe it was always going on, and the difference is the technical ability to share stuff pretty much in real time.
    Something that has made me wonder is the seemingly blind adherence that significant numbers of the population hold for various “doctrines”. E.g. flat earth, Elvis lives, climate denial and of course loyalty to Trump. In the face of overwhelming argument, there is passionate defence of what are usually positions without merit.
    I’ve been trying to understand how this happens, what gets lodged in the brain that stops the rational flow of thought process? Whilst I think many of us suffer that sort of impediment in one frame or another, in general we can be persuaded by logic and evidence. However, in the case of American Republican politicians their loyalty is seemingly impervious to any Trump action, not matter how serious or destructive. The New York Times Peter Wehner has posted “What’s the matter with Republicans?” today.
    I think it gives me at least a little insight into where the rigidity and sacrifice of principle comes from not just in Trump world but in other discussions too. It’s a bit of a read but here it is:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/opinion/republicans-trump-impeachment.html?te=1&nl=david-leonhardt&emc=edit_ty_20190930?campaign_id=39&instance_id=12737&segment_id=17458&user_id=53104f5403cadd20a5f1c3fe6fd24430&regi_id=85622723

    Lastly, it seems that Trump prevailed upon Morrison along the same lines as he did in the Ukraine. Not sure of the timeline but I’m not sure whether Morrison made this public or it came from the US. Either way we should demand a transcript, and we should be told what response Australia offered.

  9. Geoff, I’ve been looking at how we set climate targets, and came upon this post Climate crunch: the fierce urgency of now from January 2011.

    The post is a reprise of one I did in November 2009, which didn’t survive the transfer of posts from Larvatus Prodeo. The post begins with:

    Back in 2003 James Hansen was saying that we had about 10 years to get ourselves organised to tackle global warming and climate change. You ignore him at your peril.

    Well, policy makers did ignore him. As for me, I peaked in extreme language at that point. I was often seen as an alarmist, but the facts were alarming.

    I could speculate as to why, but I actually have a work day today.

    I try not to get too emotional, because it inhibits perception and gets in the way of effective response.

    Morrison, when he was newly PM and was asked about emissions reduction said he’d never thought about it. But he did seem to enjoy stroking a lump of coal, which had been polished so that it didn’t dirty his hands, shirt and suit.

    He’s a shallow man, and contemptible if you want to waste emotion on him, which I don’t.

  10. It’s difficult to accept that the PM has never thought about emissions reductions, given that the idolised PM Howard took an emissions reduction policy – however flawed – to the general election that he lost to Mr Rudd.

    Does someone reach the PM’s position while lacking a political memory?

    And once there, does he expect voters to forget what we’ve all been through??

  11. GH: This bit from the link you gave above says a lot that is relevant.

    “All people in elective politics are interested in self-preservation,” a Republican who served in the Senate told me. “Any negative comment by a Republican in Congress about the president would invite trouble in the next election either in the form of opposition in the next primary or lack of support in the general.”

    “Until Republicans feel their existence is threatened by Trump’s mendacity and corruption, most will be blind to it,” a former Republican presidential aide told me. “That isn’t to say there won’t be leading indicators of potential moral restoration,” he said, “but in the meantime, the cowed stay in line like the trophies of a bully.”

    “This storm has more staying power than most,” he added, ominously.

    There’s also this to factor in: For many Republican members of Congress, the president is more popular among Republican voters in their districts and states than they are. Even in the districts of moderate Republicans, Trumpist true-believers are the most vocal supporters of the party, the ones who do the essential grass-roots work. So to go crosswise of a sitting president of one’s own party invites political trouble, which most politicians seek to avoid. That is especially true when it comes to Mr. Trump, who specializes in savaging Republicans — and everyone else, for that matter — who dare to criticize him.

    “They don’t want to get bludgeoned,” a person who served in Congress told me. “Their mind is looking for a rationale for not having to do it.” In addition, this person added, Mr. Trump has “conditioned people in the base so much so that it’s just ‘us versus them’ and that if you give an inch on him, you’re just giving the other side what they want. You’ve made yourself a ‘useful idiot.’”
    “It’s easier to stay with the tribe,” this individual told me. “It’s easier to stay with the team.” Even when the leader of the team is thoroughly corrupt.

    I think you need to keep in mind that the Democrats with their support for things like free markets have made things much much harder for ordinary working class white men and their partners to the point where they have switched their support to the Republicans and the Republicans Tea party ally/invasive parasite. Trump is seen as a champion by many of these people. People who are quite capable of throwing out the politicians who voted for a Trump impeachment when it comes to the primaries where they have a chance to vote for Trump supporting candidates.
    It is worth noting that the LNP appears to be attracting support from people who used to be Labor voters.

  12. Scott Morrison pledges Australia’s help as Donald Trump investigates Mueller probe ‘hoax’

    US President Donald Trump asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for Australia’s help in investigating the origins of the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference.

    Key points:
    Former UK high commissioner Alexander Downer helped trigger an initial FBI investigation into Mr Trump’s links with Russia
    US Attorney-General William Barr has been running a counter-investigation into the Mueller report
    The Prime Minister’s office says Australia is ready to help Mr Barr’s probe
    A Federal Government spokesperson confirmed the request, which is believed to have happened weeks ago after Mr Trump criticised Australia over the investigation by former FBI head Robert Mueller.

    Bill Shorten said on the topic:

    Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten demanded Mr Morrison release the full transcript of his conversation with Mr Trump.
    “Prime Minister Morrison got a very warm, indeed special reception from President Trump. Mr Morrison needs to clean up the perception that perhaps the special reception was returned for special favours done,” he said.
    “The Australian people value and cherish the American alliance, but no Australian wants to see our Prime Minister having the perception of being a lapdog to a particular US president or American domestic political agenda.”

    Both Australia and the US should stay outside of the others internal politics and be seen to be doing so.

  13. Thanks JD. I’m still digesting why people can hang on so tightly to concepts that are irrational.
    I’m also not quite clear on how the electoral colleges are linked to voters. Historical money seems to play a very powerful role as does linkage to powerful people. I’m leaning towards the idea that American democracy is way different to what I thought, and I find that embarrassing.

  14. GH: US democracy was developed in a world where most leaders were kings, the leader of the US and many of the writers who said “all men are created equal” owned slaves and ponies were the way voting results were carried across the country. It was also a place that had a civil war in which it was the Republican party that supported freeing the slaves.
    Someone said to me once that one of the strengths of the US is that it is capable of making dramatic changes. Perhaps Trumps real gift to the country will be his demonstration of many of the weaknesses of the US.

  15. Geoff, John is right. The US system was developed in the 18th century, when there was a widespread distrust for notions of democracy. As I understand it, the electoral college system was designed to make sure the voters got it right, voters at that time being restricted to property-owning males.

    Apparently it is still not mandatory in all states for the ‘electors’ to vote in line with the actual vote of the people, and Google told me that:

    Ultimately, Trump received 304 electoral votes and Clinton garnered 227, as two faithless electors defected from Trump and five defected from Clinton. Trump is the fifth person in U.S. history to become president while losing the nationwide popular vote.

    The short story is that the electoral college votes in each state is equal to the number of HoR reps plus senators.

    I can’t understand the rationale for winner takes all in each state.

    There are explainers at HuffPost and at Wikipedia.

  16. Every phrase of Greta Thunberg’s speech is being picked up.

    Jennifer Ellen Good of Brock University in Greta Thunberg’s Radical Climate Change Fairy Tale Is Exactly The Story We Need latches onto:

    “We are in the beginning of mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”

    Good is telling us that we lack awareness of the notion that eternal economic growth is basically a Ponzi scheme which is now catching up with us.

    The issue is too big for me to tackle in a blog comment right now.

  17. JD I sense that there is something deep and fundamentally wrong with American politics, and that the concept of democracy is used as a tool to mask the real machinations of government in the US. If democracy does exist in the US, it is “managed” and manipulated such that it looks like the citizens are in charge, but really their influence is seriously capped – unless you have great wealth.
    I really don’t know how to articulate my thoughts, probably because I just don’t know enough about the topic. But it is important to me because I see other leaders taking heart from Trump’s brazen abandonment of rules and process. E.g. Boris who thumbs Parliament and Morrison who does not even attend the UN Climate Change event.

  18. John Hewson had some interesting things to say about climate action. This included:

    I think it’s quite notable that of the 100 largest economies in the world, 69 are companies, not countries,”
    “And we’ve been looking to government for leadership — in actual fact, maybe it’s these companies that are sending us the signals that need to be responded.”

    Jumpy and I both say something like this in different ways from time to time.
    Sure there are companies that think “long term” is after lunch and “greed is good” but the more thoughtful ones have long term plans that influence what they do in the short term and what they pressure global governments to do.
    When I started work one of the things I worked on was helping to find the coal supplies that BHP steelworks would need in 25 yrs time. If governments do nothing much for 25 yrs companies that take a longer view can see a crisis coming that will be dealt with by massive disruption driven by the massive environmental crisis that government dithering will have given us.

  19. Found out today that Shell see themselves as an energy company. Apparently they’ve bought Sonnen.

    They also own coal seam gas assets, which is not good, except people are still buying it. There they are monitoring fugitive gas with droned, although there is no requirement on them to do so, and fixing big leaks.

  20. Geoff, if you didn’t hear it, you may be interested in Waleed Aly and Scott Stevens talking about Was betrayal inevitable? together with Nader Hashemi of the University of Denver.

    The important question raised was, Is it OK to dump the Kurds because they were held to be of no interest to the US? In other words, the ethics of the situation was trumped by state interest.

    Hashemi said there was continuity of policy from Obama to Trump in that in 2013 the Syrians crossed a red line by gassing civilians, and Obama did nothing.

    He said Obama’s inaction could be held to have produced the surge of refugees into Europe, which changed Europe forever and arguably gave the world Brexit.

    Now a revived ISIS and all the other stuff that will happen has spillover effects on us all.

    He thinks Sanders would have acted more ethically.

  21. Brian: My take is that Trump uses an impression of insanity to unsettle his opponents and make it easier to win. Not sure how much hard nosed logic is behind the impression. My take also is that Trump understands the angst of the white working class who have seen their lives and the lives of their friends deteriorate as a result the Democrat push for free trade, job preferences for women and minorities and competition for jobs that are being taken by people crossing the Mexican border.
    I suspect he will be a president that is considered in a more favorable manner in hindsight. At least in some quarters.

  22. John, it’s exceedingly hard to know. I may have said before, I heard an American commentator who says the Erdogan and Putin know how to push his buttons and have taken to ringing him on the weekend when he’s playing golf without his minders.

    Others suggest that the Syrian withdrawal was basically a distraction, to make people think and talk less about his legal troubles.

    I suspect he wants re-election in large part because it’s a good way of staying out of jail.

    Nevertheless history may see him differently. You can always change the past.

  23. Brian:

    Nevertheless history may see him differently. You can always change the past.

    You can also see what happens as a consequence of something that looked pretty stupid at the time.

  24. John Davidson
    OCTOBER 20, 2019 AT 10:13 AM

    My take too.
    Also, he’s not a war hawk like Bush jr.
    The way I see it is he’s not really interested in having Americans killed and billions wasted on foreign squabbling.

    But the legacy corporate MSM are dying and panicking.
    So now, apparently, ISIS both was created by US intervention in the Middle East and going to be recreated by the US non intervention.

    If Trump goes to war with a Country it’ll be very short and with assured victory.

  25. Brian, John, Jumpy

    An interesting aspect of that RN discussion (see Brian, 19th Oct; 11.23pm above) about Northern Syria and the Kurds, was the unchallenged assertion that Pres Obama had made disastrous judgements and moves with respect to Syria and Mr Assad.

    Obama.

    Heralded in his time as a breath of fresh air, a sane and rational leader, a master of rhetoric; and faithful to his wife.

    Obama.

    Awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Obama.

    Some said he would deal with the Islamic nations more intelligently because he had spent years in Indonesia as a kiddie.

    Obama.

    Doesn’t take long for a new (restrospective) view to emerge….

    And BTW Donald Trump campaigned on withdrawing US troops from several Middle East battlefields.

  26. Ambi: Republicans tend to be better at ending wars than the Democrats who seem to be better at getting into wars. (Was Bush a covert Democrat? Or just someone who had to react somehow to 10/11?) Republicans can do this because they are perceived to be tough on… and don’t have to prove it.
    A similar argument can be used to explain why Bob Hawke was so successful at reforming industrial relations.

  27. Brian thanks for the links. On the first (Syria) I thought that a situation that was clearly complex could not be improved by one of the players suddenly quitting. And whilst their numerical presence was small, because it was America it carried considerable extra menace. That the US appeared to change its view so precipitously had, I believe, the effect of loosening widely held confidence that the US would back its allies. It also confirms that Trump does not treat foreign policy as a serious thing. Rather, he see’s the world as some kind of school yard and a bit of conflict is OK.
    Is Trump mentally great or competent? I don’t think so. He shows little depth of thought in terms of governance but as a strategist for his own agenda I suspect he is clever. His governance has not “improved” over the term of his presidency.
    How did he get into office? First please accept that the US media are highly focused on America, and international perspective is not well reported. That inhibits comparative criticism. It has improved, but America’s pleasure in itself runs deep, even if there is growing discontent.
    Somehow Trump understood that there was a significant demographic that was unhappy. With his aides and the help of Cambridge Analytica, he identified then targeted that population so effectively that it was highly instrumental in his election campaign. It’s accepted also that outside influences (Russia and maybe others) used social media false accounts to persuade many voters to support Trump. Trump is currently using Facebook to spread his “message”, spending up to $1.5 million per week (sic). I think Trump exploited some of the American vulnerabilities very well – his strategic talent.

    How will history record Trump? Well if he does a deal before impeachment/removal he will probably have some say in how the history books will record him. If he takes on the impeachment and loses (likely) all the crap stuff will be on full public view and in the chronicles for writers to wax on about.
    I think we should be ready for a bit more to emerge from the present Trump saga. I’m suspecting that there is an agreement between Trump and Putin based on Trump’s apparent subservience to Putin. His weak posture on North Korea is questionable, and maintaining an inept trade war with China is inexplicable. Unless there is some base strategy being played out.
    Lastly, Trump is a liar extraordinaire. Last count was 13,000 lies since elected. He lies routinely because I think, nothing for him is truth-based. I read that somewhere and it took me sometime to sort it in my head because I have never met anyone like that. But if you look at some of the video of young Trump you will quickly see the old Trump – he has always been like he is.

  28. Yes Mr A.
    The media, Hollywood and international leftist organisations ( UN, EU, Nobel Society, WWF, PETA, …etc, etc, + 100s ) spoke of Obama like he was the second of Jesus Christ himself.
    The same mobs talk of Trump as the Antichrist.

    Despite ( or perhaps partially because) of this, Trump looks to have a good approval rating.

    Just type “ Trumps achievements list “ and “ Obamas achievement list “ for fun. ( disregard any MSM articles )

    I can’t see how he’ll loose 2020 with the opponents the DNC are putting forward.

  29. Jumpy I don’t know where you keep your head, but I suspect it has not seen sunlight for some time.
    You don’t need the so-called Fake News to form an opinion on the Trump administration. Information from Trump himself and his associates is sufficient for impeachment and despite Fox news.
    If Trump is re-elected (a pretty long bow) then I would personally downgrade my already diminished assessment of the US as a respectable entity in the world.

  30. Geoff, I’m not going to reciprocate with a degrading insult, I just have a different opinion based on things I hold value in.
    I don’t give a rats arse what comes out of a persons mouth. What they do is what matters.

    Trump has even done more good for Black Americans than Obama did if one looks into the issue honestly.

    I’m a function over form sorta Fella, performance over rhetoric, on road performance over looks, bells and whistles.

    You be you, obviously, but there’s no need to lower yourself by insulting.

  31. Sorry Jumpy I tried to make it a soft comment. I don’t often react to your views but this time, I needed to say something.
    You don’t care what comes out of a persons mouth? You don’t care if it’s truth or lies? I’m sure you do care – but say so if you don’t. Now Trump lies, always has. Especially since he became president. Undeniable Jumpy.
    You say Trump has done more for blacks than Obama? Please justify that.

  32. You say Trump has done more for blacks than Obama? Please justify that.

    Unemployment rate at all time lows, tax cuts and regulation reductions, prisoner reforms,…. easy info to find if one looks.
    I’m not going to supply you with these fish today, rather encourage you to go catch them for yourself for your lifetime.

    The bigger question is what materially did Obama achieve for Blacks ( or anyone) in America in his 2 terms ?

    Perhaps more Blacks reliant on food stamps.

  33. Jumpy you show similar traits to the rusted on Republicans that are overseeing the demise of perhaps the greatest country ever.

    I don’t think that any lexicon of fact will sway you – but that’s OK because it is not my mission to correct you. However, at some point in time I hope you will be able to see what a pox Trump is on mankind generally, and that such people can cast some kind of spell that propels them into dangerous power. Your history recall might see the coming of Hitler to power as another example of a nation letting a complete f**k up hold the keys to a nation.
    Worth remembering that Trump is in real time happening right now, not in the past. You should hope that he is brought to book for his crimes as soon as possible.

  34. Geoff, Nancy Pelosi has six committees working on Trump. There already is heaps on the record, and there will be more. However, impeachment needs the HoR then 67 Senators. The Democrats all of their own and 17 Republicans, I think.

    Unlikely.

    My son Mark reckons he is odds on to be re-elected.

    As to what happened the first time, it was so narrow that all narratives are true, including Coney blowing Clinton out of the water over emails.

  35. GH: Bit skeptical about lifetime claims since the article provided no detailed data. A large modern wind tower produces a lot of power in 20 yrs. How much power does it take to build a windmill blade?

  36. The article seemed to focus on the inability to recycle turbine blades, which is hardly the main factor.

    (But university press releases are often written by authors with little technical understanding. Just saying.)

  37. My biggest problem with wind turbines, as a piece of infrastructure, are not held to the same standard of environmental impact studies compared to dams.

    A dam proposal came be stopped by the existence of a turtle in the vicinity ( silly me thinking turtles like more water security)
    But rare Australian birds and bats are of no concern to “ environmentalists “ where wind farms or concentrated solar thermal projects are proposed.

  38. Not too long now and I think solar will be much preferred to wind, except in NH high latitudes.

    Wind is generated by temperature difference, or so I’m told, and I’m further told that as a planet warms there will be less of it, apart from storms and cyclones, and much of that happens over water and can’t be harvested.

  39. Brian: Global warming moves weather and related wind patterns and may turn what are currently good wind power sites into duds. Having some wind power in the mix means some power may be generated at night or on overcaste days.

  40. Yes, John. My unreliable memory says that wind will hold up better over sea than land for some reason, perhaps because warming will be less.

  41. Brian the wind is indeed influenced by differential heat and also the Coriolis effect. Perhaps correct that temperature differential generates the wind and Coriolis contributes to direction.
    Climate change will likely affect wind behaviour but perhaps the changes will be a function of the “new” hot locations with the cooler air chasing after those.
    I think wind holds up better over ocean because it is less interrupted by physical landform. It also picks up moisture that may add to its inertia – not sure about that.

    I share the scepticism that wind farm blades ruin the “renewable” claim of wind generation. The article claiming this is not yet available but I will check if/when it becomes available.

  42. Back on wind turbines, the following link might be helpful. It looks like this is pay walled but there is often a work-around. The abstract is helpful.
    “Fatigue of composites for wind turbines” (1991)
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0142112306000624
    Note that in 1991 carbon fibre was not common, it was good old glass fibre used with a bonding resin. Carbon fibre is actually quite old in concept but only in the past few decades has it been incorporated into so many goods. See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_fibers
    The actual service life of wind farms may well be theoretical. Back in the day, aircraft were held together with animal based gelatin glues. Whilst other glues were developed (PVA, urea formaldehyde) the service life of the old glue was well understood. The new glues had not stood the test of time so animal glues held on. Eventually fibre glass “composites” prevailed and some aircraft were built using fibreglass. They were great but the service life was unknown, and so they have been inspected regularly to ascertain the service life of fibreglass. Then as carbon fibre emerged, the problem was re-visited. Service life was unknown so it looks like an arbitrary span of 20 years may have been agreed. In that time new resins have emerged that will affect the service life of composite structure/components.
    I think the jury is still out.

  43. At times when I check NEMWatch at night SA is using 95% gas, and there doesn’t seem to be much wind available in Victoria or NSW.

    Andrew Blakers, when he checked weather records going back decades, may have got results that reflected the past rather than the future. Not sure how much difference that would make.

  44. Way back on October 20 somebody wrote

    easy info to find if one looks. I’m not going to supply you with these fish today, rather encourage you to go catch them for yourself for your lifetime.

    Today I was at a loose end so I went fishing, and it turns out one answer to somebody’s query

    The bigger question is what materially did Obama achieve for Blacks ( or anyone) in America in his 2 terms ?

    would be Unemployment rate at all time lows . (it helps if you can read a graph)

  45. For anyone interested in following the chief monkey in the circus that the USA has become, this page would be an invaluable resource. I feel obliged to offer a fair
    warning: it deals in facts.

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