Scientists, bushfires and climate change

The Orroral Fire on the outskirts of Canberra on Tuesday 28th January 2020. Photograph taken by Prof. Eelco Rohling.

On Monday 3 February ABC’s Media Watch examined how News Corp’s loudest voices denied or downplayed the role of climate change. Those voices included Peta Credlin, Chris Kenny and Alan Jones:

    Passionate denial that the bushfires should make us act on climate change runs right across the Murdoch media in this country reaching an audience of millions.

    But it’s also echoed by Murdoch’s Fox News in the US…

I was astonished at how loud and shouty these people were.

Now an open letter on the scientific basis for the links between climate change and bushfires in Australia has been written by seven scientists and supported by, at last count, 446 scientists with research expertise across the fields of climate, fire and weather science. It appears under the heading There is no strong, resilient Australia without deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

They say:

    Scientific evidence unequivocally links human-caused climate change to the increasing risk of frequent and severe bushfires in the Australian landscape. That same science tells us these extreme events will only grow worse in the future without genuine concerted action to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases.

On the scientific basis, they say:

    Human-caused climate change is increasing the risk of fires in various regions of the world, including Australia. Fire activity is controlled by four limiting factors: (i) a fuel load (vegetation biomass); (ii) the fuel being dry enough to burn; (iii) an ignition source (anthropogenic or lightning); and (iv) weather that is conducive to carrying that fire through the landscape (e.g. high temperatures, wind speed and low humidity). Climate influences all four of these factors. (Emphasis added)

They say that human activities have so far caused 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. Here in Oz:

    2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record. The average temperature for the whole of Australia in 2019 was 1.5°C above the 1961–1990 climatological average, and 1.9°C above the 1911–1940 average, noting that the national temperature dataset commences in 1910.

Remember that over 70% of the earth’s surface is ocean, and that on land higher latitudes will warm more.

In 2015 CSIRO and BOM compiled a report on climate projections for selected Australian cities. Their findings are cause for concern, and probably would now be revised upwards. We are currently on the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) 8.5 pathway, which, for example, would give Brisbane an extra 3.7°C average temperature in 2090, and 55 days over 35°C instead of 12 days now, with ‘now’ being the 1986-2005 average.

For Dubbo and Canberra the numbers are significantly worse. In Dubbo over 35°C days increase from 22 to 65, over 40°C days from 2.5 to 17. Under 2°C reduce from 39 to 6.

In Brisbane rainfall decreases in all seasons, while evapotranspiration quadruples.

Back to the scientists’ bushfire letter, in December 2019 the Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) had the highest fire potential of any month since records began in 1950.

Higher variability has come with changes in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), in the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), and in interaction between them. This time ENSO was neutral, but:

    During spring and summer of 2019 a rare sudden stratospheric warming event occurred over Antarctica and caused the SAM to temporarily shift to a negative state. A negative SAM at this time of year increases the forest fire danger in eastern Australia by reducing cloud cover and drawing hot and dry air across the continent to the eastern states. It is not yet known if climate change will alter sudden stratospheric warming events over Antarctica in the future.

During the Q&A Bushfires Special a woman asked whether 2019-2020 represented the ‘new normal’. The answer in ‘no’, there is not going to be any stability; we will experience change and scientists are telling us that such change will be worse than we have experienced to date.

If we want to do the best by our children and grandchildren we need to mitigate – hard!

I must say, however, that I was disappointed in this statement in the letter:

    Australia is part of the Paris Agreement and has a commitment to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, which would significantly reduce the intensification of Australia’s bushfire risk along with many other climate change risks.

That phrase I highlighted covers a multitude of sins. In brief it means, the situation will get worse, but we can take action to mitigate the harm. In the last section they say:

    Scientific evidence indicates a need for immediate action to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions and manage a rapid transition to net zero emissions by 2050 if we are to limit the many climate change risks facing the Australian people, economy and environment.

Last December I asked Has the climate tipped? when commenting on an article Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against by Timothy M. Lenton, Johan Rockström, Owen Gaffney, Stefan Rahmstorf, Katherine Richardson, Will Steffen and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Some of them signed the bushfire statement, knowing full well that the climate is already dangerous and that net zero emissions by 2050 is insufficient, too slow and cannot be the endgame.

Prof John Quiggin in a recent article Humans are good at thinking their way out of problems – but climate change is outfoxing us says he thinks the climate has tipped here in Oz, so it is out of human control. In some areas of human activity such as farming, we are exhausting our capacity to adapt to climate change:

    There is growing evidence that Earth’s systems are heading towards climate “tipping points” beyond which change becomes abrupt and unstoppable. But another tipping point is already being crossed – humanity’s capacity to adapt to a warmer world.

In my long-read article Climate emergency – ecological sustainability within planetary boundaries, and a safe climate I cited James Hansen:

    Hansen warned that if we reached 400ppm by 2015, as we would under BAU, then dangerous climate change would be unavoidable.

    He advocated no new coal-fired power without sequestration in advanced countries from 2012, ditto for developing countries by 2022, bulldoze the lot by 2050. He saw sequestration as 10 years away as an available technology, but then we should use it to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere, ie. from 2017.

He said that in 2007.

I suspect that in retrospect we will see the record global surface temperatures of 2016 and the crazy hot northern hemisphere summer of that year as a turning point. The Australian bushfire season of 2019-2020 has simply highlighted in a spectacularly obvious way that dangerous climate change has not been avoided, it is with us now.

That long-read post also goes into a 2015 paper mainly hatched by Johan Rockström and Will Steffen Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. The paper has 29 authors, including H. Schellnhuber, J. Hansen, T.M. Lenton (known for tipping points) and T. Hughes (known for coral reefs).

A more readable version is Johan Rockström, Will Steffen, et al A safe operating space for humanity Sept 2015, which says about climate change:

    We propose that human changes to atmospheric CO2 concentrations should not exceed 350 parts per million by volume, and that radiative forcing should not exceed 1 watt per square metre above pre-industrial levels. Transgressing these boundaries will increase the risk of irreversible climate change, such as the loss of major ice sheets, accelerated sea-level rise and abrupt shifts in forest and agricultural systems. Current CO2 concentration stands at 387 p.p.m.v. and the change in radiative forcing is 1.5 W m−2 (ref. 11).

(The concept was originally aired earlier in 2009, before the UN Copenhagen climate conference, which famously went off the rails.)

These articles and the planetary boundaries concept constitute a meeting of great minds. These are the only references I know where Hansen and Schellnhuber are joint authors. Rockström has now succeeded Schellnhuber as head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Sadly, we, climate scientists generally (there are exceptions), the IPCC and the UNFCCC, have taken no notice.

The planetary boundary of 350 ppm was passed in September 1988, two months after James Hansen’s Senate testimony made climate change a public policy issue.

There never was any burnable carbon for a safe climate.

In the bushfire letter, rather than hope of a safe climate we are being offered as a desirable goal a climate that is dangerous, but has a chance of not being catastrophic.

A different view prevails at Breakthrough, National Centre for Climate Restoration, where a new discussion paper Delivering Maximum Protection: An effective goal for a climate emergency response by Adam P.A. Cardilini and Philip Sutton says:

    The climate is already unacceptably dangerous. This means that the world is too hot, there is too much greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and there is no budget of acceptable further emissions. The Paris +1.5°C goal is not safe or acceptable. A safe climate needs to be restored by stopping emissions immediately and by taking the excess greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere as fast as possible.

‘Immediately’ is, of course, impossible. We should have taken emergency action after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. We thought we did with the Kyoto Protocol, but as Greta Thunberg keeps reminding us the emissions just keep going up. Paul Gilding’s recent paper Climate Emergency Defined teases out the concept of climate emergency. I go into this more in my long-read post, but a real climate emergency means a full-on, whole-of-government effort and around 5-10% of GDP. We apply maximum effort, and in that sense preset targets are not the main issue. We need drawdowns ASAP as well as cuts in emissions.

Most of the declared ‘climate emergencies’ do not cut the mustard. Zero emissions by 2050, or indeed 2040, do not constitute emergency action.

But that is another story, which necessarily involves the political warrant to take.

The only MSM story I saw was in the SMH – ‘Strong links’ between worsening bushfires and climate change: experts

For those who think we are heading down the crapper, there is a forum for you. Join Prof Jem Bendall’s Deep Adaptation Forum:

    an international space to connect and collaborate with other professionals who are exploring implications of a near-term societal collapse due to climate change. There is no need to wait for your fellow professionals to wake up to our predicament. Through this free forum you can join regular webinars, seek advice and co-create shared resources for your field of expertise.

      Only together might we extend the glide and soften the fall. If you are starting on integrating your awareness of likely near-term collapse into your personal, professional and political life, then this forum is for you. – Professor Jem Bendell, originator of the Deep Adaptation concept.

242 thoughts on “Scientists, bushfires and climate change”

  1. Does anyone know if Peta Credlin, Chris Kenny or Alan Jones have any qualifications that inform them about climate science?

  2. No more or less than Lara Tingle, David Spears, John Quiggan or whoever Michaela Whitbourn I’m guessing Geoff.

  3. False equivalence Mr J.
    Laura Tingle & John Quiggin aren’t disputing the science. The other two I don’t know.

  4. Jumpy, Laura Tingle, David Speers and John Quiggin don’t take it upon themselves to disagree with the vast bulk of climate scientists.

    They have to be 99.9999% (or however risk of 1 in a million is represented) sure that every climate scientist is wrong, otherwise they are irresponsibly putting the public at risk with their views.

  5. That wasn’t Geoff’s question.
    Feel free to answer whatever questions you imagined was asked.

    BTW Brian, what do 99.9999% of scientists agree on exactly ?

  6. Q: What do Credlin, Jones and Kenny have in common with Trump?

    A: A profound and on-going lack of truth, or have a mastery of denying the truth, especially where fact is an otherwise undeniable part of a discussion.

    Jumpy do you dispute the understanding of people like Quiggins?

  7. It is about risk management. If the scientists are right and the skeptics are wrong not acting will lead to seriously awful results.
    On the other hand, if the scientists are wrong and the skeptics are right all it means is that it take longer to run out of economically and safely recoverable fossil fuels – which may actually be a good thing but certainly not a disaster. In addition,
    if we seriously want to boost the world economy going onto a “war footing” to stop climate change will do this and is much much more benign than the alternative war footings we could use to boost the economy.
    Right or wrong the skeptics are pushing us in undesirable directions.

  8. Peta Credlin is in a tricky position, isn’t she??
    I thought she was the broadcaster who informed Australia that Mr Abbott’s public opposition to “putting a price on carbon (emissions)” was an entirely pragmatic, opportunistic action designed to seize political advantage, regardless of any environmental or climate change or economic policy considerations.

    In other words, Mr Abbott wasn’t motivated by any s untidiness or engineering or ecological knowledge or theory.

    She let that cat well and truly out of its bag.

    (As a loyalist to the PM-in-exile Mr Abbott, she surely should have followed the Alan Jones Advice, put that cat in a chaff bag and dumped it in the ocean.)

    So this time, Ms Credlin, are you using the “climate change issue” to pursue another political goal? Undermining someone? No pun intended, King Coal.

  9. ….. by any scientific or engineering ……

    Oh my goodness, how did Spellcock get “untidiness” out of “scientific”?

    Next you’ll be telling me that Spellcock deplores science.

    • BTW Brian, what do 99.9999% of scientists agree on exactly ?


    I didn’t say 99.9999% of scientists agree. I inferred that the “vast bulk of climate scientists” agree.

    What do they agree on?

    See Four graphs that matter in the climate emergency: bonus edition.

    (1) We burn fossil fuels. (2) Atmospheric concentrations of GHG go up. (3) Extra radiative heat is captured by greenhouse gases. That is what they do. (3) 93% of this heat goes into the ocean. 2.3% goes directly into the atmosphere, and 2.1% is captured by continents.(4) By diverse means including rain and ENSO additional heat moves from the ocean to the atmosphere. (4) Global surface temperatures rise. (5) This whole process has effects, such as sea level rise, increased ocean acidity, changes in circulation patterns in the ocean and atmosphere, changes in climate and weather.

    All straight forward, with no basic disagreement since Svante August Arrhenius in 1896.

    My point was actually about risk management, which John D expressed very well. Normally the standard of risk for air travel is that the chances being in a crash should be one in a million or less. Yet the IPCC has for the longest time served up plans that have only a two thirds chance of preserving a livable planet. With their latest, it is 50:50. And if we are successful, the situation will be a damn sight worse than it is now.

    That’s what I’m complaining about.

  10. Jumpy, qualifications are one parameter, but personality when it comes to denialism is the main driver. Right wingers are proven to be low empathy personalities, and with that comes cognitive channeling ie they only see what they want to see or have the empathetic capacity to see. When you get to zero emps such as Credlin, Jones, Morrison, Trump, Putin, Murdoch, and al-Assad their cognitions are totally self centric, they have no capacity to consider the interests or needs of others, and Science is a prime casualty as the time commitment to be conversant on scientific matters would impinge on time preferred for their self advancement.

    Oh? You doubt this of Credlin? She spelled it out herself with her “we politicised climate change “ admission as Abbotts (back from washing my mouth out) advisor. Public interest? Does nothing for low emps, or Libertarians.

  11. Well there you go Jumpy, low emp cognitive skills. Brian was talking about responsible commentators and their degree of certainty, not climate scientists.

    You saw only an opportunity to denigrate scientists and leapt at it. Denialism 101. Consider yourself outed, yet again.

    The question is why do you take these positions? Its plain that you have never made any attempt to understand how global warming causes climate change, yet you criticise science at every opportunity. You appear to believe that any action taken on addressing climate change will some how threaten your Libertarian minimal government ideology, completely ignoring the mounting cost of climate related damage. This is Cognitive Channeling 101 and makes your opinions, perhaps, entertaining but completely irrelevant.

  12. BilB

    There’s one little area where Mr Jumpy supports action to reduce CO2 emissions; as I understand it, he is enthusiastic about
    Passive solar heating (for homes)
    Rooftop solar power generation and hot water
    Improved insulation
    ? Double glazing?

    just so long as none of these measures are mandated by Govt, or subsidised by those fourteen poor b*ggers who create all the wealth and get taxed punitively for their trouble.

    I think Mr J would support electric vehicles, voluntary reduction of energy use, battery storage and energy-saving technological advances, just so long as he can ride his motorbike and go sailing.

    But I can’t speak for him.

  13. To Geoff, the BOM forecast that there’d be no significant rain till August was a bit off. If you haven’t seen the vast amount of reporting of this, you may have limited yourself to a cognitive bias media bubble.

    BilB as always plays his one trick pony of placing folk that don’t totally agree with him as hateful, mentally and educationally deficient and less than him.
    There’s probably a good pidgin hole to put folk that do what BilB constantly does.

    Mr A, your going ok.
    The key word is “ voluntary “, most of what I hear here is force at gun point.

  14. John, you’re a green member, are you worried Bandt is way more extreme than Di Natale ?
    He’s a far cry from Environmentalists Bob Brown you would have to admit.

    • the BOM forecast that there’d be no significant rain till August…

    Funny, I thought they said that the monsoon would be late, but when it came there would probably be normal rain.

    What we are getting now is not normal, but I think with climate change it is difficult to keep their forecast models up to date.

  15. Jumpy: “John, you’re a green member, are you worried Bandt is way more extreme than Di Natale ?
    He’s a far cry from Environmentalists Bob Brown you would have to admit.”
    Like Adam I tend to support both environmental and social justice issues. Right now the Greens need an articulate forceful leader like Adam to deal with the coal sniffing crazies and a Labor party that seems to think they can’t support strong climate action and win elections at the same time.

  16. John, Labor spokespeople repeatedly say Labor will support “strong climate action”. It’s the meeja that keeps saying they won’t, because they can’t and won’t say we’ll stop exporting tomorrow.

    However, we’ll all have to wait and see what ‘strong’ means in practice.

    Young Hamish did well with Q&A tonight. He approaches things like he just walked in from another planet. Which is refreshing in a way.

    I didn’t agree with everything I heard, and zero emissions by 2050 is far too slow. Learnt some new stuff though.

  17. Jumpy I have seen your staunch denial of climate change over a few years now. In fact I would say your position has hardened on the matter.
    What I would like some insight into, if you will indulge me, is just what gain lies in front of you (and your family) that climate change inaction brings. How can doing nothing be a plus?

  18. Essential report showed strong support for climate action, getting fossil companies to pay for climate damage related costs. “Total support” figures:
    Accelerate development of new industries and jobs that are powered by renewable energy 81%
    Setting a zero-carbon pollution target for 2050 71%
    Requiring mining companies to fund bushfire hazard reduction 68%
    Remove taxpayer funded subsidies to the fossil fuel industry 68%
    Setting a zero-carbon pollution target for 2030 64%
    Ban all political donations from fossil fuel companies 62%
    Prevention of new coal mines opening in Australia 62%
    Pretty strong message eh?
    Brian: The bad news was that Morrison and Albanese were both on 36% as preferred prime minister. (Wonder who the other 28% wanted?)

  19. Folk who update their home (or office) ceiling or wall insulation may need a plasterer to re-do the surfaces??

    Beats me.


    But in all fairness, why should this thread focus on Mr Jumpy?

    There are other folk whose views and plans may actually influence matters: Environment Depts, AEMO, Trade Ministries, Fire Authorities, MDBC, Water supply authorities, EPA; climate scientists, bushfire scientists, ecologists; economists, RBA, Business Council; medical and hospital experts; Liberal Party, Country Party, LNP, Nationals, Greens, NSW Greens, Katters, Hansons, Liberal Democrats, Centre Alliance; mining and manufacturing unions; farming peak bodies; automobile associations, and a few others….

    BTW, our Victorian automobile association, the Royal Automobile Association (RACV) has recently bought a rooftop solar installation firm: Gippsland Solar, which began in Mirboo North and now operates in Traralgon and across the Province of Gippsland.

    [Full disclosure: we hold no shares in it, but have been customers]

  20. (Victorian Union of Advanced Dipplementers is at present on strike, due to management intransigience, which we will not bl**dy well put up with, in fact there’s every chance this strike could go on right through the footy season; and those management blokes haven’t a clue about dipplementing anyway, so there.)

  21. John D
    “”…. deal with the coal sniffing crazies…””

    Heh I can see jumpy snorting coal with a rolled up “Jo for PM” pamphlet. It could be some secret greeting ritual of a climate denial cult, bit like the Freemason’s hand shake.

    Brian, I like young Sophia on #QandA and her analogy of Australia’s moonshot moment with huge opportunities right now. Reach climate goals and develop technology solutions with new industrial sectors and make us a global leader in climate tech. Also the young lass stating she’ll never have a family. Both of them demonstrate how diverse and nuanced thinking young people have around the challenge.

    What do you think about Zali Steggall’s bill?

  22. Geoff, the only thing about global warming that I staunchly deny is that socialism can fix it.
    I’ve already stated what will but you won’t even read it.

    But hey, y’aall keep riffing on invented malarkey that because I don’t agree with your answer then I must be evil psychopath that eats little black girls for fun.

  23. I’ve already stated what will …

    No you haven’t. When pressed for details you pulled your usual trick of clamming up.

    … but you won’t even read it.

    Post something other than your fervent wish that capitalism be harnessed to save the world and we’ll read it. Promise!
    We welcome real world strategies. So far you haven’t provided any.

  24. Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020
    A Bill for an Act to establish a national climate change adaptation and mitigation framework, and to establish the Climate Change Commission, and for related purposes
    the overview :-

    the petition :-

    the bill :-

  25. Damn, wrote a comment, hit the wrong key and lost it.

    Ootz, I’d missed what Sophie Hamblin Wang was up to. It’s visionary stuff and it’s what we need to do. Presently it’s expensive, but as it scales up that should change.

    Here’s an article from last year – A trillion dollar industry to turn carbon into useful materials.

    Here’s Mineral Carbonation International Pty Ltd. Well worth a look.

    I think the “moon shot” analogy might come from an economist called Mariana Mazzucato who helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez develop the Green New Deal proposal, and is now advising the EU.

    I have to do some research on this.

  26. alfred venison, thankyou for the Steggall links.

    Albanese reckons that any bill from an Indy in the Reps has to be given leave to do so by vote, and the Morrison gangsters will never allow it.

    So I guess it’s an academic exercise as legislation, but is helping to chip away at the wall. I still think Scotty from Marketing is pretending to do something when he’s not, at best.

    I’ve had a quick look.

    A Climate Change Commission, risk assessment, adaptation plans just transition etc is all good.

    She mentions a “safe” climate, but last time we had 410 + ppm we had a beech forest in the Transantarctic Mountains and about 25 m of sea level rise. Zero by 2050 does not cut the mustard as a response to the climate emergency, and there is no mention of drawdown plans.

    It also lacks a GND-type vision of economic, social and environmental transformation.

    I think about 6 out of 10, maybe 7 if I’m feeling generous.

  27. don’t over-under estimate steggall’s bill. if it gets up for debate, it will get amended/finessed. if you want some aspect of the bill as currently on display improved, speak to your greens senator or bandt or sharkie or wilkie. meanwhile, it can’t hurt to sign the petition & send a copy of the sample letter provided to your m.p.

    there is a good exposition essay at “the conversation” here :-
    -cheers, a.v.
    (hello Ambigulous)

  28. alfred, thanks again.

    Steggall’s bill may help to change the discourse. This could well be right:

      Steggall is a non-aligned, conservative independent. So while the bill isn’t likely to pass – most private members bills don’t – hers is unique in its non-partisan nature. And it could even shift Australia’s stubborn climate change politics through her #ClimateActNow appeal to the public.

    Meanwhile, ACF in their newsletter has pointed out that Jennifer Westacott and the BCA have finally seen the light:

      Do you know who said “We have to get to net zero (emissions) by 2050” this week?

      Would you believe me if I told you it was the CEO of a lobby group who just 18 months ago called a target of 45% emissions cut by 2030 “economy wrecking”.

      You might have figured out who I’m referring to – Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia (BCA).
      For over a decade now, the BCA has undermined climate policy in Australia, and pushed a pro-coal agenda.

      But together, we inundated BCA member companies like Coles and Woolies with calls, emails and social media messages. People like you raised questions at AGMs and we used our power as customers, employees and shareholders to demand change.

      And it worked! The BCA released a paper this week outlining their proposal for a net zero emissions target by 2050, a carbon emissions budget, and assessing climate change risk.

  29. Jumpy: Central Qld Pro-coal Clermont still fights to save its forest from proposed Moorlands open-cut mine.
    “The Moorlands Coal Project, owned by Chinese company Huaxin Energy, is a proposed open-cut, export-grade thermal coal development project planned 25 kilometres north-west of Clermont.
    But the staunchly pro-coal community is concerned about the proposed location of a haul road, arguing the development through the Blair Athol State Forest will have a negative impact on koala populations and the tourism economy.
    Key points:
    An open-cut, export-grade thermal coal project has been proposed 25km north-west of the Queensland town of Clermont
    The pro-coal community have objected to development through the Blair Athol State Forest
    One researcher has questioned the veracity of Huaxin Energy’s self-assessed environmental impact report, with concerns for the region’s koala population
    Comments from our central Qld correspondent?

  30. Well John, it’s always a green tactic to conflate some Clermont folk with the entire Clermont community.
    If there were a local vote I’d be interested in the results.

    Anyway, being a State Forest, the call goes to QLD ALP ( Brian’s Club ).
    I’m sure Anastasia will be told what to think by Jackie Trad and act according.

  31. The dams a filling up ( sorry Flannery ) and we may expect a few more weeks of it too.

    For someone who denies being a climate change denier you repeat the statements of the climate change deniers way too often. As, for example, in your above misquotation of Tim Flannery as disseminated by Andrew Bolt, Chris Kenny et al.
    As it happens there was an excellent exposition of the effect climate change is having on our supplies of water on Late Night Live last night.
    TL:DR the world is running out of fresh water.

  32. Hhhhh…anybody else ?
    “ The world’s fresh water is being used at an unsustainable rate. “ is the same as “ it’s not raining enough “ to this troll.

  33. That’s probably your stupidest response. You really should listen to the program. It’s raining more in many parts of the world.

  34. And here is an explanation of why it is appropriate to use the word unprecedented when talking about the 2019/20 fire season.

  35. I’m not going through a guardian infographic.
    Just summarise the unprecedented bits and I’ll fact-check them.

  36. Grumpy Jumpy: “Well John, it’s always a green tactic to…….”
    It is always a GMPY Jumpy tactic to use any excuse to avoid dealing with the content of comments that might undermine his position.

  37. I’m not going through a guardian infographic.

    Your loss.

    Are you still claiming global warming halted in 1998?
    Are you still claiming the BOM is falsifying the figures to make it appear the planet is warming?
    Is your attitude still “She’ll be right, nothing to worry about, full steam ahead”?

  38. From zoot’s Guardian link:

      “At this point, the science is quite clear,” says Dr Karl Braganza, head of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology. “As we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, the models show more severe bushfire conditions for Australia.”

    Tony Groom used the word “unprecedented”. He was correct.

    • “ The world’s fresh water is being used at an unsustainable rate. “ is the same as “ it’s not raining enough “ to this troll.

    I’d have to agree with zoot.

    Phillip Adams was told that the rain world-wide is about the same, it’s just being re-arranged.

    Another factor is that evaporation is becoming ferocious.

    Download from here.

    jumpy, underground aquifers are being depleted which take thousands of years to recharge.

  39. Brian: All else equal I would expect evaporation from the sea and other surface water to increase as temperatures rise. However keep in mind that wind speeds, changes in tree cover, transpiration air currents may also have an effect. In practical terms changes in where and when the rain falls will be important.

  40. Brian, I’ve got no doubt the aquifer depletion should be addressed.
    My main argument is that the 19-20 fires are not unprecedented in themselves.
    There are some unprecedented things related to them, like the media hype and the amount of houses built out of trees, amongst the trees burning like trees.
    Probably insurance claims due to that.

    The evidence that you all won’t straight up give me an example of what was unprecedented tells me you also think Albo, greens and media are lying but that’s ok, my side is lying.

    I’ll extend one last chance to say what about these fires was unprecedented, other than they are all different in some way.

    How was it the worst that’s ever happened ?

  41. Jumpy I must be simple because I can’t quite work out what your point is here. Just too cryptic or something.
    Please explain…

  42. “”How was it the worst that’s ever happened ?””
    This jumpy character is getting more and more grotesque. His behaviour reminds me of the Black Knight character in Monty Python and The Holy Grail

    BLACK KNIGHT: I move for no man.

    ARTHUR: So be it!

    ARTHUR and BLACK KNIGHT: Aaah!, hiyaah!, etc.

    [ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT’s left arm off]

    ARTHUR: Now stand aside, worthy adversary.

    BLACK KNIGHT: ‘Tis but a scratch.

    ARTHUR: A scratch? Your arm’s off!

    BLACK KNIGHT: No, it isn’t.

    ARTHUR: Well, what’s that, then?

    BLACK KNIGHT: I’ve had worse.

    ARTHUR: You liar!

    BLACK KNIGHT: Come on, you pansy!

    I mean after all the line up of past and present emergency professionals for a year or more with their profound warnings and detailed analyses. No matter how often and how elaborate the situation is explained, the jumpies of this world know it all better. He and his ilk are a waste of time, living in their contrived world, trolling to them is a legitimate reflex.

  43. Geoff, Albo, Bandt and many others said these bushfires are unprecedented.
    Are they and in what way.

    Obviously ootz concedes his got nuthin.

  44. Ootz, just as an aside, the Black Knight Sketch was lampooning attitudes toward homosexuality.
    I don’t have those attitudes, don’t know about you.

    Now, back to our regular channel, what was unprecedented ?
    Google up….

  45. Silly me.
    I always thought Black Knight was about a chap who refused to face the reality of defeat, tries to save face by engaging in pretense and ends up deluded.

    Luckily for filmgoers he didn’t lise his face by having it sliced off.

    There are some examples of such persons in human history, I imagine.

    Not sure what the homosexuality angle is supposed to be, and quite likely it’s off topic in any case.

    BTW, I too regard the term “unprecedented ” as lazy journo hype. We lived through the Black Saturday disaster only 11 years ago. Death toll 173. Many houses destroyed. Pyrocumulus clouds photographed by NASA.

    It was those fires which acted as a wake up call to Victoria.

    Stricter rules on fire protection for houses outside Melbourne.
    Much improved text message warnings in lical areas.
    More community refuge places planned.
    More aerial water bombing aircraft.
    Better coordination of Firefighting services with SES, police, disaster recovery, Ambos etc.
    CFA advice to “leave early” instead of “stay and defend your property ”
    And a little more community awareness through direct experience and amnual advertising campaigns.

    But nonetheless the linking of drought to climate conditions and climate trends has sunk in, and droughts often precede dangerous fire seasons in Victoria.

  46. Jumpy I missed the orientation part of the black knight sketch. I just saw it as another example of Monty Pythons preposterous humour. Not sure how a mere flesh wound links to sexuality…
    Maybe bushfires, floods or drought???

  47. BTW Mr J, heard of a “rain shadow”?

    A region where rainfall is generally lower. Examples would include a place X where rain bearing winds arrive from the sea just nearby, reach some hills, dump most of the rain on the hills… but X is behind the hills and misses out.

    No dams at X, no point.

    Now, think of the water supply dams built in the last 60 to 70 years.

    What if the rainfall patterns shift quite a bit and previously “reliable catchments” begin to experience long term lower rainfall figures??

  48. Geoff H

    Perhaps they were lampooning the stern, rigorous attitudes of military officers the world over: “Fight on, men!! What care we for a bit of shrapnel or a bullet-nicked uniform!! Remember the cause for which we fight. Are we cowards??”

    Which in the English case might be represented by Lord Kitchener, Mr Blimp, tough rugger chaps from the Great Schools, etc. But have their counterparts in every proud, military nation.

    (Not the Monty P group: “Fawlty Towers” was set in Torquay, Devon; but every character was a recognisable human type. So the show “carried” across national borders. Genius has that power.)

    And, I have to say, the modern world needed Winston Churchill when his time to shine arrived, with unprecedented catastrophe facing Britain and Europe. Actually, in 1066 they were invaded. So “unprecedented” is just my lazy hype.

    George Orwell said, now and then we decorous and polite need the tough, impolite, strong deeds of soldiers to bring us through.

  49. I’m trying to stay on topic.
    So nothing about the unprecedentedness ( spellchook) of the 19-20 bushfires and those that said they were were bullshiting, Rodger ( thumbs up emoji).

    I wonder their motives for lying…

  50. It’s interesting that in the face of all the expert opinion which says “unprecedented” Jumpy, who strenuously denies he is a climate change denier, keeps saying “not unprecedented” just like the well known climate change deniers.

    BTW Mr J as I said up thread the Guardian piece does mention ways in which the current fire season is unprecedented, but you refuse to view it. None so blind as those who will not see.

  51. Summaries it for me zoot, I feel dirty when I read the Guardian.
    WHAT was Unprecedented?

    Empty obfuscation, quibbling and insults are not showering anyone in glory, quite the opposite.

  52. OK

    On topic.
    Rainfall might rise in some areas but if people had no dams there…..

    Or if the rainfall showed a trend towards torrential, then for humans a few challenges: erosion, flooding, landslips, crops submerged, farm animals drowned; not all rainfall is productive for us humans.

    But you know all this, Mr J.
    You’ve seen or heard about flood damage, cyclones, emptying dams. You know about horticulture and agriculture. You know about leaking rooves and hailstorms.

    So, if rainfall patterns shift sideways (east, north, west, south) you know there can be negative outcomes.

    Don’t you?

  53. “”Empty obfuscation, quibbling and insults are not showering anyone in glory, quite the opposite.””

    Sorry jumpy I wont engage in your cynical flat earth debates, it is tediously pointless. We have had years of this and freely available to see for anyone interested to go through comments on Brian’s post.

    Brian, I know you are not so keen on
    Satirist Mark Humphries, but have you seen his “attempts to clarify News Corp’s position on climate change” on ABC 7.30? Very funny but topical, the only way I can handle jumpystan climate shit nowadays.

  54. If there was a single thing that made the 19-20 bushfires unprecedented I would have been scorned with it.
    There isn’t, I wasn’t.

    All this flailing is just undignified nonsense.

    What was unprecedented?

    Someone please salvage a bit of dignity.

  55. “What was unprecedented?” you ask Jumpy.

    You might want to ask, do the facts of the fires, droughts and floods require the qualification of “unprecedented” to be real and disruptive?
    The events were/are existential, unprecedented or not, and stand as proof that the climate is changing, and changing rapidly. You cannot dismiss those because they were not “unprecedented”.

  56. Geoff, I might want to ask many different things.
    I thought the question was clarified for you.

    It would be helpful if the media asked the “ unprecedented “ claimants to elaborate but we don’t have that sort of media in Australia.

    I’ve asked enough times. The 19-20 bushfire event was not unprecedented. And those that say they were are are indeed misleading.

  57. Good try jumpy, but we have been there, done that, many times. From memory on one of Brian’s earliest post way back, in your first comment you were exclaiming that you joined us here to learn. Yep to learn! Have you had any success on this thus far?
    Funny use of the word unprecedented by National
    Darren Chester MP on Twitter

    @DarrenChesterMP ✔
    An unprecedented mass relocation of civilians from Mallacoota is underway with two naval vessels (Choules & Sycamore) set to carry 963 passengers to safety at Western Port. Conditions are smoky but fine in Mallacoota today. #TYFYS @DeptDefence @Australian_Navy

    Cormann uses the word even funnier.

    Speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said in spite of the anger, the country’s Prime Minister had “led a historically unprecedented national bush fire response effort.”

  58. In my earlier list of changes in Victoria after Black Saturday, I omitted: strict regulations on design and construction of bushfire shelters (“bunkers”). Regulations designed to ensure the bunker would save lives by avoiding:
    Heat stress
    Imprisonment (e.g. if occupants couldn’t leave because the door buckled in the heat of the fire front).

    I agree, Geoff H.
    The term “unprecedented” may be inaccurate or exaggerated but that’s not the most important point. It’s a criticism of the journalists and some climate activists.

    For public safety we need (in the shorter term) expert fire fighting and disaster recovery; good advice for builders, town planning, farmers, road design (is the only evacuation road a bush clad death trap? Will we need Navy ships to evacuate the stranded?), preventive burning, maintenance of national parks, etc etc The list is long; the task is large.

    In the longer term we need to understand drought and climate change. El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole are, I suggest, only the tip of the melting iceberg. We are going to learn a lot more about weather and climate. The Earth can be a harsh teacher.

    Human ignorance is immense.

    And yet this species has reached a point where what seem to be very ordinary, routine actions can have global effects.

    Spray chlorofluorocarbon from a can.
    Wash a pollutant down a drain.
    Burn brown coal.
    Explode a few hundred thermonuclear bombs.
    Ignore child labour because it’s overseas.
    Applaud rich tax avoiders because they’re famous.
    Buy cheap goods produced by filthy polluting factories because it’s mainly Ch*nese workers who live nearby.

    No worries.

  59. Jumpy, I would have said, the extent geographically, the time extent of the fire season, the intensity of the fires, the number of wildlife killed, the number of personnel simultaneously deployed to fight fires, the cost etc etc.

    I believe that a quarter of the woodland in NSW was burnt.

    Here’s a graph from 25 December:

    Here’s a quote from the article (from the G) – Yes, Australia has always had bushfires: but 2019 is like nothing we’ve seen before:

      “The geographic range, and the fact it is occurring all at once, is what makes it unprecedented,” Bowman says. “There has never been a situation where there has been a fire from southern Queensland, right through NSW, into Gippsland, in the Adelaide Hills, near Perth and on the east coast of Tasmania.

    That was David Bowman, director of The Fire Centre at the University of Tasmania, who said the striking thing was the “continent scale”. Here’s an article about fires in six states.

    Here’s an article The Australian bushfires—why they are unprecedented.

    That’s from the Australian Academy of Science.

    Jumpy I found it by Googling ‘were the 2019-2020 australian bushfires unprecedented?’

    Why don’t you do that, and then report back why so many people are so wrong? I’m assuming the information you find won’t change your mind.

  60. Ambi, I agree that the term “unprecedented” is often used inappropriately, but as in my earlier comment, people with expertise who are not journalists are using the term to refer to what happened in Oz in 2019-2020.

    I think it is justified.

  61. Ootz, I’m glad Mark Humphries did a good job. I missed the segment, because as soon as I saw his visage I grabbed the remote! If I hadn’t one of the two other people in the room would have.

  62. Climate change/global warming deniers like Jumpy think that the existence of “precedents” gives them wriggle room.
    It comes under the second of the five stages of climate denial.
    Their implied argument is since it’s just another fire season, no worse than every other fire season, there’s no need to do anything about it.

  63. zoot, there is every reason to do plenty of practical things in a local area, across a whole State and across the nation.

    I would guess but can’t prove, that the much lower human death toll in Victoria this summer was partly due to the mundane* activities, training of emergency persons, I mentioned earlier; after Black Saturday and drawing on that experience, plus careful and boring scientific study and computer modelling etc.

    * not much of this comes cheap
    The Nanny State spends millions of tax dollars to “save lives”.
    How dare it!!

  64. Jumpy: “Mathias Cormann said in spite of the anger, the country’s Prime Minister had “led a historically unprecedented national bush fire response effort.”
    Unprecedented in the slow federal response and effort taken, and still being taken to blame the states?

  65. That is a very good point Ambi, from the reports I have read the consensus is that Victoria was well prepared this time around, despite the controversial amalgamation of varies fire services. Yes these services don’t come cheap and do rely on meticulous research and analysis. But still, there is plenty of mindless hooting of lack of “backburning” and greenie Marxist arsonists amongst the the cultural warriors along the whole spectrum from government MPs to the jumpy of this world. I have to laugh when people like Joyce sing praises to Aboriginal “80,000-year-old back-burning models”. For a start, to compare cultural fire practices to back-burning is just demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of both conventional fire prevention/hazard reduction practices as well as substance and implication of cultural fire practices. As long as we have such systemic ignorance from the top down, the new normal, with regards to bushfire will not remain static and soon there will be a point when property insurance will become unaffordable. Already now there are reports of many people who were either not insured, or under insured or not read the fine print on their policy. Another emerging troubling quantity is the longterm health effects and cost of smoke exposure for days if not weeks widespread in capital cities.

    Zoot I come to the conclusion that the jumpys of this world are beyond being climate deniers. To deny something requires at least some basic engagement with the subject and some argument based on established knowledge and facts. What we get from the jumpys of this world and their political masters is pure cultural war slogans and tactics. Any engagement with them on that level is a zero-sum game. Even PM Boris J realised this, hence his conservative governments proactive stance in relation to the issue. He’ll even the NSW Young Liberals have realised the futility of it. Just read Chaneg Torres “As a Young Liberal I know it’s time to stop turning climate change into a culture war” in the Guardian. While I would argue with some of his political analysis, in the main he has got it right. He finishes with:

    “”It’s time to stop turning climate change into a climate culture war and time to start pursuing good policy which will ensure we have low energy costs and use the most efficient, low-emissions technology available.

    Our future depends on it.””

  66. Brian, the 74-75 bushfires burned 117 m hectares, that’s a smidg more than 18.6 m hectares for 19-20.
    More animals killed in a fire almost 10 times as big ? That’s a bold claim.
    Also the intensity. What did each measure?
    Time extent ? No.

    I’ll give you unprecedented response and raise with unprecedented arson.

    I’m not the one that’s painted myself into a corner.

  67. Jumpy: The amount of diversionary crap coming from you on this post may not be unprecedented but it is still big enough to be significant.

  68. Jumpy can I ask you to do a careful read of Ootz post dated February 15, 2020, at 10:15 am?

    It is really good, even if it is slightly uncomplimentary to you, albeit in a mild way. Put that aside and see the logic that Ootz lays out. Please have a shot huh?

  69. Ootz

    Just on a minor point: the Victorian fire services made it clear that when the East Gippsland fires began this time, they were entirely ignited by lightning strikes.

    Of course arsonists exist and sometimes start very damaging fires (e.g. the Churchill/Jeeralang fire; Black Saturday; subject of a recent book called “The Arsonist”)

    But in Victoria, the long term record shows that approx 30 – 40% of bushfires are started by faulty, or blown-down-by-strong-winds, or arcing-through-dust-buildup electrical transmission lines or transformers. We used to call these “SEC fires”.

    Much firefighting effort last month went into keeping fires away from high voltage transmission lines between Latrobe Valley and Melbourne.

  70. Tanks Brian, Feb 14th late

    Yes: point taken.
    If fire experts say it’s “unprecedented” then I accept their judgement.
    The geographical range has certainly, and sadly, been a distinguishing feature this time.

    Apologies for being provincial in harping on about Black Saturday. It left an indelible mark on many Victorians. But that time, if I recall correctly, there were NOT major conflagrations in most other States.

    BTW, an ecologist said after major fires in Wilsons Promontory National Park a dozen years ago, that ecologists (at that time) would be hard pressed to predict how the bushlands there would recover. “It’s not well understood.”

  71. It appears from my quick glance at Wikipedia that the fires associated with Black Saturday occurred over about a month while this fire season we had uncontrolled fires occurring from June 2019 until January 2020.
    I’m sure Andrew Bolt will have a refutation for Jumpy to echo. Nit picking in the service of denial.

  72. Ootz: “I have to laugh when people like Joyce sing praises to Aboriginal “80,000-year-old back-burning models”.”
    I don’t claim to be an expert on how and what Aborigines used fire for and how much is understood about traditional uses in specific places. However, I think I am right to say that Aborigines used fires for a whole range of reasons and used differing methods depending on reason, location, weather and culture.
    The last thing we need now is someone like Barnaby seizing on something he thinks he sees and wants to see. Understanding why Aborigines do what they are doing takes a lot of effort, thought and talking to both women and men.
    My wife spent a lot of time over eight years with Aboriginal women. After eight years she said to me that “after 8 yrs you think you understand what is going on then something happens and what they do is completely different to what I expected.”
    My fear is that a rushed response to the recent fires will do a lot of damage to biodiversity, rainfall, and risk of fire.

  73. Zoot: “And I heartily recommend this message from the Australien Government.” The truth is a bit scary eh? eh?

  74. Correct about Black Saturday fires, zoot.
    February 2009.

    On the Gippsland parts…..
    A fire spread near Mirboo North (suspected arson) about a week before BSat. Another in Bunyip State Park near Pakenham; everyone knew that with heat and northerly winds it would leap out and head towards Jindivick, Neerim South, Drouin, Warragul (the latter two being medium sized regional towns).

    Then arson behind Churchill, and that new fire did exactly what was always predicted (since 1983): raced south and south-west up and over the Jeeralang hills, spotting and widening; starting in a tinder dry pine plantation. It headed towards South Gippsland where the only barrier would eventually be the sea. Too fierce to fight on a wide front. Individual homes saved by firefighting here and there.

    The hot northerly is customarily followed by a south-westerly wind (sometimes bringing showers or storms). As predicted, this transforms the (more or less North – South fire ground) into a huge fire front heading north-east. So the fire swept towards Traralgon South, and small settlements were razed. Lives lost. Luckily it didn’t reach Traralgon, a larger regional centre. The fire returned to the area just south of Churchill (ignition point) and destroyed more homes; lives lost.

    Locals were told 2 or 3 days later that the burning or smouldering remnants “would be put out only by heavy rain, which might not arrive until late March or April”.

    And those fires in Gippsland were some of the LEAST destructive on BSat in terms of death toll, homes destroyed, swathes of bushland burnt, farms damaged, etc. Marysville, and many towns affected.

    These were shocking grass fires and bushfires north and north-east of Melbourne, much closer to Melbourne than the Gippsland fires (east of Melb.)

    It took many years, but eventually a class action was successful in winning damages from a power transmission company whose live transmission lines had fallen and ignited one of the most costly fires.


  75. Enjoyed the links, zoot.

    Ambi, I haven’t followed the Black Saturday fires as much as you have, but in a real sense they did form a precedent from which we learned.

    One of the main learning, I gather, was that ‘stay and defend’ was not a good idea.

    I think it would pay in this discussion to have a look at some dictionary meanings. ‘Precedent doesn’t fit neatly, but the Black Saturday fire was a case of a severe bushfire from which we could learn much.

    Yet a severe fire that was fundamentally similar but bigger and more extensive etc can still be described as unprecedented.

    I suspect the major blanketing of cities and surrounds was unprecedented. On fire expert said that an area of bush burnt twice. First a fire went through. Then over some weeks dead leaves fell onto the ground. Then a fire swept through, burning those dead leaves. He had never seen or heard of that before.

    Intensity was probably not measured in earlier fires. However, mention was made this time of soil temperatures of up to 500°C. I think they could tell from the chemical changes in the soil that such extremes were greater than had been experienced before in those particular areas.

    There was also said to be a greater incidence of fire-generated thunderstorms and tornadoes. No counts done that I know of, so no neat science, but probably true.

  76. Interesting we think dictionary definitions are important sometimes.
    But when I point them out it’s “ language evolving “.

    Very telling.

  77. Second thoughts, Brian, I’m prepared to help you catch up. Zoot is a lost cause because he doesn’t want to.

    The first was an accurate, cutting Haiku and the second was a comment on your flip flopping on the importance of dictionary definitions depending on the discussion topic.

    Please feel free to ask for further clarification but I’m afraid that’s as good as it’ll get.

  78. Now, jumpy, to get to your earlier comment:

      Brian, the 74-75 bushfires burned 117 m hectares, that’s a smidg more than 18.6 m hectares for 19-20.

    Etc, etc.

    I don’t feel cornered.

    What you do is pick up scarps around the edged, smear it over the lot to create doubt in people who have real expertise and actually know what they are talking about.

    Here is an article in the Oz – History of disasters shows there is nothing new about nation’s destructive blazes (not pay-walled). The title is completely misleading, but it has the ‘117 million hectares’ claim, but please note, that refers to Australia’s physical landmass, not NSW, and is based on a statement made by Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience to which they do not provide a link.

    If you Google and find the link you will note that the information is brief, and doesn’t actually say how much was burnt in NSW.

    Now have a look at this article in The Guardian – Record-breaking 4.9m hectares of land burned in NSW this bushfire season. It says this:

    If you follow that link, scroll down to page 339 (375 on the counter) where they give historical tables of fire history for each state and territory.

    I’m sorry, but the number for NSW in 1974-75 is 4.5 million hectares, which were said to be in “Bourke to Balranald, Cobar Shire, Moolah–Corinya—most of the Western Division”.

    If you look at the other states you will find 7.3 million hectares in Qld, 45 million in the NT, 16 million in SA, and 29 million in WA. Add them up and you get 101.8 million, still about 15m short, but never mind.

    The important aspect is that those fires were largely savannah fires, not forest fires, which appeared to dominate the 2019-2020 fires.

    So, jumpy, which paper comes out as truth-seeking, and which is shown spreading misleading propaganda?

    Finally, I have to point out that I have in the last few days twice spent and uncommonly large amount of time sorting out your misleading nonsense.

  79. Jumpy, while I was writing that you made me some kind of offer. I must be a bit thick, because I have no idea what you are talking about.

    I’d like to go back to working on the next new post. Only two this month is not enough.

  80. My vote is for the post(s).
    Perhaps another reader could second the motion?

    I studied Black Saturday and its aftermath because the Gippsland fires were nearby. I do recognise that this marks me out as a bumpkin with provincial interests. So be it; Gippsland is beautiful.

    Everyone in the district had a story afterwards, e.g.
    How close to their home did a fire get
    Whether their fire prevention equipment functioned in the extreme conditions
    How a house was saved using the last bucket of water
    A close run escape from a home where several decided to stay and all perished
    Two lost fighting fire at their family home
    Roads unexpectedly blocked by police to help firefighters and prevent folk going to dangerous places
    A home saved using stored creek water, fire pumps and six hours of vigilance by three exhausted adults

    Such stories seep into a person’s little store of useful tips, where we keep first aid knowledge, safety advice, simple repairs and getting the motor started again, etc.

    Also, after BSat I used the internet to find out a bit more about the two most recent precedents in Victoria: Ash Wednesday (mainly South Australia and Victoria) 1983 and Black Friday ( mainly Victoria) 1939.

    Hiking in the Vic “High Country” around 1964, we saw tall blackened tree trunks still standing as reminders of the 1939 fires. Eerie and educative.

  81. Brian: If you look at the Australian bushfire map in this link what stands out is that most of the fires are in the top end of Australia. The data was “Burned areas shown in red detected by NASA’s MODIS imaging sensors onboard Terra & Aqua satellites from June 2001 to May 2019. We acknowledge the use of data and imagery from LANCE FIRMS operated by NASA’s Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) with funding provided by NASA Headquarters.”
    It is worth noting too that the extent of fires this year would have been affected by what was burned in recent years.

  82. “15m short, but never mind. “ ( short of the 117 million hectares I stated “)
    Yeah, and the total for 19-20 was 18.6 million hectares in TOTAL, but never mind.

    Your twisting yourself into a pretzel to make this the worst bushfires in Australian history, they were not.

    I get you want to panic everyone about Global Warmings but fair dinkum, does it have to be everything?

  83. Jumpy, again you’ve missed the main point.

    It doesn’t really matter how big the 1974-75 fires were because they were different in kind, ie. savannah fires, and as such do not, I think, constitute a precedent for what happened in 2019-2020.

  84. Jumpy

    You’re in the building game.
    Anything you’d like to share about making houses safer from fire attack?

    Hoses and pumps?
    Metal shutters over windows?
    Water spray pipes along roof ridge lines?
    Bushfire bunker with O2 supply?
    Leave early?
    Non-flammable shrubs near the house?
    Make sure not to live near eucalypt forests or dry grasslands?

    Emigrate to a safer nation?

    Give it a go, Mr J.

    (And no, with a sense of decency, NOT a red hot go)

  85. Ambi, at the end of January there were two Conversations episodes Grantham — the town that washed away and Higher ground — rebuilding a town after disaster.

    They were about how the town of Grantham was wiped off the map by the Toowoomba cloudburst – 13 dead from memory- and how community spirit was maintained and the town rebuilt.

    When listening to it I was thinking of the dozens of communities which were similarly devastated by the fires, how nothing that happens thereafter is automatic, and how difficult the road to recovery will be. Some communities will make it, and some won’t, but there is plenty to learn from the experience of others.

  86. Jumpy, unlike Greta T, I don’t want anyone to panic about global warning. I want them to understand, and act rationally.

  87. John D if I had time I’d match that map up with a map that showed what happened in the months after that map. maybe later.

  88. Mr A
    “”Anything you’d like to share about making houses safer from fire attack?””
    Firstly, fires don’t attack, they are either deliberate or allowed to occur.
    99.9999ish% of fires are good, in the broader sense.

    I’d like to see the Insurance companies assessing individual properties at policy time rather than claim time.
    That’d be a free market mechanism to change fire risk vulnerability.
    Right now we have a collective arrangement where Nanny is relied on and underwritten.

    Get Government out of the way and let risk and common sense determine premiums.

    I see stupidity every day. Folk should pay though the nose for stupidity.

    Look, Nature is both beautiful and giving on one hand and ugly and murderous at the same time.

  89. I’d like to see the Insurance companies assessing individual properties at policy time rather than claim time.

    Could you please clarify what you mean.
    As someone who worked for twelve years in an insurance company I always thought this was how insurance companies operate. They don’t write the policy until they have assessed the risk.

  90. Get Government out of the way and let risk and common sense determine premiums.

    How is Government standing in the way of insurance companies?

  91. “”They don’t write the policy until they have assessed the risk.””
    True ?
    I’ve never had an assessor visit me to assess the risk of any of my multiple insurance policies.All online nowadays.
    Methinks zoot keeps lying.
    I doubt zoot has worked 12 month in its life and not a day in insurance assessment given its obvious mendacity about it.

  92. It has occurred to me that maybe Jumpy is saying each individual property should be visited by an assessor before a policy is written for that property. I think that’s an excellent idea but I don’t think it is practical without government regulation enforcing it.
    Operating this way is going to make every policy more expensive and since market forces in the insurance industry act to keep prices down no company is going to be the first to implement it, particularly as it will make policies much more expensive for stupid people.

  93. Has anyone other than zoot have an insurance assessor visit them for home, content, car, life, work safe, compulsory third party and non compulsory third party, motorcycle or boat insurance?

    I’ve got all of them and never met an assessor till the flood of 2008 here after the event.

  94. Ok, keep flinging.
    But keep in mind risks can be assessed without actually visiting the property. For example that’s why premiums in particular postcodes are higher than in others (flood risk, burglary etc).
    Damage on the other hand must be viewed which is why insurance companies mainly employ claims assessors.
    It’s market forces at work. To have someone individually assess every risk would be way too expensive. or would you rather have have fewer people insured?

  95. zoot said,
    “”It has occurred to me that maybe Jumpy is saying each individual property should be visited by an assessor before a policy is written for that property. “”
    “I think that’s an excellent idea but I don’t think it is practical without government regulation enforcing it.””
    Thanks but Government is not needed. Federal,State or local.
    “”Operating this way is going to make every policy more expensive and since market forces in the insurance industry act to keep prices down no company is going to be the first to implement it, particularly as it will make policies much more expensive for stupid people.””
    Incorrect, you contradicted the pricing in the same sentence.
    They will implement whatever it takes without government interference. Stupid people should wise up or pay more, that’s free market incentive. The invisible hand.

    I’m sorry you’ll pay something. ( not )

  96. “”They don’t write the policy until they have assessed the risk.””
    True ?

    Err, yes. Or did you think they just pull premium figures out of their bums? When you insure your, what is it? Navara? Triton? Hilux? the company has made an assessment of the risk they’re taking from the information you provide them.

  97. It appears Jumpy believes that if Company A says “We won’t insure your property until you’ve paid for an assessor’s report” they will out compete Company B which says “We’ll insure your property”.
    That sound you hear is Adam Smith spinning in his grave.

  98. “”Err, yes. Or did you think they just pull premium figures out of their bums? “”
    Pretty much yeah.
    It’s generic rather than individualistic.
    Like you said, postcodes, brand of vehicle, assumed intelligence…

    Face it, your collectivist ideology is unfair and makes people dumber.

    Did your mummy not read the three little pigs to you ?
    Go get a copy and read it yourself.
    Never too old to learn.

  99. It’s generic rather than individualistic.

    Err, yeah. That’s how retail insurance markets work. If you don’t like it you could always approach Lloyd’s, they’re individualistic but I doubt you could afford the premiums.

  100. One final thought: for someone who is such a rabid supporter of markets Jumpy displays an astonishing ignorance of how they work in the real world.

  101. Apologies Jumpy

    In the real world of the southern State where millions live in occasional danger of damage or injury by wild fire we call it “fire attack” (so do the firefighters, or ‘fireys’ if you prefer). We and they are well aware that the flames are inanimate; have no will power; but by Golly they have behaviour.

    So the habits and practices of humans and building designers for humans who live in these parts, and who do have will power and can learn from experience…. well we adapt.

    If you’re not interested, so be it.
    “Stupidity” is a label you decry in other contexts.

    Good luck!

  102. People living next to grassy farms.
    People living in or near Eucalypt forests.
    People living in country towns.
    People living in Canberra suburbs
    Or Sydney suburbs.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    People living in Brisbane (which has a river)
    People living where cyclones can arrive
    People driving over a Hobart Bridge at the wrong time

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  103. the steggall climate change act petition scoreboard is available for viewing here:- . you can sign the petition there, too. what have you got to lose ? “modern liberals” are already squirming in reaction to the mere sound of it, labor are talking about it, too. so help steggall keep the pressure on, put your name to the petition & watch the counter go up, for you too. -a.v.

  104. No, both Brian and I debunked it using evidence.

    Just as an aside, do you just use lower case exclusively because you have Capitalism phobia in the extreme ?

    ( I note pendant King A strangely hasn’t asked )

  105. No Brian did NOT debunk it using evidence.

    I pointed out that the 1974-75 fires were quite different in nature and provided no precedent for what happened in 2019-2020.

  106. Private message to Mr J

    Sorry, I misunderstood.
    You’re going to give me a King pendant!
    That’s so sweet and generous.

    Overcome I am. Don’t care if it’s a royal King pendant or named after Steven King the writer or Billie Jean King the tennis champion; simply thrilled!!

  107. Funny thing that word unprecedented, particularly for pendants.
    These people have never had their houses burn down before, so for them this fire season has definitely been unprecedented.

  108. Ouch, cheeky King.

    Well a pendant does hang by definitions, therefore is totally reliant on those above for support.
    Some ever call that support “ entitlements “ nowadays.

    Perhaps the term should be “ lifters and hangers “

    ( not a slight on you personally, just some sentiments you’ve expressed or supported in the past )

    { return of serve is fair play }

  109. Hanger said,
    “”Funny thing that word unprecedented, particularly for pendants.””
    Him linking to that particular article here is unprecedented !!

    What the Hell is Nanny going to do about it ??!!?!

  110. how are we hanging, then?

    Separately or together??

    * * ** *** *****

    Clothes hangers: good.
    Hanging Judges: ungood.

  111. Sometimes Nanny just needs to walk away, leave us alone, and let us get on with it. She’s not Mary Poppins after all……

    Jumpy, please return from the fictional world to Australia.
    Your cloud will be approaching the Magic Faraway Tree shortly, so here’s your chance to jump off the cloud safely.

    (That’s an Enid Blyton reference.)

  112. I seem to have strayed from the bushfire damage, drought, climate topic. JMMDI

    {Jumpy Made Me Do It}

  113. Just taking another look at Brian’s link, in February 1898 ( Red Tuesday) around 2000 buildings burned down in south Gippsland.

    The population/buildings ratio compared to 2019-20 makes that year particularly bad.
    Tasmania copped a bit too but few details.

    Most of the rest of Australia in 1898 were without written records.
    We’ll never know how many people or animals died that year.

  114. “”Jumpy, again you’ve missed the main point.””

    Brian, the point of a culture warrior is “fighting the good fight” according to the man who wrote the book on ‘Culture Warrior’. A key argument in O’Reilly’s book is that there can be no rational discourse with “S-Ps” (Secular – Progressives, or sometimes Social – Progressives) because of their ideological dogmatism: “Secular progressives drive on a one-way street all the time. If you don’t agree with them totally, you are the enemy” (Page 60). There are no nuances or complexities, everything is black and white. Hence many of our local Culture Jihadi’s arguments do not make sense in a conventional rational way, because his main point has to be the opposite to your to your “one-way street” or main point thus contention and controversy are the cultural warrior’s weapon for fighting the good fight.

    So just like O’Reilly, jumpy uses an array of distortions, falsehoods and misrepresentations to jam the heretic progressive discourse on “black-hearted Web sites” such as yours. What you have to realise, this crusade on “unprecedented” is really a stab at discrediting heretic climate change dogma, a vain attempt for a gotcha moment.

    Nobody will never win the zero sum game of a culture war, however there are encouraging news today. Public support for new coal mines falls even among Coalition voters, ANU poll finds.
    Survey shows ‘significant and substantial’ decline in the popularity of Scott Morrison and the Coalition, as reported in the Guardian. Sanity in the end will prevail and as the jumpys of this world become increasingly shriller and outlandish with fighting the good fight, more people will see them for the lost combative souls that they are and this will only help progress.

  115. Many of us ardently wish for and work for C emission reductions.
    But I want to see valid scientific and engineering findings.

    1. Remember in science classes being told to give a result And Also An Estimate of Uncertainty (for example, “experimental error”) due to limitations of instrument accuracy etc.

    (Note to Mr J, this “error” is Not A Mistake. It’s like the sampling error in an opinion poll, say plus or minus 3%)

    Well, journalists report the result and rarely report (or explain) uncertainty. Low quality reporting.

    2. Remember when individual events like a cyclone or storm or dry patch were Never Blamed on Climate Change? That is weather, the BOM used to say. Weather isn’t climate. Climate is long term and long averages.

    These days, I think many commentators have delarted from that (cautious, sceptical, more reliable?) stance.

    It worries me that poor analysis may lead to poorer outcomes.
    But still, I think John D’s focus on RISK is the most apt lens to use. You can estimate risks while still admitting uncertainties and areas of ignorance.

  116. departed

    (elarted is a distant cousin of
    A Lert
    “Be A Lert: Australia Needs More Lerts”)

    And of course delarted is the opposite of elarted.



    A pendant.

  117. Ootz, there was a report on the ANU opinion survey showing changed attitudes yesterday in the AFR, as I’m sure you know. I’m hoping to find a source that is not pay-walled. Traumatic events like the bushfires shift ingrained attitudes, so the shift is not surprising. Morrison could have used it to pivot on climate policy. He has a bit, but is still in the mode of pretending he’s doing something when he’s not, or is even working in the opposite direction through Angus Taylor’s efforts on electricity.

    Ambi, John’s comment on risk was apposite and timely.

    I could just point out that at LP I did a post on Martin Weitzman in 2008, who is the classic on risk and climate change. You will find some posts about him at this tag at this tag. It includes a post about John Quiggin’s discovery of Weitzman some 7 years later.

    We know that Garnaut was aware of Weitzman when he wrote his report (2009 initially, I think) but chose to ignore him.

    I picked up a wasp sting just below my left eye yesterday, and have a very fat one side of my face. Tonight we are going to hear Richard Dennis on how to fix the economy. I’m going to concentrate on climate posts for the next couple of weeks, but the heat, humidity, plant growth since we had rain, and unavoidable commitments are not my friend.

    First task is to find out more about the Green New Deal which is Greens policy and a very active thing in Labor policy consideration at present. Some LEAN people were impressed with Jeremy Rifkin who was keynote speaker at a Chifley Centre “Towards 2022” Conference last year. Need an hour to check it out.

    Rifkin, we are told, advises Angel Merkel and the Chinese about the future. I believe he said something about coal and gas being dead in the water from about 2028.

  118. I remember when all weather problems were blamed on atom bomb testing. So it is wise not to blame everything on climate change.
    On the other hand climate change science is based on a lot more data that claims about atomic bombs.
    We also should be talking about the risks associated with rising population, reduced water availability, changing weather patterns etc. They all add to the risks associated with climate change. Particularly the added difficulty to human respose to cli.mate change

  119. “We also should be talking about the risks associated with rising population, reduced water availability, changing weather patterns etc. They all add to the risks associated with climate change. Particularly the added difficulty to human response to cli.mate change”
    Perfectly said John.

  120. Here is a link that whilst not directly climate change, it relates to the increased fragility and uncertainty of relationships with the US under Trump.

    The link to climate change is that the US is the largest polluter and is moving towards increasing it’s carbon footprint, not reducing it. As a global “partner”, an unconstrained Trump (he is now post-trial) will likely deny any climate-saving initiatives.

  121. While we are on about risks an vulnerability a friend who is interested in these things had these things to say”
    “A little while ago, global smart phone production stopped. All smart phones have a battery. That battery contains a polymer gel. That polymer gel is made by a little company inside Japan Inc. That little company’s plant suffered a fire. It shut down this obscure little factory. This little factory is the only manufacturer of the polymer gel used in smart phone batteries, in the world. It took 5 weeks to restore production. In the meantime, with Just In Time delivery schedules, there was no polymer gel. No polymer gel, no smart phone batteries … and thus, no smart phones. Now, multiply this absurdity many times and you have the world’s dependence on China. Now you get an idea just how absurdly exposed to good news the global economy is.

    Given that the global marketplace has become invested for total stability, the result of the prolonged inactivity in those little Chinese factories each producing one vital component, will be the collapse of the entire global marketplace. The world will then be forced to return to autarchy at a much lower level of complexity and productivity. However, between the global collapse and the new autarchic industry (what ever that will look like) will be chaos. Your feelings will be the same as if you “own” an apartment in Opal Tower … trapped.

    The Bunnings/JB HiFi/Chemist Warehouse you see isn’t what there is. You would be surprised how many products have so many parts that are manufactured by one, just one, Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) somewhere in the world, usually China. And these parts are supplied on a Just In Time basis, right across the world. Amazing … alarming. And guess where the bulk of these “one stop shop” SME’s for the automotive industry is … you guessed it. Hubei Province! But the pharmaceutical industry is equally exposed, with the supply of its ingredients supplied by one SME, in China, Just In Time, totally dependent on the absence of adverse events. 70% of America’s antibiotics comes from China.”
    Be afraid, very afraid?
    And spend more time on risk management?

  122. Geoff

    “….. the US is the largest polluter and is moving towards increasing it’s carbon footprint, not reducing it.”””

    China is the largest, twice that of the US.
    China’s emissions are growing fast, in the US it’s slightly dropping.

    Don’t trust me, ask Brian.

  123. Thanks Brian for the link to the Guardian study. Since your recent problem with your blog crashing and the html buttons disappeared I have become somewhat lazy with posting links. usually I will provide enough information, such as head line and source for others to easily search. I imagine you are reluctant to go back to the pre-crash setup, so I am wondering how everyone else deals with html formatting their comments?

    Risk management and the determining risk assessment requires to some extend scientific and stats literacy or a good sense of numbers, say like with bet-hedging in gambling or in hedging investment. Thus with profound medical diagnosis, there are specialist communicators who translates the live expectancy and mortality rate of a particular cancer as well as the live expectancy and mortality rate of a particular medical intervention, so a patients can make their own decision of which path they like to choose. Often that decision has to be made in difficult circumstances. Similarly so, say in critical incidents such evacuations and assessing impact of natural disasters, where many more factors come into play. See the recent policy change in stay or leave message in bushfires. Probabilities are one important aspect in that risk assessment/management process, the other significant one is magnitude of outcome. In betting both odds and stake are taken into consideration along with other factors, like there could be rain on the track, by the serious punter.

    This understanding is a helpful tool to look at the risks of varies scenarios with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and the statistical benchmark of global temperature rises. Thus the importance of Brian’s comment about the 10% chance of 6ºC warming and its predicted consequences being too high a chance to his liking, in his Weizman post he linked to. Have you asked yourself what level risk given the probabilities and magnitude of outcomes, you are comfortable with?

    This is where actually the science is settled on, the risk various scenario of Greenhouse gasses concentrations and to related magnitude of outcomes. If you like the odds and stakes along with relevant factors of the climate bet is settled. That is how I look at it, to me it is not wether one believes in climate change or not. It is about the freedom to be able to make an informed choice. Whether it is to buy that smart phone, or to sit into an airplane, or treatment for a serious illness, or averting hiatus a global scale by emitting greenhouse gasses by an industrial scale in a short time reversing bonds in a chemical reaction of molecules that took millions of years to form.

  124. John D

    That’s a little perturbing about Japan, China and doubtless dozens of other SMEs that we never hear of. Your friend has delivered a timely warning.

    Even old stagers at “The Australian” have been putting up warning flags about our economy being interlocked with China’s.

    It’s not just our exports to them, imports from them (as if ‘taps can be turned off or on’). Financial links too.

    Regardless of coronavirus, if the Chinese economy staggers or goes into recession, there’s BIG trouble in the near term for the developed world. A ‘coronary’.

    Good to see you’ve started assessing the risks.

    Thanks John, Brian, Ootz, zoot for your links, ideas and facts.

  125. Jumpy you might be right but the US, under Trump, is wilfully increasing its carbon footprint. It’s another case of climate denial but it affects the world.

  126. Geoff, every graph I’ve seen of US and Chinese emissions ( or if you insist on personalise entire countries , Xi and Trump ) under Trump it’s decreasing and Xi is increasing.
    Someone said, and I can’t remember who, that the US annual decline is replaced by China in a 3 weeks.
    I’ll need to fact check that one.

    Anywho, what evidence can you show me any increase in emissions by Trump ?
    All the science I’ve seen says otherwise.

  127. Jumpy: U.S. Emissions Dropped in 2019: Here’s Why in 6 Charts:
    “Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States dropped last year after a sharp increase in 2018, new data released Tuesday show. The drop resumed a long-term downward trend driven chiefly by a shift away from coal power generation.
    The story of the emissions decline has largely been one of market forces—rather than policies—that have made utilities close coal plants in favor of cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. But this shift to lower-carbon energy has been restricted to the electricity sector, and the nation’s emissions cuts are still not on track to meet the targets it agreed to under the Paris climate accord.
    In order to meet those goals, experts say, federal policies will likely need to target other sectors that collectively make up a majority of U.S. emissions. ”
    Trump had nothing to do with what is happening. On the other hand he doesn’t appear to be subsidizing coal fired power stations which puts him ahead of some of our National party MP,s.
    What is going on in China is interesting and holds out hope for a reduction in emissions as coal fired power becomes less and less competitive.
    By contrast, Australia’s carbon emissions rise again, largely thanks to LNG industry. Australia’s carbon emissions rise again, largely thanks to LNG industry. (Liquification consumes roughly 25% of the contained energy.)
    In all of the above keep in mind emissions that are generated within the country. Some countries look good for this reason since the emissions generated producing the goods a country consumes don’t count if the emitting happens somewhere else. (E.g the LNG example mentioned above.)

  128. Just saw Tweet by Aussie entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brooks:

    “Exactly as forecast & yet seismic news for Australia. India will stop importing our thermal coal from 2023/24. I’d expect China will be next. Countries will prioritise local supply over imports as coal dies off. This is v. bad for Australia w/o a plan.”

    He links to ‘Economic Times’ reporting “India to stop thermal coal imports from FY24: Prahlad Joshi”

  129. Jumpy, Trump has reduced the size of national parks and now authorised fracking in areas to increase the supply of fossil fuels. And it is clear that if you report something he does not like, your career is over. So do you trust his numbers?
    What does that tell you? Are those policies leaning towards a reduction of carbon? You can’t, despite your “science”, support a now-dictator of the once great America as an influence that makes the world a better place on any parameter you want to argue. JD’s post is very clear, I urge you to read and absorb.

    Want to dispute all that? Bring it on man!

  130. Geoff, please, you made two mistakes.
    1 The US has the largest carbon footprint.
    2 US emissions are increasing under Trump.

    Both are incorrect, own it.

    “”Want to dispute all that? Bring it on man!””

    Are you impersonating Joe Biden or something ?

  131. “”The story of the emissions decline has largely been one of market forces…”””

    Well, who’d a thunk it.
    But hey, keep pushing for counterproductive government forces if ya won’t learn.

  132. It’s been a long, hot, hard day so I’ll leave youse all with a challenge.
    If you show me a list of all the commodities, products, services or practices that have been made redundant, eradicated or stopped because of government power then I’ll match it tenfold with free market innovation power.

    Good luck and good night.

  133. Jumpy, I made a mistake you missed: I got into the discussion ring with you. My bad.

    It takes two people to lie – one to lie, another to listen. And, it takes two or more to have a discussion. In that case, an essential basis is a Fact. When one of the party denies Fact, the discussion becomes pointless – a bit like trying to convince a flat-earther that he/she is wrong, or that Trump is good for the world.

    It is late Jumpy, and I wish you a good sleep.

  134. “Eradicated or stopped” is a bit harsh Mr J.
    Makes you sound like an extremist, what you might call a communist.

    How about moderation, amelioration, gradual and well-considered changes?

    Or does the free market turn everyone into Gadarene Swine, hurtling heedlessly wherever whim and fashion might lead?? Nature, red in tooth and claw. Life should be nasty, brutish and shirt, should it?

    [still waiting for my pendant. which Private Courier did you send it with? ]

  135. I’ve just sent around an email to the most frequent commenters about manual work-arounds because we don’t have the buttons above the box.

    People posting links directly that they got via an email will find that you can delete the “?” in the URL and everything that follows, and it will work just fine.

  136. I’m not going to do a check, but I think Jumpy is right when he says China’s emissions are bigger than those of the US, and are growing whereas the US emissions are falling.

    Three comments.

    First, the US according to John’s link is only reducing in energy by replacing coal with gas.

    There are issues about how gas is counted. Short term (up to about 60-70 years) it is much more potent than coal. And it is not actually counted physically. It’s done with a formula which is suss.

    Second, we should be counting according to how much GHG is caused by what we consume. Many countries are exporting their emissions by sending manufacturing offshore.

    Third, as I detailed in the long post
    Climate emergency – ecological sustainability within planetary boundaries, and a safe climate it’s basically a scam that allows developing countries to increase their emissions. China as a ‘developing country’ is within the rules of Kyoto and Paris to do what they are doing, but there never was any ‘burnable carbon’ when the UN started working on the issue in the early 1990s.

  137. Brian: Both gas and coal produce fugitive methane gas emissions during extraction, transport etc. Emissions are also generated as a consequence of processing and transport. In the case of coal carbonaceous waste that ends up in waste stockpiles, tailing dams or left exposed near the surface oxidizes to CO2 over time. Emissions calculated on the basis of what happens when the gas/coal is used understate the case. This is particularly true for LNG as a result of the high levels of energy used to liquefy it. (In this context note that gas in the US is not liquefied.)
    Larrisa Waters pointed out to me once that coal shipped from Qld and fed to modern ultra critical power stations in China generated less CO2/kWh than power generated in China from Qld LNG.
    We need to be careful looking at emission data.

  138. Meditating on “unprecedented” again and wondering why the fire professionals insist on using it to describe 2019/20 in the face of expert opinion from such luminaries as Andrew Bolt.

    Consider a fire season which burnt X hectares, destroyed Y dwellings and caused the death of Z people.
    If there was a fire which burnt a larger area but destroyed no dwellings and killed no people, a different fire which destroyed more dwellings but didn’t burn as large an area nor cause as many deaths, and a third fire which didn’t burn as large an area nor destroy as many dwellings but which caused more deaths, have they really set a precedent for the fire season under discussion? (I vote no)

  139. Meditate on this.
    X is the major metric because of its static boundary, the area of Australia isn’t changing. One could argue that X is more relevant because there is less area to burn due to land clearing compared to the 1800s.
    Y and Z are both moving due to many factors, population growth being a major one but not necessarily the biggest.

  140. All the above notwithstanding, people with expertise in fires matters appeared to have their minds blown by what happened, as did many common folk.

    I think experientially it will go down as one of the signal events in the global warming story, like the big melt that happened in the Arctic in 2007, and coral bleaching in two successive years in 2016 and 2017.

  141. Jumpy’s observations are accurate and valid.
    They also have no bearing on the question I asked at 3:30 pm.

  142. In the State of Queen Victoria, we’re concerned with farms, dwellings, bushland, National Parks and human lives.

    So Black Saturday at 173 deaths stands out.

    Nonetheless, the timing of New Year’s Eve fires in East Gippsland at the peak of the holiday/camping/caravanning/beachside/bushwalking summer season was widely noticed.

    And for the stay-at-homes in Melbourne, or holiday makers etc elsewhere, smoke haze that hangs around for days or weeks, replenished by easterly winds, was truly memorable. When you have people coughing, and warnings to stay indoors, it concentrates the mind.

    Jeepers, some of us don’t get much sunshine. How dare the visibility be down to 2km? And Sydney was worse, I hear.

    Let alone really close to the fires.

    zoot, Brian, Jumpy you make good points about stats.
    The detail and human impact can be lost in a bland “metric”.
    Objective it may be,…. but……

  143. Hey John, Old Groote Eylandt is looking likely to get a Whirlygig form real close.
    Something to keep an eye on for them and the rest of the Gulf.

    Normally that brings good rain toward the middle which will be somewhere between first real rain, through good follow up rain to too much rain depending on the spot.

    The Cyclone Raffle, gotta luv it.

  144. Jumpy only a chance at this time but likely a good storm at least.
    On some of the storm forums you see posters rubbing their hands anticipating a cracker event. Those f**kers don’t live through the blow and think of it as entertainment.
    Point is, there is no room for flippancy when dealing with cyclones.

  145. Geoff, I don’t visit storm forums but I’ll take your word for it. There are Cyclone parties commonly here and I cant condemn that.

    I’m fully prepared for a Cat 5 if that should occur.

    I’ve been through a few moderate ones and found boredom my worse enemy.

    It’s been 102 years since Mackay has been hit in the guts hard so we may be due soon.

  146. Jumpy “There are Cyclone parties commonly here and I can’t condemn that.” Huh? ‘Sounds a bit red neck I think. And disdainful of those people who really will suffer and lose so much. Go look at the pics of Tracey. That was a cat 5 and the land was laid bare. Good luck with your preparations.

    My mate in Darwin was fully prepared until the refrigerator from next door burst into his home. A cat 5 is full scary and you cannot “fully prepare” for it. The forces are totally overwhelming Jumpy, take my word for it.

    Boredom your worst enemy? In a cyclone alert?

    Temporal predictions for the arrival of a cyclone are without merit. Same as predicting a 1 in 100-year event. It can happen twice in a week. Earthquakes are more predictable than cyclones. Just for fun, look up the historical cyclone track on Bom. Try and divine some significant predictability from that.

  147. Geoff, I’ve seen the Cyclone spaghetti map plenty of times, even linked to it here.
    Never seen a place get hit by 2 different cyclones in a week.
    Calm down a bit, I’ll be fine.

    Oh, and the “ red neck “ term is definitely racist, socioeconomic bigotry. You may want to reconsider using it in future. Up to you.

  148. Suit yourself Jumpy. The idea of celebrating a cyclone is past weird, and about what I place in the redneck mentale.

  149. Not willing to stop being racist ehh?
    Well. Join zoot in that “ mentale “.

    I hope you reconsider.

    In any event, I may plan a Cyclone party of my own to assure the safety of my selected invitees.
    Sorry, your not on the list. No racists allowed.

  150. Patrick Huber, in his monograph A Short History of Redneck: The Fashioning of a Southern White Masculine Identity wrote

    The redneck has been stereotyped in the media and popular culture as a poor, dirty, uneducated, and racist Southern white man.

    There’s a lot more here.

  151. From Wikipedia:

      Redneck is a derogatory term chiefly but not exclusively applied to white Americans perceived to be crass and unsophisticated, closely associated with rural whites of the Southern United States.
  152. Jumpy: “Hey John, Old Groote Eylandt is looking likely to get a Whirlygig form real close.
    Something to keep an eye on for them and the rest of the Gulf.”
    Been through two cyclones where the center went close to where I was but nothing like cat 5. The gulf was the sort of area where you could have warnings that went up to orange in a week.
    The houses we lived in were designed for 170k so we could have been in deep dodo if a really big one hit. (Built shelters under the houses to handle much more after Tracey.)

  153. Now the government has managed to seriously piss off the CWA with what it wants the CWA to do about drought relief.
    “The Country Women’s Association (CWA) has slammed the Federal Government over its drought assistance, describing the latest funding announcement as “disappointing, infuriating, insulting and disrespectful”.”
    My wife was active in the CWA in the mining towns we lived in.
    Having watched these branches in action, all I can say that if the National Party is pissing off the CWA it should be placed on suicide watch.
    More from the link:
    “The CWA has written to the Government to say it will not be participating in the outreach program as it is currently proposed.
    It said its state branches did not support the process of administering $500 vouchers at public events, such as barbecues or roadshows, as they understood the Government intended.
    “We’ve explained to the Federal Government on a number of occasions very clearly why, for NSW, the vouchers don’t work,” CWA NSW chief executive Danica Leys said.
    “I don’t think the provision of assistance in this way should be tied to having to attend an event to get it.”
    In New South Wales, the CWA has distributed more than $16 million of drought aid in recent years, directly depositing funding in the recipients’ bank accounts.
    “People are given the dignity and respect to make the decision they need to make,” Ms Leys said of the CWA system.

  154. John, A secured shipping container is a good Cyclone shelter is one thinks ahead a little. The NT must be flush with them.

    On your CWA remarks, they weren’t formed as a taxpayer cash distribution outlet ( and grift off the top )
    They used to be grateful for any donation of good or vouchers.
    When exactly did the socialist entitlement take hold of them do you think ?

    My Mum and Nan were in the CWA because it was a Country Women’s Association that helped people as best they could, never bitched that the donations weren’t good enough.
    And didn’t get a red cent from Nanny.

  155. The CWA is about as far from any sort of “socialist entitlement” attitude, as it’s possible to be in Australia. How dare you, Jumpy.

    Have a look at the quotes John provided.

    Carefully study what is meant by this:
    The CWA has written to the Government to say it will not be participating in the outreach program as it is currently proposed.

    then consider how a national organisation of volunteers matches up to your attempted slur.

  156. Jumpy: My take is that the CWA is more in touch with how country people feel during a long drought when they are unable to contribute to the welfare of the country. They would also be more in touch with the impracticality of getting to some event to accept a lousy $500 voucher in return for listening to a candidate from a government party. They would also understand how being forced to use vouchers rubs in how far they have fallen during the drought.
    It seems that what once was the farmers party has lost its empathy for the problems of drought affected farmers.
    Dunno whether you ever had much empathy for strugglers.

  157. Jumpy what’s your beef with the CWA? It has been around a very long time and is notable for it’s very close ties to the people of townships. It is ultra-local, more so perhaps than local government, making it especially sensitive to Community.
    Since you have declared me racist, I think I can call you a misogynist, based on your unqualified predjudice.

  158. Geoff,

    My opinion is that Mr J tosses around the term “racist” willy nilly without due regard to its accepted meaning. In the context where he labelled you r**ist, it didn’t make sense.

    Racist = race-based prejudice.

    If he could broaden his lexicon of insults, it might make for less arduous efforts of interpretation on the part of readers.

    I offer for his consideration:
    fellow traveller
    pusillanimous toad
    carrier of deadly virus
    fillibuster merchant
    supercilious mountebank
    Socratic Dyer of Logs
    cyclone scaredycat

    Cheerio for now

  159. Fair go people, I think Jumpy has a point.
    If people are so stupid as to try farming in drought prone areas why should we go all socialist and assist them with our money? What we need is an individualistic, survival of the fittest, devil take the hindmost society where freedom can truly flourish. We must stop rewarding failure!

  160. I suspect the viability of farming in some areas is becoming questionable.

    However, $500 is a pathetic amount, and continues the theme of this government pretending to do something when it’s not. But they want maximum credit and visibility, not understanding that this means public humiliation.

    I think Pauline Hanson and the Katters will do well in Qld next election, elsewhere perhaps the Shooters and Fishers.

  161. The QCWA has always given out “disappointing, infuriating, insulting and disrespectful” vouchers.
    Does anyone really think that level of funding will be on a 1 voucher per person basis?

    I’m getting tired if these so called non-profits, that started and functioned totally without tax cash for decades, charity gouging so they can send their shiny arse delegations first class all over the world to live 5 star movie star lives.
    Receiving hundreds of millions and passing on a fraction of it.

    There should be a full Royal Commission into these “ charities “, not just their aged care abuse and child abuse activities.
    A comprehensive, root and branch audit to find out how much is grifted off the top for “ administration “
    There are 65,000+ and growing in Australia, that’s industrial scale tax theft.

  162. Yeah Ambi, I don’t often respond to Jumpy’s alternative view of the world, I really do know better. Yet I did, fool me.

  163. Geoff, you used the R word ( a race specific word ) in a derogatory way.
    I pointed the out but you doubled down.
    If I use the N word in the same way I’d expect to be called racist.

    Zoot openly admitted he was racist.

    That’s one reason I love free speech, folks are allowed to expose themselves and we non racists can voice disappointment.

    Clam up if you think it will improve the situation if you want but it won’t.

  164. Hahaha, zoot publishes the opposite of reality again.
    Perhaps CNN is a better name for him, very similar traits.

  165. Thanks Brian for the email with the HTML commands, guess I have no excuse now to not post links.

    Amazing, almost the whole thread on here deals with jumpy’s emotions and whims. I guess mission achieved for him. What happened to insightful discussion and sharing of relevant information, like we use to have back in the days. If I want to be exposed to self important narrow minded rants I don’t need to come here, as I live in regional Qld and exposed to such on daily basis. Greenie and socialist bashing is a Volk sport and the word environment can evoke mass exasperation with red hot fits of anger here. One does not show a shred of intellect unless one wants to get ostracized. And still they wonder why the clever young ones are not hanging around.

  166. Aaand ootz has a rant about his intellectual supremacy, emotions and whims on the subject of someone else.

    Perhaps he could focus rather on self awareness and consistency of position.
    Perhaps too late, perhaps not.

  167. Jumpy it’s simple, give me a coherent argument that you can backup with evidence or a valid and reliable reference, because that is the foundation of an intelligent debate. What is evident on this thread as most others that I happen to look at, is your contribution is not conducive to a coherent debate. I am not saying you are not intelligent, if anything you are clever enough to drag any discussion on Brian’s blog into the absurd and personal. I invite you to repost comments on here from you which are not, to prove me wrong. Even your ‘CWA argument’ above does not make sense. Can you simplify and bring it to a point as well as provide the relevant context to Brian’s post please?

  168. Ootz, be bothered to read my links please.
    Obviously you ignore them.
    My comments here may just pause momentarily the spiraling circle jerk hive mind.

    Healthy critique is not your enemy, nor are alternative perspectives.

    Every time I’ve been accused of not making sense is by folk that refuse to examine their own blindness of counterintuitive possibilities. That’s what I’m here for for myself.

    What brings you here, agreement and ideological comradeship, or to test your preconceptions ?

  169. Jumpy

    I asked about your views on making homes, buildings and properties more fire safe.

    You’re in the building game aren’t you?
    Thought you might have some facts and opinions not available to me.

    I’ve offerred brief experiences of Ash Wednesday abd Black Saturday fires that had large death tolls in Victoria. Also a few notes on changes to CFA and Vic Govt policies and attitudes since 1983. Nanny learns. Geographic spread of housing changes. People’s fire awareness changes. Droughts come and go.

    Can you offer facts about buildings, refuges, life saving. …. or is it all
    Stupidity and

    with you people?

    Here’s an anecdote : my own view was that the dire warnings given publicly by the Premier about two days before Black Saturday, mist likely helped save hundreds of lives. (Nonetheless 173 died.)

    A few months later an adult Victorian told me that the main effect of the warnings was “to bring out the arsonists “.

    What think you??

  170. “”Ootz, be bothered to read my links please.””

    I actually did read that last link since it was a address. It is not clear how that link fits to JohnDs argument or prove somewhat that CWAA are duplicating services here. From my critical thinking chair it looks like you indulge in some character assassination and rave on inefficient government spending. It is not clear if you agree with JohnD’s argument about that “lousy $500 voucher” or not.

    “”Obviously you ignore them.””
    Can you substantiate that?

    “”My comments here may just pause momentarily the spiraling circle jerk hive mind.””

    What is a spiraling circle jerk hive mind, can you be more descriptive, give examples? Do you feel left out of the circle? What is the reason or rational for you to pause this scjhm?

    “”Healthy critique is not your enemy, nor are alternative perspectives””

    Are you accusing me of not understand and practice critical thinking and pluralism?

    “”Every time I’ve been accused of not making sense is by folk that refuse to examine their own blindness of counterintuitive possibilities. “”

    Please, what am I exactly blind of and how does intuition exactly relevant in a rational debate?

    “”That’s what I’m here for for myself.””

    Is that not very charitable of you?

    “”What brings you here, agreement and ideological comradeship, or to test your preconceptions ?””

    I thought I made that very clear in my comment above: What happened to insightful discussion and sharing of relevant information, like we use to have back in the days?

  171. Swamping with questions and non-answering with disingenuous question is an obviously tactic that would not fall into the “ intelligent debate “ category.

    Please, again, self reflection doesn’t mean projection.
    I’m running out of way to help ya ootz.

  172. “”I’m running out of way to help ya ootz.””

    And I thought asking pertinent questions is part of critical thinking. I am reminded of a philosopher condemned to scull a cup of hemlock for asking too many questions.

    Is Brian’s mentioning in the op of Prof JQ ‘s:
    “”.. In some areas of human activity such as farming, we are exhausting our capacity to adapt to climate change…””
    an example of a spiraling circle jerk hive mind? Is it therefor illegitimate to ask how a major industry may cope with such changes? If we are not going to spend money on them via charities, should we start looking at transition management?

  173. “” If we are not going to spend money on them via charities, should we start looking at transition management? “”
    Yes, but only voluntary Capitalism has a possibility to achieve it, not force based socialism.

    That said, I’m off for the evening, slag off at will.
    ( thumbs up and big smile emoji )

  174. Honestly Ootz, I don’t know why Jumpy condescends to waste his time on us. Obviously we are an undisciplined gaggle of recalcitrant reprobates who obstinately refuse to play by his rules. His devotion to the cause of leading us into the light is almost saintly, yet we continue do abuse him by asking for such things as evidence, rational thought and coherent arguments. We really don’t deserve him.

  175. What is “voluntary capitalism”?

    When I search it, it suggests “Anarcho-capitalism” (true, maybe Google is in on that spiraling circle hive mind jerk) as:

    “”a political philosophy and economic theory that advocates the elimination of centralized states in favor of self-ownership, private property and free markets. Anarcho-capitalists hold that in the absence of statute (which they describe as law by arbitrary autocratic decrees, or bureaucratic legislation swayed by transitory political special interest groups), society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through the spontaneous and organic discipline of the free market (in what its proponents describe as a “voluntary society”). “”

    OK, what to make of this, how does one formulate relevant policies around that. Or is that the point, let affected farmers fend for themselves with the aid of the famed market ? Do we have to resort to sell sponge cakes (my best shot for counterintuitive possibilities) to address the raw needs of despondent farmers. How does voluntary capitalism help one avoid a spiraling circle jerk hive mind in this regard?

  176. Oh, do please keep up, Mr Ootz.

    You must begin by reading the collected works of Prince Kropotkin (he of “Mutual Aid”), perhaps some Russian Anarchists in the original Russian. Mikhail Bakunin.

    Don’t go down the path of assassinations (“propaganda of the deed”) around 1890 to 1915.

    The Spanish anarchists of the 1930s wasted a lot of priestly lives, but Noam Chomsky used to sing their praises. Perhaps some self-governing collectives of the 1960s??, or kibbutzes (but keep well away from the socialists).

    Ultimately you are likely to reach the scene from the film “Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail ” where a brownish peasant explains their ideology to an itinerant monarch.

    By then, mein Freund, you will be well and truly in the ScheiB.


  177. Once again, you have to admit, Jumpy’s right.
    Just look at how great we’re doing with voluntary capitalism. It wasn’t volunteers working together who put the fires out (that would be socialism!) it was the invisible hand of the market. Oh, and some rain.

  178. The very visible hand of Jupiter Pluvius .

    Up on Mount Olympus with his Merry Band of anarcho-capitalist deities.

    “As flies are we to the wanton gods.
    They kill us for their sport.”

    – WS
    Rugged individualist and actor

  179. In order to educate myself I searched “spiraling circle jerk hive mind”.
    It appears to be a conflation of some americanisms .

    According to urban dictionary Circle jerk
    “”In addition to all the group masturbation definitions,
    The Circle Jerks are a hardcore punk band formed circa 1979 in Hermosa Beach, California. It was formed by Black Flag’s original singer, Keith Morris, and future Bad Religion guitarist Greg Hetson. They were among the preeminent punk bands of the L.A. scene in the early 1980s.””
    I must admit that I have some penchant for Punk, even though it is not my favorite music genre (World Music, Jazz, Funk more like It). The irreverence of the Sex Pistols ‘God Save the Queen’, the simple bass lines even I can whack out on my bass..

    As for origin of hive mind, reddit offers:

    “”James H. Schmitz was the first person to dub a collective alien intelligence a “hive mind” in his 1950 story Second Night of Summer, in which humans on another planet are attacked by the Halpa, aliens who are believed to have “the hive-mind class of intelligence.” The humans are saved, unusually, by an elderly woman, Granny Wannattel. In 1973, it would meander outside of science fiction to describe bureaucracy in a March 1973 edition of the Daily Telegraph, “The social and aesthetic attitudes have been passed through the homogeniser of the bureaucratic hive-mind.”””

    Well science fiction, that is sort of cool and the Daily Telegraph and ‘attitudes’ makes kind of sense.
    Thanks jumpy it has been an education.

  180. Maybe we can repay the favour by explaining to Jumpy the difference between the Black Knight and the Pink Knight?

  181. Ambi, upthread I think you meant ‘Scheiß’. It’s actually ‘Scheiße’. People can Google if they don’t know.


  182. Trust you Brian to be bewandt in German orthography. Not many would master the use of the grapheme ß, called Eszett oder scharfes S (lit. “sharp S”). It represents the [s] phoneme in Standard German, specifically when following long vowels and diphthongs, while ss is used after short vowels.

    In German too, Scheisse is more of an exclamation, where as Kacke (from lat. cacare) tends to be used as a superlative, but there are lots of regional variations. In Swiss-German, for example, the emphasis is more on the second vowel and rather softer s with the addition of dräck (filthy-dirty) as a superlative, as in Schiisdräck. While the French have an elegant way of turning merde into a descriptive, as in ‘les français ils sont merdiques’. Sometimes when discretion is required it is advantageous to be able to express the sentiment in obscure languages say Zulu ‘masepa’ or local blekfella idiom ‘gunna’. All in all though, English is rather limited in Wortschatz when it comes to express the sentiment, some languages are much more florid and versatile when it comes to shit!

    Which brings me to above mentioned “counterintuitive possibilities” by our lone warrior. I was not quite sure what to make of it. But it sounds profound and in the hope that, like a Delphic oracle, it would reveal something about myself of immense importance enabling me to examine my alleged ” own blindness”. So a search came up with something very close, counter-intuitive probability! From some mathematical site:
    “”The most famous counter-intuitive probability theory example is the Monty Hall Problem

    In a game show, there are three doors behind which there are a car and two goats. However, which door conceals which is unknown to you, the player.
    Your aim is to select the door behind which the car is. So, you go and stand in front of a door of your choice.
    At this point, regardless of which door you selected, the game show host chooses and opens one of the remaining two doors. If you chose the door with the car, the host selects one of the two remaining doors at random (with equal probability) and opens that door. If you chose a door with a goat, the host selects and opens the other door with a goat.
    You are given the option of standing where you are and switching to the other closed door.
    Does switching to the other door increase your chances of winning? Or does it not matter?

    The answer is that it does matter whether or not you switch. This is initially counter-intuitive for someone seeing this problem for the first time.””


  183. Danke schoen Ootz.

    I’m glad that Brian and you recognised that my B represented that Germanic double s. And you’ve both given me much to ponder.

    In the Monty Python film the collectivist anarchist is literally in the ScheiB. . Apologies for my lack of grapheme capability. Do you remember the scene in the Holy Grail film ?

    Several ruggedly individualistic persons are working by the sweats of their individual brows, collecting bovine excrement (European BS) presumably for fertiliser. A passing monarch addresses one of the peasants, who is insufficiently groveling.

    But now I must study your Swiss German. At school we were taught only hoch Deutsch, and that only at elementary level. Enough.

  184. My parents spoke what is now known as Barossa Deutsch, but from WW2 they spoke only English because we had working men on the farm. I did three years of German at university and some German Honours work, but I was never fluent and my contact with the language has been sporadic.

    I remember at university a German son of a missionary being introduced to another student who was Swiss German. The German greeted the Swiss with enthusiasm and said, “Ah, ein Landsmann!” The reaction of the Swiss was courteous but clear, and burnt into my brain.

    On orthography, I have no clue on how to produce these things on a keyboard. I Google the word, and somewhere it will appear there in the result, complete with diacritics. So it’s just copy and paste. Simple!

    I have to rush off to work again now, although rain threatens.

  185. My sincere apologies Ambie for my apparent blindness of counterintuitive possibilities and not recognising the B in you ScheiB as ß. As an aside, in German some polite people do use Scheib or Scheibe (a disk or pane) as an exclamation in public.

    The Hochdeutsch (high german), which is in reality the Hannoverian dialect, is like the comparable Queens English. I would say German has more pronounced regional diversity in dialects than English. Some linguists say there still are as many as 250 distinct German dialects. Take Plattdeutsch from the deep north, it probably has more Norse features than Broad Yorkshire, Tyke or Yorkie. Then take the Berliner dialect which originates from the old Brandenburgisch, sounds like posh Cockney delivered in staccato. Now for the Bavarian dialect or Boarisch, think of the thickest and slowest Irish and go factor ten. The Swabian dialect in the south has old Allemannic roots and is comparable with the Scottish in terms of intonation, as it is delivered in kind of a similar sing-song. Swiss German is also based on old Allemannic but has unique grammar and vocabulary with dashes of French while the higher up into the mountains you get remnants of Celtic.

    I grew up in the highlands of Switzerland, a small nation with 4 national languages and as many dialects as there are valleys. When I worked in the lowland regions I often had to resort to High German in order to be understood precisely. Some of my relatives are native French speakers, which is not really French but some local patois, same with Italian in Ticino. Things have changed somewhat with mobility of people and globalisation factor of english, but in my days, when you met someone and you could not recognise their idiom, you’d greet by asking ‘where you from’.

    My experience of languages in southern Africa, where I lived and worked for some years, where just as complex. Most native Africans would speak about five languages pretty fluent. From the official English and further south Afrikaans or Portuguese in the east and west (I have been told off in perfect German by an otherwise silent old man in the middle of the Namib desert, who appeared out from nowhere, for driving a VW Kombi into the desert and getting stuck. He picked our origin while talking amongst ourself, mocking us with ‘we Germans know everything better’!), to the many and varied Bantu languages. Tswana and Shona would be as different as say German and Tschech. Where as Zulu and Xhosa language have adopted some Khoisan, spoken by the original southern people the San or Bushmen, hence the varied clicks and other highly unusual intonations . In a work place where there was often a huge mix of cultures, I never knew exactly which language I was spoken to or spoke myself, indeed in the mines they developed a unique language Fanalago, a Southern African Esperanto, for that reason.

    Now the written and spoken language is one thing, but the meaning and connotation therein are another. It takes a lot of practice and skill to ‘feel’ oneself into another culture through its language. So I am perturbed when I, a tri- and some more-lingual, who has lived on three continents, worked in a handful of different professions as well as travelled extensively for years and been around the traps, gets fobbed off with ” blindness of counterintuitive possibilities (sic)”. Particularly when it is thrown about by a patriotic member of the born and bred brigade, who can barely express himself succinctly and is stuck on some utopian cloud, while condescending everyone who is not ridding on his particular thought bubble. As a fellow Far North Queenslander once lamented: “poor fellow my country”.

  186. More so, what about calling our host Brian and his forum, which he offers to us kindly, with his carefully crafted posts, building comprehensive and meticulous cases with many valid points, backing it up with relevant references including some of his previous comprehensive posts, facilitating deep understanding of extremely complex issues, such as climate change and energy. Just look at the present post, how many hours would have gone into this, how many years of research did it take to have such a comprehensive overview on the topic, how much conviction does it take to publish year in year out easy digestible yet highly detailed and pertinent posts on that level? And yet you get these characters who dismiss it all simply as a “spiralling circle jerk hive mind”, because in the main us few commentators agree with Brian’s offerings.

    I am really baffled by such audacity, disrespect and insult without foundation. What makes someone do or say such things? How did we end up here? Does this incident not just represent the broader problem we experience on the energy and climate issue? Is it a matter of too much freedom and no matching necessary responsibility? And what about the delusion that he/they do us/society a favour in stalling sincere discussion on these pressing topics in order to save us from our “preconceptions”. Is that not some form of Messiah complex? Does he/they understand the difference between empirical process of scientific understanding and preconceptions? Or is it a lack of trust in perceived authorities, hence the veiled nod towards anarchy? Could it be just a reflexive reaction or acquired behaviour to respond to perceived threads? Am I wrong to think there must be a reason for a person(s) to publicly expose themselves to such obvious embarrassing degree?

  187. Ootz, after your description of my posting, I don’t think I’ll ever post again, for fear that I couldn’t live up to that standard!

    To balance that there are people around who point out my defects on a regular basis.

    I’m committed to carrying on for a bit. I guess I’d like to pass the Greta test. I’m not writing with her in mind, but I’d like to think she would approve of my stuff if she ever read it.

    Tonight I watched Four Corners and Q&A. Then had a conversation with Mark, who is seriously learning Thai, so not much screen time. I’ll see what the morrow brings.

    Ootz, I believe the current linguistic term is ‘Standard German’, and that the Swiss and the Austrians have their own ‘standard’ versions. It’s my impression that Standard German in its modern form was settled in the late 19th century with German unification.

    Going back a bit, my understanding was that Hochdeutsch really evolved from Luther’s translation of the Bible (1520’s). He picked out words that would be most widely understood, but it’s probably closer to Mitteldeutsch.

    Pronunciation, if memory serves, arose out of ‘stage German’, used by actors.

    I have heard it said that some dialect speakers can’t understand each other. However, most continentals seem to be conversant in about three languages.

    It’s good for the brain, I believe. Certainly different languages reflect different perceptions of reality, which people might like to ponder if they have illusions about any statement representing ‘ultimate truth’!

  188. Yesterday Zali Steggall has asked the PM to outline the costs of climate inaction. Morrison says he understands there are costs associated with climate change. “What I can assure the Australian people is they will always pay the price of Labor’s failed climate policies”.

    The same arguments were used to ditch Labor’s original NBN. What we know now is that we ended up with third world connectivity and blowout of cost. In the end the lost opportunity and amelioration costs will add up to way beyond Labor’s original projected cost even considering a blow out of these. Isn’t that what happens when decisions are made for purely political reasons?

    What is the utility to calculate costs of a program 30 years out. Innes Willox:
    “We shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of net zero, which goes well beyond generating cleaner electricity.
    “Nor should we get too hung up on economic projections, which are about as reliable as trying in 1990 to estimate the cost and value of smartphones in 2020.”

    On the other hand, wouldn’t a calculation of cost of inaction as part of risk management give us indications of vulnerabilities to look out for and to prepare contingencies?

  189. Richard Dennis at his public lecture last week commented on the problem of long-term costing. He said the last intergenerational report (IGR) was particularly bad. We need to do these things, but you can only cost what you know about, and what you can measure.

    Looking that far into the future, you can be virtually certain that the really important things will be unknowns.

    He also pointed out that many of the benefits of good policy are not measurable. The talk was in the State Library, and frequent reference was made to the immeasurable effects of such an institution.

    He also pointed out that most of the big decisions made in the Hawke-Keating times, like floating the dollar, were done without economic modelling.

    Some leading scientists are telling us that we may have passed tipping points in climate change. This produces not a emergency, rather a crisis. The implication is that we have to through everything at it, perhaps including the kitchen sink, and may need some luck. Remember Schellnhuber saying it looks as though the ship is heading for the iceberg, and with the steering gear currently available we can’t avoid it.

    That is a crisis. I can’t see any government operating in crisis mode at present.

  190. “”Certainly different languages reflect different perceptions of reality, which people might like to ponder if they have illusions about any statement representing ‘ultimate truth’!””

    Bingo Brian! You got it, exposure to different cultures and languages or for that matter different professions, does challenge ones intuition. It leads to increased ability to reflect ones view of the world and moderate intuitions. It relates to what in social theory is known as reflexivity, an attitude of attending systematically to the context of knowledge construction, especially to the effect of the researcher, at every step of the research process. So while I am not infallible and beyond constructive criticism , our jumped up messiah is way out of line with his “”healthy critique”” to consider “”alternative perspectives”” and to give us a sermon on “”blindness of counterintuitive possibilities”” while he nailed himself stuck onto a cross. Someone pass the sponge and vinegar please!

    I meant what I said about your efforts. Indeed criticisms is essential for improvement in order to excel, as long it is constructive. So too, it is healthy to have a reference point in regards to ones online activities and uttering.

    Your Greta benchmark is sensible as well as socially responsible. My close involvement with the writing of Timothy Bottoms’ ‘Conspiracy of Silence: Queensland’s frontier killing times’ and his extensive use of primary sources, the ‘voices from the past’ in diaries, letters, news paper articles and comments, made me realise how many people spoke up about the treatment of the indigenous population. It was not all bad and to be shameful off, there were many responsible Australians at the time, who voiced their concerns and took action. In that sense your blog is a repository of contemporary voices like mine and that of jumpy. The future reader will be the judge of how responsible we conducted ourselves. Please ensure your blog will be archived properly, as you yourself already commented on impact of the loss of some LP archives.

  191. Ootz you mention Bottoms sad title, and sad it is. On page 104, he goes some way to telling of the exploits of the Jardine brothers. Frank Jardine had some 80 notches on his rifle, suggesting to me there was a certain relish in the way he shot the Indigenous People. Most of us here know of the Jardine River. Crossing the Jardine is something of a “rite of passage” to the Cape. Yet the river is named after the same Jardines that killed so many. There is a group of Indigenous people who are wanting to change the name.

  192. Ootz: Thanks for the detailed language lesson. Studying German at school and limited study of Enindilyagwa in later life taught me how different languages develop to handle different problems. Enindilyagwa, for example had about 100 persona;l pronouns because making mistakes about who is being talked about can be a life and death matter. (If I mistakenly think the “she” you are talking about going into the woods with was my wife it could be a spearing matter!)
    Also, Enindilyagwa had nouns for wide variety (second cousin, brother etc relationships.) Important in a society where how you behaved towards someone and what you were obliged to do for them was driven by these relationships.

  193. Yes Geoff, it is a moving book and it should probably be discussed on the Saturday salon. However, I have spent a lot of thought on this and there is an opportunity to segue from the book back on to topic. It would address the humanity of the potential disaster in regards to the emerging “crisis” Brian touched on above. It might be quite a bit longer than a conventional comment, so I may have to break it up over several comments. Brian if you deem it not suitable on this thread please delete it.

    Having read so many drafts of incidents and chapters, discussed the ethical ways to represent the horrid events in text and looking at definitions of massacres etc. it was kind of a job at hand and I was somewhat emotionally distant to the content. However, when I read the final draft from cover to cover it probably affected me the same if not more than the passing of my mother, which occurred around the same time. Yes sadness and many more emotions usually associated with grieving did well up in me. However, there was also a sense of relieve, the boil had been lanced, the healing can take over now. Light on a dark subject is very cleansing if not cathartic in experience. It also gave me a lot of respect for what we lost at that time. When discussing the general approach to be taken, I reminded Tim about the change in public awareness that occurred with the opening of Old Sydney Town near Gosford, the mini tv series ‘For the Term of His Natural Life’ and the publishing of Robert Hughes’ ‘Fatal Shore’. When I arrived in this country no one mentioned convicts and few years later people were doing research on their ancestry and revelled in their ‘First Fleeter’ status. It went from stain to batch of honour in a very short time. This change of heart is more important and has to precede the changing of a name. Look at Logan, the spirit of this cruel man still haunts the place named after him. History can be cruel like that, or as the famous quote goes “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” I wince when I read about the treatment farmers receive courtesy of corporate greed, facilitated by corrupt and self-serving politicians who are cheered on by populist handmaidens. The despair about having to leave ‘their’ land after generations of hard work gone into it, with water diverted for resource extraction and vertical integrated agriculture. While new colonists and settlers are cutting their pound of flesh from this ancient continent, and livelihoods and lives are lost again.

  194. So to move on, the prospect of a single species triggering a cataclysmic event in natural history is nothing new in the live of our planet. While it is still not completely confirmed, geological, isotopic, and chemical evidence suggests, that the arrival of the humble cyanobacteria caused a planet scale change in atmospheric chemistry, geology as well as profound biological extinctions in what is known as the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE). A mighty feat for a simple single cell organism. One should note that that particular cataclysmic planetary episode took place over a timespan of about 100m years and it was not all bad, we humans would not exist in the present form without this profound evolutionary reckoning and serious biological tweaking.

    What will be the consequences of a human induced global event is thus entirely a matter of perspectives, which in turn is a reflection of our established world view, that what bootstraps our sense of existence. It is no coincident thatRobert Oppenheimer uttered the now a famous quote based from the scriptures of Hinduism, in another profound moment of Earth history. Hinduism as a believe system has as a major touchstone in the goddess of Kali. She represents the changing aspect of nature that bring things to life or death. This simultaneously mother of the universe and destroyer of the world seems odd to western thinking , which is steeped in the contrast of good and evil. The legacies of our Christian heritage and Plato’s essences facilitating which reifying of such abstract concepts and makes them them real in our mind. Thinkers in more modern times like Nietzsche in his ‘Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future’ were very critical of these legacies. He pointed in the direction of a modern “superhuman” who is able to construct his own set of values, independent of what anyone else thought, driven by a vague concept of his, the will to power (Wille zur Macht). Macht is, within Nietzsche’s philosophy, closely tied to sublimation and “self-overcoming” This brings us to agency in context to where we as individuals and as a society stand in these epic events and existential precipices discussed above.

  195. It would be hard to argue that the humble Cyanobacter was aware of or consciously could have influenced the outcome of the GOE it was participating in. Although studies in cognitive science, AI and other fields like forestry hint at some amazing possibilities of responsive mind like features in nature and theoretical realms. So what about humans then, how much agency has nature afforded to us. How much control do we actually have over our destiny? As it is we can certainly perceive our own personal demise. Death is an inevitable and inescapable fact of human life. A fact central in the first literary work that that we know of, the Gilgamesh epic. The earliest evidence of human abstract thinking, the social recognition of human death goes back to 42ky. Mungo man was carefully buried on his back with his hands crossed in his lap, and covered with red ochre. Scientists believe the ochre was most likely sourced about 200km from the burial site. That is quite some effort to acknowledge and celebrate the passing of a fellow human. What good does such knowledge and act do. Gilgamesh was not only the ruler of one of the first empires, he was also a hero on a quest to find immortality, for himself and by default for his empire. Has he succeeded? Well, we still talk about him today, his evolved empire is still in the world news almost daily and the very letters you read onscreen here originated in the marks on clay tablets that preserved his story.

    In Joseph Campbell’s book ’The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ he presents a single ‘monomyth’ distilled from all the ancient stories, usually called the Hero’s Journey. Those ancient stories, such as the Gilgamesh epic, contain very similar key details of and common message. Through them, he argues, we can get in touch with the basic grandeur or splendour of the universe and our understanding of who we are and how we fit into it. His is a condensation of how humans have made sense through the ages, of who they are and what to do. It would suggest that all of us are on some sort of a quest, which has succinct stages that could provide some sort of a guide of how to go about, for example, with the prospect of the demise of a large slab of life forms in all their beauty and glory. Or even possibly demise of our own civilisation, we would not be the first one to go down that particular route. On the other hand, look at how successful was “smoothing the pillow of a dying race”, the “breeding out” of Aboriginal racial characteristics. In fact doing it tough now gives them a distinct advantage, if or when things should get hot. Half of Western Australia’s Indigenous population has a genetic mutation that has helped them survive the tough central Australian climate for generations, researchers say. Interestingly, the second last stage of the universal quest in Campbell’s account is resurrection or rebirth through some transformation.

  196. Evidence of such transformations is within us all in one form or another and we should never forget where we come from and what supports us. On average, the cells in our body are replaced every 7 to 10 years. The lump of gold stuck onto my mandible reminds me that elemental gold, uranium and other heavy elements about equal in mass to all of Earth’s oceans likely came to the solar system from the collision of two neutron stars billions of years ago. What a legacy that carries our existence, how to honour or do justice to such sacrifice and gift? How to feel and talk about the approximate 60k indigenous people who lost their life in the Queensland frontier war? What is an appropriate way to honour the loss of their land and existence? How to come to terms with the prospect of loosing major ecosystems and the splendour of thousands of species? How does one feel about the prospect of denying our children a future? How does one grief a cooked planet? These are very personal questions, which each of us deals with, or not, in our own way. The five stages of grieving by Kübler- Ross may give us some ideas. However, it is never too late to celebrate life and the ways of nature, as it was, will be and is at present.

  197. Danke
    Thanks for your magnum opus Mr Ootz.
    I’m glad you arrived here and have spent so much of your time learning about this neck of the woods and some of its history, in addition to the human species and the Solar System and galaxy we inhabit.

    Auf wiedersehen, mein Freund!
    Seeyalater, mate!

  198. Thanks JohnD and Ambi, it was not meant to be a lecture on languages, rather a a long winded nudge to our champion of “counterintuitive possibilities” so that he may try some of his own medication. Brian, as usual got it. Similarly I did not intend to write a magnus opus with my serial comment, nor deliver a sermon, of which at times I am accused of. More like it was stuff that was floating around in my mind for some time which I intended to pull together at some stage. I would like to have had more time to polish it up, as it turned out a bit rough leaving a lot of material out. for example a report featuring several climate scientists explaining how they deal personally with not just the public abuse they cop, but with the dire reality of the facts they work on and their consequences.

    I look forward to some constructive criticism and happy to discuss details or provide references if there is interest. Anything but going back to the mindless war on ‘unprecedented’ and the finer points of anarchist capitalism please.

  199. I’ve been finding myself in the situation where I’m flat strap during the day, and when I get to the computer late at night I check up on all the new important material which is flooding the media and social media at present on climate change, collect the links I’d like to use in posts and – it’s time to go to bed.

    I did spend time yesterday replying to an email I’d received over a week ago seeking my views a 45-page article on the Qld coal industry. My answer was not of sufficient standard to post here.

    Ootz, I’ll need to read your collection of comments again, but my initial impression is that it would be a pity to leave them hidden on this thread. If you like we could do some work on them and shape them into a guest post. If you’d like to head down that path, put it all together in a Word file and send it to me.

    Meanwhile people might like to have a look at two articles I saved:

    Another busy day today.

  200. Brian: Overpopulation is part of the Guardians dark future because moving populations out of danger and/or providing tech solutions becomes harder and harder the more people there are.
    We need to talk about population and climate change at the same time.

  201. Thanks Brian, I’ll see what I can do with those serial comments. I’m busy this weekend visiting friends in Cairns and Kuranda and next week looks busy too. I had to take it easy last week as I was not too well. Hence my concentration was not that well, so grammar and lucidity suffer too. At first I thought it was a long stretch to link the destruction of a people and their culture with the likely catastrophic effects of climate change on people, and was not sure how it will pan out. However, having attempted it now and having spend more thought on it, I am sure there are relevant insights we can get from in terms of suffering from and coping from catastrophic effects on individual and social level.

    On the issue of population, there are interesting arguments on why it matters in relation to CC as there are some why not. Personally, looking at the wide spread cynical politics wrt CC and having spent time on security and defence aspects, I think it does not matter what we think.

    The argument for depopulation will come up at some stage one way or another. We have a massive industry and oodles of hardware ready to unleash. Research (can’t find the linkage) has found that in previous cooler periods of global regions in history, war became more prevalent as food and resources became scarcer. See Syria, where the conflict began with a draught in the Daara province, traditionally the wheat growing area for that part of the middle east.

    Other research with laboratory rats has shown, when population reaches a certain density, males will start to kill the infants. It’s a long bow, but I scratching my head of what is going on with this DV stuff.

  202. Ootz, no hurry.

    On population, I think increasingly with the pill it is women who will decide whether they procreate.

    On DV I’ll do a link on the next SS to some different thinking. It’s a wicked problem, meaning there mat be no solution, at least in the next generation or two, but there is an opinion worth listening to that suggests the track current thinking is going down will make matters worse.

    Problem is that if you depart from the party line all hell can break loose.

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