Weekly salon 26/1

1. Sawatdi bpi mai kap!

I’m late this year, but I’ll start the year again with that Thai new year’s greeting which means means:

    May you find compassion, loving kindness and equanimity along your paths over the next year!

2. The adults are back in charge

Last year I said most people felt well rid of 2021, and hope for better in 2022. Unfortunately hope is hard to find. Greta Thunberg and David Spratt have both said that hope has to be earned. Overall I think we come up short, but politically it is good to have the adults back in charge.

In that first post last year I wrote of the putrid politics offered by Scott Morrison gang of goons, of Robodebt and Lucy Hamilton’s diagnosis of Australia’s slide into ‘competitive authoritarianism’, ending with:

    Australia’s future hangs in the balance: the struggles facing us over climate crisis directions in particular endanger our ability to vote out a government determined to crush transparency and protest. It is by recognising the concept of “competitive authoritarianism” that we can truly see the breadth of the risk we face and the urgency of addressing the threat.

It was not until just before Christmas that I saw Juice Media’sHonest Government Ad | 2022 Election (Season 2 finale).

It’s actually both accurate and comprehensive.

3. A new age is emerging

Immanuel Wallerstein, when he was still with us, took the view that capitalism as a world system was morphing, but the new structure was not yet clear. He was definite that ‘progress’ was not inevitable, the new may be worse than the old.

Gillian Tett, just fresh back from Davos World Economic Forum, dining in the Hotel Schatzalp, a former sanatorium that figured in Thomas Mann’s great novel Magic Mountain where he “explored the sources of the destructiveness displayed by much of civilised humanity” and speculated about questions related of life, health, illness, sexuality, and mortality in bourgeois society in a way that was “erudite, subtle, ambitious, but, most of all, ambiguous”.

In short once again the ground is shifting beneath the human project, but no-one quite knows what’s emerging.

At Davos Sven Smit of McKinsey Global Institute said:

    “We are on the cusp of a new era. But we don’t really know what that is, or even what it should be called.”

He sees three distinct eras after 1945. First, was:

    the so-called Postwar Boom that occurred from 1945 to 1971, a time of technological progress, rapid growth and relative geopolitical stability. This was coupled with a fairly paternalistic corporate culture and heavy levels of state intervention.

Second, from 1971 to 1989 was the Era of Contention, including:

    “an energy crisis, a negative supply shock, the return of inflation, a new monetary era, rising multipolar geopolitical assertion, resource competition, and slowing productivity in the West”.

Then the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 ushered in the Era of Markets – a time when deregulation, capitalism and globalisation were championed around the world. Most business and political leaders today consider this state of affairs the norm.

To the global elites the trifecta of globalisation, free-market capitalism and democracy were self-evidently good things destined to keep spreading around the world.

Since the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2008, however, there has been a series of “rolling shocks”. Some think the disturbances are temporary and ephemeral, some think structural and fundamental.

McKinsey think that era ended about 2019, but can’t figure out what is next. States will intervene more under pressures created by climate calamities, pestilence and war. The relationship between business and society is shifting.

4. Social media has changed everything

One of the elephants in the room apparently missed by our masters at Davos may demand a new word – “enshittification”. It’s about social media and the exploitative, monopolistic information platforms built by monsters like Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Google. I came upon it in Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow in a piece Pluralistic: Tiktok’s enshittification (21 Jan 2023). It’s a long piece which describes how these money-making monsters have sucked us in with the purpose of making huge amounts of money for poor service:

    This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they’re locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they’re locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.

Doctorow was inspired by Catherynne M. Valente’s pre-Christmas offering Stop Talking to Each Other and Start Buying Things: Three Decades of Survival in the Desert of Social Media at Welcome to Garbageland.

Valente’s piece is darker, as it sees these monsters changing the human condition, that is, us and how we relate to each other. Her anger appears to be part of a tsunami of anger in so-called advanced economies.

I’m wondering what Gillian Tett, “a British author and journalist at the Financial Times, where she is chair of the editorial board and editor-at-large, US”, who saw the GFC coming, who got out of academic anthropology because it was committing “intellectual suicide” and who has just written “a really brilliant book” Anthro-Vision, a New Way to See in Life and Business, would think of those pieces.

5. Australia Day

Today being Australia Day I can’t ignore it, although for most of my life I pretty well have. If memory serves, when I was young the holiday was taken on the last Monday of January, to make a long weekend before the year started in earnest. The practice may have been different depending on which state you lived in.

I think governments in general should prevent the majority causing grief and hurt to the minority, so the 26th must go.

The first order of business in making this change is embed a First Nations Voice in the constitution. This is necessary for what sociologists have called recognition, meaning here a full respect for the humanity of those who had been here for 60,000 years. Certainly Australia was not empty of humanity, as claimed in ‘terra nullius’. I grew up in the shadow of the Hornet Bank massacre of 1857 where in the following 30 years a concerted effort was made to clean out and eliminate the local tribe as vermin.

In my imperfect understanding, First Nations people saw themselves not so much owning the land as being of the land, embedded in it, with a special responsibility of stewardship for country. We have lacked the understanding that prior to 1788 Australia was a managed landscape through means such as fire and totem relationships. Now because of climate change and the onset of the Anthropocene Epoch we need to attain a new balance with nature very similar to that achieved by the First Nations people over all those millennia.

The Uluru process gives those of us who came later an opportunity to become part of this deep flow of history.

Then we could perhaps have a new national day of celebration on the last Monday of January before we get back to the mainstream flow of our lives for the year. When the 26th falls on the Monday we would move the day of celebration to the last Friday, out of respect.

230 thoughts on “Weekly salon 26/1”

  1. Hi Brian and all, Season’s Greetings and all else. Good to see CP up and about.
    Much of the editorial here infers the affairs of the world might not be fantastic. But I am optimistic that finally, our First Nation Peoples are gaining more recognition than ever and that their many “Ways” are being recognised as important.

    On the topic of social media I suspect that many users are seeing that there is little real fabric in those forums, but communicating via them has become an acceptable mode of communication. I think older folk see much more complexity and nuance in communication. I don’t know where that will go, but looking back even 50 years ago, fax, mobile phone, and Google were unthinkable, so a hybrid form of communication might emerge.

    I have just tried out ChatGPT and found it fascinating. Its ability to answer random queries in depth is amazing. Some universities are claiming that very high proportions of assessable work show evidence of artificial intelligence sites like ChatGPT.

    Linked to climate change, growing world population, increasing inequity, and a poor show of determination, it looks to me like we are going to see inevitable resource-based conflicts. I think the first conflict could be water issues. For example, the Nile, Tigris-Euphrates region has been in conflict for a long time. Attempts to share the water resources have only been partially successful.
    A Youtube article https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihfbFdx0jeE offers some good insight into the region and its water position over many decades. If the reports that the Euphrates has partially dried up because of upstream use, then Iraq may well become aggressive.

  2. If you are interested in the Robodebt Royal Commission public hearings coverage IMO it’s worth a look at the twitter feed from stranger (@strangeous10)
    Warning: You may get very angry watching/hearing some of the responses from public servants being questioned on their involvement in Robodebt.

    At the 2023 World Economic Forum at Davos on 23 Jan 2023, it seems Al Gore was telling a few inconvenient truths!

  3. Thanks, Geoff H, good points. I’ll try to comment on some when I catch my breath.

    Geoff M, the robodebts clips on the daily news have been staggering.

    A good burst from Al Gore. Everywhere I’m seeing now we’ll overshoot 1.5C. The IPCC and the UNFCCC COP were set up to avoid dangerous anthropomorphic interference (DAI) with the climate. They don’t talk about that anymore, because it’s generally acknowledged that we’ve had dangerous climate for at least a decade.

  4. On the Voice, the best single reference I’ve seen is Hannah McGlade – Voice will empower us, not undermine Sovereignty.

    The Uluru Statement from the Heart and proposed a Voice, then Treaty and Truth (in that order).
    Lidia Thorpe should talk to Aboriginal experts in international law and listen to what they say.

    Those who want a treaty first should do the same. Australia is a country with legal standing. Australia cannot negotiate with the diverse groups who make up the First Nations peoples, because they have no legal standing. The constitutional Voice will give them legal recognition and standing.

    At state level it may be possible in the more compact states to negotiate with representatives of all groups. I suspect it would be difficult in Queensland.

  5. Satellite data shows no rise in groundwater levels across Europe, increasing drought fears

    Drought is impacting Europe on a larger scale than researchers expected, with data from satellites showing no significant rise in groundwater levels.

    Key points:
    Researchers analysed data from two satellites orbiting Earth
    A researcher said he “would never have imagined that water would be a problem”
    The findings come after Europe’s worst drought in 500 years
    Researchers from Austria’s Graz University of Technology have analysed the data from two satellites orbiting Earth.
    “A few years ago, I would never have imagined that water would be a problem here in Europe, especially in Germany or Austria,” researcher Torsten Mayer-Gürr said.
    “We are actually getting problems with the water supply here. We have to think about this.”

  6. Brian: Hannah McGlade seems to be talking about a model that was based on the American experience where a lot of Indians had formed nations before the European invasion and some conflicts with the European invaders was resolved in the end by treaties.
    While the Groote Eylandt mining agreement reached in 1974 could be seen as a sort of treaty between BHP and the Warndilyagwa people it was driven by the value of the mining potential of Groote Eylandt and BHP’s desire to be seen doing the right thing. Not sure that treaties will be all that relevant as drivers in serious improvements in the lives of many Aborigines.

  7. John, I’ll try to get back to that tomorrow. When I logged on late tonight I noticed tweets from Frank Jotzo and Pep Cannadel that Will Steffen died, I think last night.

    As an earth system scientist (he was much more than a “chemist from Florida”) Steffen was one of the best. Can’t find an adequate obituary yet. The Wikipedia article misses his role at the ANU. From Jotzo:

      We’ve lost a truly leading thinker on climate change, someone who made a difference in how the world understands it. And a gentle, positive human being.

      I worked with Will when he was founding director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, and owe him much.

    He was well aware that what we were doing with fossil fuels was at least equivalent to the asteroid strike, but in the reverse direction temperature-wise.

    We’ll miss him, yes we will!

  8. Interesting analysis of what is happening to the voice campaign:

    Why Dutton’s muddying of the waters on the Voice campaign just won’t work

    My impression is that Albanese understands that the government needs to control how the system works and has the power to change the system if changes need to be made. He also understands that it has got to work at the local community level first if it is going to be effective. The article also noted significant support from business organizations:

    At the other end of the ideological spectrum there is absolutely no doubt.
    For instance, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) – which represents thousands of directors of public and private companies, statutory authorities and not-for-profits – is strongly behind the Voice campaign.
    It has already published one Reconciliation Action Plan and a second is being prepared.
    It states: “Our national systems of governance are deficient in recognition and respect for First Nations peoples, and the quality and outcomes of decisions that impact their lives, families and communities.”
    Next month it is providing members and non-members with access to a virtual event saying: “A constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament will provide an enduring mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to guide and inform laws and policies relevant to them. AICD’s support for the Uluru Statement reflects the principles of good governance that the AICD preaches and promotes.
    “Respectful and truthful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders is an expectation of effective Australian governance practice, and relevant to all Australian boards.”
    The online event will feature AICD chair John Atkin, Lendlease chair Michael Ullmer and From the Heart director Dean Parkin.
    As early as 2019, 14 leading organisations came together for National Reconciliation Week to support the Uluru Statement, the First Nations Voice in the Constitution, and the Makarrata Commission on agreement-making and truth-telling between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments.
    In a response to the Statement from the Heart, they said: “Thank you for the invitation to walk with you in a movement for all Australian people for a better future. We recognise the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a historic mandate to create a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood … In a spirit of reconciliation we look forward to working with you and supporting you, as a matter of national priority, to develop and enact specific proposals in relation to Voice, Treaty and Truth.”
    Note the order in that, by the way.
    As for the signatories they are: BHP, Curtin University, Herbert Smith Freehills, IAG, KPMG, Australian Rugby League Commission, PwC, Qantas, Richmond Football Club, Rio Tinto, Swinburne University of Technology and Woodside.
    BHP also kicked in $1 million for the campaign.
    The From the Heart campaign lists the BHP Foundation, Myer Foundation, Mirvac, ANZ, MinterEllison, King & Wood Mallesons, and others as supporters.

    We the Davidson’s left Groote Eylandt about 43 yrs ago and realize what we knew then may not be all that relevant to deciding what the best answers for that community are now.

  9. Interesting JD. I wondered what the lifespan of an horizontal axis is, c.f. a vertical axis and found this:
    A bit ourside my pay grade but it seems to say that horizontal lasts longer than vertical.
    Important to me because I’m hoping a land-based version can be developed that will improve the pumping cost of pumped hydro.

  10. I’ve fixed the link, John. Not sure what went wrong.

    I found a good article about Will Steffen:

    I didn’t realise he came to Australia as early as 1977, before going to Sweden.

    Unfortunately for my mood, there was a link to another Graham Readfearn special – ‘I’m profoundly sad, I feel guilty’: scientists reveal personal fears about the climate crisis, with a further link to what all the scientists said.

  11. Thanks for that Geoff M. Would you know, I should get a feed from that site, and I actually looked there on Monday night. Can’t see the feed in my emails yesterday.

    David Spratt is a very competent researcher. He appears to have rounded up most of the important work. I was impressed with the 2009 Planetary Boundaries piece A safe operating space for humanity where I think Johan Rockström and Steffen did most of the work. They also had James Hansen and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber on board, with the planetary boundary 350ppm. In the Planetary boundaries update 2022 Youtube he has 1.5°C.

    This was an excellent piece of work, prepared in anticipation of the 2009 Copenhagen COP (UNFCCC Council of Parties), which was supposed to set the new agenda after Kyoto. The world missed the turnoff from the Highway to Hell which would have taken it back to Holocene-like conditions.

    Steffen did at least three presentations last year that we have on record:

    In the new version of the Planetary Boundaries, he has 1.5°C rather than 350ppm. Yet when asked about what the notion of a livable planet within planetary boundaries was based on, he said it had to be based on Holocene-like conditions, which he was at pains to show we had left.

    I think he worked within the IPCC tent as far as the actual science goes in his formal writings and public political advocacy, which is why Spratt complained that he “stuck pretty rigidly to the 2°C, 450-ppm-CO2 goal” when that was the go-to number.

    In the YouTube Climate Change 2020: Why we are facing an emergency with the Citizens Climate Lobby, Hume Chapter, Goulburn in March 2020 he says 1.5°C is essentially unavoidable (from about 39 minutes), a done deal, but we may have a show of 2°C . Spratt would say there is no parking spot at 2°C, because of tipping points.

    I think Steffen would have known that too, but always wanted to show a path forward.

  12. Dr Jorgen Randers presents the science and modelling behind the Earth4All initiative in the YouTube video published 3 Jan 2023 titled Earth4All’s systems dynamics, duration 0:44:41.

    Randers compares the scenarios presented in the seminal Limits to Growth and how they fared with the empirical data over the last 50 years, then looks at our prospects for the next 50 years.


  13. Thanks, Geoff. I had started watching this back in early December, but did not penetrate to where he tells us what to do.

    He’s right, if he tells everyone that the Chinese way is superior to the capitalist, free market way, it will never happen. Will (Dr) Jim Chalmers’ more moderate way of civilising capitalism work?

    It’s an interesting lecture, but a couple of definite problems.

    1. He ignores tipping points, and assumes stability can be achieved at 2.5°C warming.
    2. I don’t think he’s on board with sea level rise.
    3. He says there has been no collapse yet. The insects would probably disagree.

    He thinks the turnaround can be achieved by spending 2-4% of GDP. I’ve always thought 4-6% would be about right to put us on a war footing.

    Too little too late, he says. I’d have to agree.

  14. ICYMI, Prof Kathy Eager, adjunct professor in the School of Clinical Medicine UNSW, wrote a piece published at The Conversation on Jan 31, headlined Here’s who decides cause of death, how death certificates work – and whether a person died with or of COVID. It began with:

    COVID was Australia’s third leading cause of death (after heart disease and dementia) in 2022. In a bad flu year we have about 1,200 influenza deaths. We had more than 1,500 COVID deaths in just the first month of 2023. We need to take COVID seriously. It is not like a cold or the flu. It is an exceptional disease.

    Because of the availability of vaccines and antivirals, there is no need for panic or further lockdowns. But there is no room for complacency either.

    Prof Kathy Eager tweeted on Feb 4:

    Deaths are a tragic but blunt measure of COVID pandemic & why governments must do better. But deaths are not the only measure of failure. 10% get long COVID (disproportionately young people), critical workforce & supply chain problems. COVID is an economic issue too

    Pressure is growing on governments to revise COVID-19 management strategies.

  15. Something happened today in Australian politics. Lidia Thorpe resigned from the Greens to become the voice for (you’d better hear it from her!)

    Me, I have to run. Seeya tonight, but the Senate becomes difficult for Labor. Double dissolution?

  16. What I want is one of the

    EV’s described in the article: Are there any small cheap electric vehicles available?

    It would cover most of our retired couple driving.
    Better still a very small car with good accident avoidance tech.
    Even better still a car that is fitted with a small petrol driven generator that allow longer trips if required.
    Also want legislation that sets regulations for very small, lightweight vehicles.

  17. Brian: The thing driving Lydia Thorpe appears to be her desire for a treaty now rather than after a voice. Nothing I have read suggests that she is going to support the coalition. LNP supporting treaty!!?? Be serious.

  18. John, it seems to me that Lidia Thorpe is basically pig-headed stubborn if she can’t see that Australia exists as a state ie. a country, but the First Nations peoples have no standing in international law. Giving them constitutional recognition through the Voice is a necessary step before the nation state of Australia can execute a treaty with them. It recognises that Terra Nullius was a fake, recognises that people were here in 1788 and sets up a structure which enables them to express themselves politically.

    I believe the Greens without Thorpe want Truth, Treaty, Voice in the reverse order sought by the Uluru Statement. Legally they seem to have the same problem as Thorpe.

    When I referred to Hannah McGlade’s article Voice will empower us, not undermine Sovereignty you said:

      Hannah McGlade seems to be talking about a model that was based on the American experience where a lot of Indians had formed nations before the European invasion and some conflicts with the European invaders was resolved in the end by treaties.

    There is no reason to suppose that is true when she is clearly directing her remarks to our situation.

    Our story was that the land was effectively empty. In both cases Europeans took the land by conquest. In the US there were probably more pitched battles which Europeans would see as ‘wars’. However, there were political entities to deal with in the US. Here there were around 500 tribes. For a quick look at what happened here we have a 2019 Special Report from The Guardian The killing times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront and the Wikipedia entry Australian frontier wars especially Queensland.

    By the time the constitutional fathers were at work the indigenous peoples were of no account, a dying race.

    The good thing about the past is that it exists in the present, so we change how we view the past and how the story continues. Lets just do it.

    Please Greens, the dignity of recognition is necessary before we get serious about truth telling. McGlade points out that the Voice is an implementation article 18 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

      Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.
  19. To put it another way, the Voice is a necessary pre-condition, for a treaty.

    BTW, Australia, NZ, the US and Canada opposed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when it was introduced in 2007. All four have now joined.

  20. Sorry John, I can see that Thorpe is unlikely to support the LNP as such. However, she may be inclined to want to deal in exchange for her vote, as Lambie has in the past.

    Pocock is probably to me the most impressive of the independents.

  21. Geoff M, thanks for the update on Covid. The medicos seem to be settling on 1 in 10 for long Covid, more prevalent in younger people, which is interesting.

  22. Chartbook #194 Can Beijing halt China’s housing avalanche? The most important economic-policy question for 2023?

      Few things matter more for the world economy in 2023 than China’s fortunes. Not since the reform period began, have there been more serious question marks over the trajectory of China’s growth.

      The 2015-6 near-miss crisis, when the RMB depreciated and capital flooded out of China was a more acute moment of danger. Fear of a repetition still hangs over the current scene. But in 2015-6, the growth engine was not spluttering to the same degree. China did not face the kind of labour market pressures it does today, with youth unemployment rising towards 20 percent and graduates uncertain of their future employment. Nor was China in 2015/6 facing an avalanche in its real estate sector.

    They’ve been building 50% more than they need, now 38% of developers are in default or likely to default. Consumer confidence has fallen off a cliff.

    Millions of Chinese households have made large down-payments on apartments that are only partially completed or not even begun.

      So, simply to stabilize the Chinese real estate market, not to unleash a new boom but to clean up the most serious overhang from the last few years of excess, will require a commitment of in the order of 5 percent of GDP even if the resources are perfectly targeted. That is a measure of the challenge ahead.

      The stakes are immensely high. The housing boom in China since the 1990s is probably the largest single driver of wealth accumulation the world has ever seen. Stopping it was an audacious act of policy. Managing the fall out is a severe test for Beijing. If it were to succeed, it would be an example of macro-prudential economic management on a truly world historic scale. If it fails, the “China dream” promised by Xi is in jeopardy.

  23. Adam Tooze’s basic point is that housing construction has been more important to the development of advanced economies than is normally reckoned. In world terms China’s housing construction in recent decades has been lightning fast.

    Now they seem to be in major trouble. Xi and company continue to smile and look comfortable and in control, but things are dicey, and for the rest of us, it matters.

  24. Brian:

    Adam Tooze’s basic point is that housing construction has been more important to the development of advanced economies than is normally reckoned. In world terms China’s housing construction in recent decades has been lightning fast.

    The problem is that we have an economy that depends on high emission activities to deliver a good life to all of the people. Think, for example, building houses much bigger than necessary to create jobs and accelerating our move to a climate catastrophe. Business often makes it even worse by demanding things like more immigration, longer working hours and encouraging our women to have more babies.

  25. Brian: – “The medicos seem to be settling on 1 in 10 for long Covid, more prevalent in younger people, which is interesting.

    Per Nature reviews microbiology review article titled Long COVID: major findings, mechanisms and recommendations, published Jan 13. The Introduction included:

    Long COVID (sometimes referred to as ‘post-acute sequelae of COVID-19’) is a multisystemic condition comprising often severe symptoms that follow a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. At least 65 million individuals around the world have long COVID, based on a conservative estimated incidence of 10% of infected people and more than 651 million documented COVID-19 cases worldwide¹; the number is likely much higher due to many undocumented cases. The incidence is estimated at 10–30% of non-hospitalized cases, 50–70% of hospitalized cases²,³ and 10–12% of vaccinated cases⁴,⁵. Long COVID is associated with all ages and acute phase disease severities, with the highest percentage of diagnoses between the ages of 36 and 50 years, and most long COVID cases are in non-hospitalized patients with a mild acute illness⁶, as this population represents the majority of overall COVID-19 cases. There are many research challenges, as outlined in this Review, and many open questions, particularly relating to pathophysiology, effective treatments and risk factors.

    Remember, this is “a conservative estimated incidence of 10% of infected people” for EACH episode of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Each time re-infection occurs the infected person is rolling the dice again, with an increasing chance each time they will likely acquire ‘long-COVID’.

    That means as more people are re-infected with SARS-CoV-2 the number of cases with ‘long-COVID’ will continue to grow.

    A healthy economy requires a healthy population.

    The only way to guarantee avoiding acquiring ‘long-COVID’ is to not get infected with SARS-CoV-2.

    I think governments at all levels (whether Labor or Coalition) are failing to adequately deal with these existential threats to human civilisation:

    1) The Climate Crisis;
    2) The Energy Crisis; and
    3) The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

    If people cannot be brutally honest about the emerging existential threats to human civilisation then how can effective and timely solutions to mitigate them be found?

  26. Good question, Geoff.

    John, more strife in the Greens camp?

    Seems the party may be out of synch with the politicians.

    I can understand that given the track record of governments since Federation there would be a lack of trust. However, to move forward we need to start from where we are.

    Articles 3 and 4 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples do assert ” the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, but this would have to be established within the structures of law and government of the state. It seems to me that would best be done by treaty after the Voice is implemented, otherwise it is the same as it always has been – the conquerers deciding what is good for the conquered.

    Anyway I’ll be interested in how this develops.

  27. The proposed system for the voice will make very little difference to most Aborigines because the flow of power associated with the voice won’t come anywhere near them.
    Much more localized versions of the voice have a much better chance of helping people than what might flow out of a successful constitutional change.
    We do have some defacto treaties such as the Groote mining agreement of 1964 and I assume that other agreements have been reached as a result of Malcolm Frazer’s land rights moves.
    At the very least governments at all levels should be progressing local voices before we go anywhere near a constitutional change.
    In the mean time it is desirable that Aborigine’s organize periodic national meetings of the sort that produced the Uluru statement.

  28. John, I don’t disagree with your comment, but my timeline for the best outcome is many generations over maybe 150 years. So I don’t expect too much from a voice but it is a step forward.
    Interesting is the conflict of political views. Not surprisingly, the water issues of the Murry Darling are about 120 years on now and unresolved. Australia becoming a Republic has been simmering away for years now, I think because they could not resolve who would be President, and agreement on that issue alone could take another 50 years or so.

    Good to see that UNSW has developed a solar panel with a nearly 27% conversion rate. Early this century 15% was about right. Recently I was sold 19% but for more money 21% was available. That’s pretty good progress. It seems the weak link in the home PV is the inverter. The lower-priced models are short-lived, expiring in about five years, and better ones in 10 years. I had an Australian-made one for over 12 years and it is still going.

  29. To change the subject a bit, everyone should think about how cobalt is mined:

      We all rely on cobalt – it powers our smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles. But according to Siddharth Kara, there’s ‘no such thing as a clean supply chain of cobalt’. He reveals the shocking details of how it’s being mined, often by children, in slavery-like conditions.

      Guest: Siddharth Kara – author, researcher, screenwriter, and activist on modern slavery. He is a British Academy Global Professor and a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

      His book is COBALT RED: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives, published by St. Martin’s Press

  30. Worth a look, Peter Mares on Jim Chalmers in Building a better capitalism .

    Horrible things are happening in the UK where contractors are breaking into homes where people are too poor to pay their gas bills, installing devices that force customers to pay for gas before they use it, ignoring regulations which would disallow such action.

    Meanwhile the company supplying the gas is due to achieve record profits.

    Mares thinks Chalmers is distinctly less than brave, because he does not directly address wealth, inequality and the need for redistribution. Without taxing the rich, nothing much different will change in the lives of the rest.

    Mares cites John Rawls:

      We need to address inequality, he says, “to prevent one part of society from dominating the rest.”


      Rawls didn’t want to bring everyone down to the same level. He accepted that differences in status and hierarchy would persist, and probably recognised that they were necessary to drive ambition. But he insisted that “a well-moderated inequality is a condition of economic and political justice.” And such moderation cannot be achieved without progressive tax systems to redistribute income and wealth.

      Of course, Jim Chalmers doesn’t want to scare the horses or provide conservative media with a new stick with which to bash Labor by hinting that he might follow the advice of most credible commentators (including the International Monetary Fund) and repeal the stage 3 tax cuts. Yet it is hard to see how Labor can fund the necessary services in care, education and environmental protection, balance the books, shape markets and increase opportunity without fundamental tax reform.

      If a Labor treasurer in a government riding high in the polls can’t lead from the front by putting these issues on the agenda, then who can?

  31. John D: – “We are talking about a 10mty mine close to the coast and the barrier reef.

    Meanwhile, Tanya Plibersek MP’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water extended an EPBC approval to continue operations for Lake Vermont Coal Mine, Dysart, Queensland to 30 Jun 2063, signed-off on Jan 6.

    And it seems BM Alliance (aka BHP & Mitsubishi) are seeking EPBC approval from Minister Plibersek’s department for extending open-cut coal mining operations at the Peak Downs Mine for up to 18 Mt/y for a further 93 years.

    Why is the Lake Vermont Coal Mine & Peak Downs Mine any less damaging?

  32. Brian: Best I have seen on the stuff-up and unfairness of associated with recent actions of the Reserve Bank

    Is there a better way to kill inflation than raising interest rates?

    Firstly:Some people’s spending is not influenced by interest rates because they don’t have a loan and have income and/or savings that are enough to cover their expenses = They keep on spending much the same as they always did. and in some cases, their income may actually go up because they get more interest on their savings.
    Secondly: In other cases, their income and expenditure may actually go up because they get more interest on their savings because of the RBA’s interest rate rise.
    The damage associated with the RBA policies could be avoided by encouraging more short term saving when inflation is too high and encouraging the spending of these savings when the economy needs stimulation.

  33. John, interesting article. Sorry to be negative, but my present mood tells me we don’t make decisions rationally, and there is a question as to how much democracy helps.

    Geoff M, I can’t find it right now, but I recall recently an article in the AFR saying BHP have canned their Peak Downs project. This is from their latest operational report:

      The Queensland Government’s decision to raise coal royalties to the highest maximum rate in the world makes
      Queensland uncompetitive and puts investment and jobs at risk. We see strong long-term demand from global
      steelmakers for Queensland’s high quality metallurgical coal, however in the absence of government policy that is both
      competitive and predictable, we are unable to make significant new investments in Queensland. This increase to
      royalties will impact the local businesses, suppliers and communities in Central Queensland where we operate.

    93 years was madness, and Labor’s policy of letting the companies decide was never the way to go IMHO. It looks as though the Greens will make this a deal-breaker with the Safeguard Mechanism policy, which the LNP is opposing, although they invented it.

  34. At 93 years, BHP’s Peak Downs plan would have become a stranded asset.

    The short story, I think, is that gas companies think they are part of the climate solution, while coal companies think that carbon capture and storage will save them. Here’s what BHP says about decarbonisation:

      Throughout the December 2022 quarter we continued to make progress towards our decarbonisation targets and goals and supported efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our value chain.

      In October 2022, BHP entered into an agreement with ArcelorMittal, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi
      Development for a multi-year trial of carbon capture technology, which will involve a feasibility and design study to
      support progress to full scale deployment, and trials at two of ArcelorMittal’s steel plants.

      In November 2022, BHP signed a renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Neoen, which is expected to meet half of Olympic Dam’s electricity needs from the 2026 financial year, based on current forecast demand, and allow Olympic Dam to record a net zero emission position for the contracted volume of supply.

  35. Meanwhile Sainsbury’s latest is worth a read – Environment: Young people unimpressed by boomers’ environmental and social neglect. The young are getting desperate:

      What do 1,000 16-25 year-olds in each of ten countries think about climate change?

      84% of youngsters feel moderately, very or extremely worried about climate change; ranging from 75% in the USA to 82% in Australia and 89% in Brazil.

      75% think that the future is frightening and 83% said that people (i.e. older people!) have failed to take care of the planet.

      56% think that humanity is doomed because of climate change, ranging from 42% in Nigeria to 74% in India (50% in Australia).

    That was from the fourth item in his post. In the first he looks at planetary boundaries and doughnut economics:

      No country has met the basics needs of its residents at a sustainable level of resource use;

      On average, most countries are failing to achieve the majority of the social thresholds and failing to remain within the majority of the planetary boundaries:

      Countries tend to transgress environmental boundaries faster than they achieve social thresholds, with the result that …

      … countries tend to violate most or all of the planetary boundaries before satisfying a substantial number of social thresholds;

    Sleepwalking into disaster!

  36. Solar thermal technology gets another chance at Port Augusta with big ARENA grant

    The solar thermal industry will get another crack at proving its technology at commercial scale in Australia after the Australian Renewable Energy Agency approved $65 million in funds to Vast Solar’s “first-of-its-kind” concentrated solar power project in Port Augusta.

    The 30MW/288MWh project is located on the same piece of land is the ill-fated Aurora project that collapsed several years ago, after US-based SolarReserve was unable to gain enough funds for its 150MW, eight hour project, despite a $100 million grant promised by the federal government.
    The Vast Solar facility – to be dubbed VS1 – will be significantly smaller but also a major scale up from the company’s 1.1MW “proof of technology” project in Jemalong, NSW. Vast also hopes to build an even bigger facility at Mt Isa in Queensland.

    Solar thermal has the attraction of being able to store heat in molten salt to help provide 24 hr output. It can also be fitted with a fuel using too maintain power output during long periods of overcast weather.

  37. Fissures speeding up Thwaites glacier melt revealed by deep ice-core camera
    Thwaites is one of Antarctica’s least stable glaciers, and this information helps researchers accurately model how quickly it’s retreating.

    “Our research certainly points to Thwaites melting in a different manner than was expected,” study co-author Peter Washam from Cornell University said.

    Thwaites glacier’s fast retreat
    Researchers have found a sharp acceleration of the retreat of the Thwaites Glacier. Here’s what that means for us.

    An aerial view of a bluish-white giant glacier with craggy sides and a snowswept top
    Read more
    The glacier holds enough water to raise global sea levels by 65 centimetres, and has retreated by about 14 kilometres since the late 1990s.
    It also acts as a buffer, holding back neighbouring glaciers that contain around three metres of potential sea level rise. Not a problem if you live on the side of Mt Couther. However, where we live the bottom story apartments where the Davidson’s live would be seriously wet and we would need a boat to get around town. However, this is just one Antarctica glacier.

  38. John, in the Eemian inter-glacial, about m120kya, we had 5-10 metres of sea level rise with 300ppm CO2. I believe West Antarctica, Greenland and bits of East Antarctica were all involved, as well as land-based glaciers and thermal expansion.

    You probably saw this one in the Guardian recently – World risks descending into a climate ‘doom loop’, warn thinktanks.

    I keep saying, we need drawdown, likely to 280ppm, if we want to aspire to a safe climate.

    Remeber, Flannery said we need to draw down 18Gt of CO2 to reduce pollution by a single ppm. I saw a report on forestry as a climate solution at the Foundation for Climate Restoration:

      Sequestering one gigaton (Gt) of CO2 through AF would likely require 70 to 90 million hectares—a land area twice the size of California.

    Assuming you can keep them alive and healthy.


  39. Brian: – “…in the Eemian inter-glacial, about m120kya, we had 5-10 metres of sea level rise with 300ppm CO2. I believe West Antarctica, Greenland and bits of East Antarctica were all involved, as well as land-based glaciers and thermal expansion.

    It seems the Earth System is committed to much more sea level rise (SLR) now. It’s a slow but relentless process.

    Glaciologists Prof Jason Box & Prof Eric Rignot have both publicly suggested an SLR of at least 1 metre by 2100, but I’d suggest more is likely (probably more like around 2 m & maybe as much as 3 m) as the Earth System inevitably breaches the +1.5 °C warming threshold.

    On 22 August 2022, at the Cryosphere 2022 Symposium at the Harpa Conference Centre Reykjavik, Iceland, glaciologist Professor Jason Box said from time interval 0:15:27:

    And at this level of CO₂, this rough approximation suggests that we’ve committed already to more than 20 metres of sea level rise. So, obviously it would help to remove a hell-of-a-lot of CO₂ from the atmosphere, and I don’t hear that conversation very much, because we’re still adding 35 gigatonnes per year.

    YouTube video titled Arctic climate system catastrophe – a wide ranging tour – long version, published 29 Dec 2022, duration 0:19:26:

  40. John D, China’s claim to be able to power every home with wind and solar can be misleading. They may have the energy available but that doesn’t mean all houses are, or going to be connected to a grid. To make that possible the infrastructure needed to deliver that power would be extraordinary. Further, each home would need wiring up to say, 24 volts min, 48V would be better.
    The Daintree region is supposed to be getting microgrids to deliver power to the area. But many of the dwellings are wired for 12 or 24 volts and not all comply with standards, nor are the owners wealthy enough to bring power from their gate to the house. And a few just don’t want grid power, they are happy with their present arrangement.
    I imagine China will have similar issues but on an amazing scale and I can’t guess how long it would take to electrify the whole nation. That’s why I think the claim is misleading.

  41. Came across as being written by the oil and gas industry for the industry. What they say may be valid but the most responsible action is to put effort into the clean alternatives. Not all the best answers need to be controlled by the current oil and gas industries.

  42. I’ve been thinking David Spratt periodically gives us a summary as to where we are at with climate at this time of the year. Here we have part one:

    1.5°C is baked in, 2°C is pretty much inevitable, which will land us well into tipping point territory.

    The equilibrium sea level rise with current GHG levels is 20-40 metres.

    Time to seriously consider what is best to do, given where we are.

  43. Brian: – “Meanwhile, what do you think of Wood Mackenzie’s take on the future of oil and gas?

    Thanks for the link, Brian.

    The graphs titled: Proven oil supply (developed fields only with no investment) versus demand and Most likely oil supply from known fields (including undeveloped) versus demand, IMO are telling. Same for the gas graphs. I’m not surprised.

    But it’s fanciful to think we/humanity could still be burning oil & gas in vast quantities into the 2030s & 2040s and expect to continue to have a planet compatible with maintaining civilisation into the second half of this century and beyond.

    The Wood Mackenzie piece also ignores the IEAs call for no new fossil fuel projects:

    New energy security challenges will emerge on the way to net zero by 2050 while longstanding ones will remain, even as the role of oil and gas diminishes. The contraction of oil and natural gas production will have far-reaching implications for all the countries and companies that produce these fuels. No new oil and natural gas fields are needed in the net zero pathway, and supplies become increasingly concentrated in a small number of low-cost producers.

    US petroleum geologist Art Berman posted a piece on Jan 18, titled THEY’RE NOT MAKING OIL LIKE THEY USED TO: STEALTH PEAK OIL? Figure 10 shows total world liquids production has recovered to 99% of 2018 average level but crude oil plus condensate remains more than 4 Mb/d below late 2018 levels.

    That suggests the quality of oil is declining. That means there’s less energy content per volume of oil produced. That means less net energy available from petroleum products for economic activities.

    I wonder whether Art Berman’s piece prompted the Wood Mackenzie piece?

  44. Geoff M, I think Wood Mackenzie describe the world as they find it, which is why their assessment is actually terrifying for those of us who appreciate how dangerous our situation really is.

  45. Rod Campbell at The Australia Institute tweeted this morning (Feb 21):

    Wow, @tanya_plibersek’s department just approved a new coal seam gas project out to 2077.

    2077!! Fracking!! Santos!! Wow.

    Apparently there was no press release, no press conference, no tweet.

    I think Labor is no better than the other mob! IMO, they are still facilitating civilisation collapse.

  46. Brian:


    blockquote>The equilibrium sea level rise with current GHG levels is 20-40 metres.”
    How fast? Maybe we should not have sold the house at Chappell Hill?

  47. John D: – “How fast?

    At the April 2019 General Meeting of the American Philosophical Society, as shown in the YouTube video titled On Sheet Ice Melt in a Warming Climate and What We Should Do About It, glaciologist Professor Eric Rignot confirmed that the whole of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is now committed to melting, and the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has passed its “tipping point” (in the Q&A) with the current level of warming. Rignot said from time interval 0:02:51:

    So right now, sea level is raising, rising about thirty centimetres per century, but we know there’s the possibility that it could do this ten times faster because it did that in the past and, what causes that is the, is the ice sheets.

    From time interval 0:13:07:

    And if you accumulate all these accelerations from the land ice, you see that it’s accelerating at 440 gigatonnes per year per decade, and if you extrapolate that to the end of the century we raise sea level by 80 centimetres. So you could argue that we are already on the trajectory of one metre per century sea level rise if this trend continues. This is clearly faster than any models that are being used so far to make sea level rise projections, and there are a multitude of reasons for that.

    From time interval 0:21:03:

    So right now, we are on a rate of one metre per century, but an interesting result from paleo-records is that when the climate of the planet was about half a degree warmer than present, or maybe just the same as present, right, during the last interglacial, sea level was six to nine metres higher. That means the main part of Greenland was gone, West Antarctica was gone, and some part of East Antarctica yet-to-be-identified was gone as well. It’s likely that if we bring the climate system to the same level we will also commit ourselves to six to nine metres sea level rise. What the paleo-record doesn’t tell us is how long it’s going to take to do that. Damage doesn’t start at six to nine metres sea level rise, right. The damage on us starts at about a metre sea level rise.

    In summary (my interpretation of Prof Rignot’s presentation):
    SLR rate will be non-linear.
    Current SLR rate is around 0.3 m/century.
    SLR rate accelerates for SLR to be at least 0.8 m by 2100, but more likely higher (could potentially see up to 3 m/century by 2100).

    Professor Jason Box suggests we are currently on a trajectory to see at least 1 m SLR by 2100 at current warming level, but likely more with higher Earth System temperatures in the coming decades.

  48. I wrote a long comment on SLR last night and the site played up and refused to post it. Server error again!

    Geoff M, from the Twitter thread, a lot of Labor members appear to be tearing up their membership cards. They should have thought about this earlier, because what happened is exactly Labor policy, as taken to the election.

    I’m just one member of nearly 700 branches. This was one of about 6 or 7 issues I identified, but as you can see, nothing has changed.

    Albanese has been quite clear, saying while other countries want to buy our coal and gas, we will sell it. That has always been incompatible with a safe or even livable climate later this century. To be honest, I have not yet seen evidence that anyone in parliament, including Greens and teals, appreciates how bad the situation is.

    As to the project, it’s Santos, in the Arcadia Valley, which is north of Injune and south of Rolleston, both north of Roma.

    The gas will go to Gladstone for export. Planning and development with pilot wells and stuff has been on the go since about 2014.

    I understand that when Santos committed to the Gladstone LNG project they did not have enough gas to meet their contracts.

    So, if you are in the industry, there is nothing surprising about this. It’s probably a good thing this has happened as negotiations are taking place on the Safeguard Mechanism in the Senate, where it is relevant and a good example of problem we have to address.

    For Plibersek, given the environmental act she works under, dating from 1999, it was no doubt quite straight forward. However, it constitutes the perfect argument for the inclusion of a climate trigger in the revision of the environment act, which looks like a red line for Pocock and the Greens.

    BTW, I’ve been to Arcadia Valley. Magic place with the most sophisticated community I’ve ever visited in rural Australia. Only there for a few hours, but it seemed like heaven on earth. One of the last places you would want to see industrialised.

  49. Brian: – “To be honest, I have not yet seen evidence that anyone in parliament, including Greens and teals, appreciates how bad the situation is.

    Indeed, you have to wonder who’s advising them directly on their public messaging.

    For example, posted yesterday (Feb 21): https://twitter.com/ChaneyforCurtin/status/1627854944614367232

    The second-part of David Spratt’s series on Faster, higher, hotter: What we learned about the climate system in 2022 was posted this morning.

  50. Thanks for the David Spratt link. I got it in my email feed this time.

    It’s grim, but I think Spratt sifts out the science that matters.

  51. Here’s a link to what is said to be the approval document for Arcadia Valley.

    If you want to see a map of their tenements, go to p165 on the counter in Social impact assessment report: Santos GLNG Gas Field Development Project.

    That goes back to 2014. Exploration licences must have been approved prior to that.

    The final investment decision goes back to 2018:

      The A$400 million Arcadia investment is in addition to the A$900 million we are investing in upstream developments in the Maranoa, Western Downs, Central Highlands and Banana regions of Queensland this year.

      Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said, “The Arcadia gas project will create up to 300 construction jobs and local business opportunities in the Central Highlands region, helping to sustain and boost the benefits of Santos’ and GLNG’s earlier investments.”

      “This initial phase of the Arcadia development will at its peak deliver in excess of 75 TJ/day to the gas supply for the GLNG project. This is great news for both the domestic gas market and our LNG exports.”

      The project, located near Injune, about 680km northwest of Brisbane, will involve drilling 137 new wells and constructing a 140 km gas and water gathering network, two 4G communication towers, a new compression station, a 4 ML per day water treatment plant, a 5 MW gas-fired power station, and associated roads and infrastructure.

      Mr Gallagher said the decision to sanction the project follows a very successful 13-well pilot program which tested changes to the planned well design and operating philosophy.

  52. The New Daily has a roundup of comment on Arcadia Valley, including this from Santos:

      Santos said it welcomed the decision.

      “GLNG will spend more than a billion dollars this year alone drilling new wells and developing infrastructure to support supply into its long-term contracts with customers in Korea and Malaysia,” the statement read.

      “All new gas supply projects, whether for domestic or LNG markets, help to ease the pressure on the east coast gas market.

      “The application for the wells was made two years ago and has undergone a robust environmental assessment process, including by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.”

    I’m thinking that Plibersek had no head of power to knock the proposal back under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). She would have been taken to the cleaners, capitalists everywhere would have seen Australia as a place not to do business.

    The article links to Adam Bandt on Twitter. Many of the comments are silly and stupid.

    We need to fix the EPBC Act.

  53. Brian: – “The article links to Adam Bandt on Twitter. Many of the comments are silly and stupid.

    I wonder whether the region in which the Arcadia Valley project sits will still be livable by 2077?

    Published on 1 Aug 2022 in PNAS was a paper by Luke Kemp et. al. titled Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios. It includes Figure 1 showing the overlap between future population distribution and extreme heat:


    The shaded areas depict regions where the mean annual temperature (MAT) exceeds 29 °C, while the coloured topography details the spread of population density. Under a SSP3-7.0 scenario, the regions where MATs would likely exceed 29 °C are calculated during around 2070 (2060–2080).

    It seems that the northern third of Australia could become unlivable in less than 50 years on our current (BAU) GHG emissions trajectory.

    It seems to me that federal Labor, by approving more fossil fuel projects, is facilitating increasing areas of Australia becoming unlivable in the coming decades.

  54. Geoff: Lived in the middle of WA for 10 yrs. Affects my view of “hot” and “unlivable”. Summer had lots of +40 deg C days with seriously hot days getting into the high forties.

  55. Geoff M, one of the negatives of the Safeguard Mechanism is that it pretty much sets in concrete 2050 as the net zero target. It will be difficult to pivot to greater ambition. I think that will only happen now if the world goes into panic mode.

    The image you linked to comes from the ‘climate endgame’ paper, which draws on the ‘human niche’ paper of 2018. From that I manipulated the image which shows very clearly the areas which are likely to be unlivable on our current path.

    The black areas are unlivable now. In future the hatched areas are likely to become black.

    Australia is affected – Darwin would become impossible. However it’s somewhat less than a third.

    Nevertheless, every politician should be aware of this research, which has been done by some of the best scientists on the planet. I’m guessing that none are, or they would feel compelled to talk about it.

  56. Image now there. Much of Australia will be very hot. We are looking at average 30C – that’s 24/7, whole year, I think.

  57. John D: – “Summer had lots of +40 deg C days with seriously hot days getting into the high forties.

    But not 50+ °C days. That’s where I’d suggest many places are heading on extreme heat days (or succession of days) in the coming decades. See What is the heat index?

    Per DEGREES OF RISK: Can the banking system survive climate warming of 3˚C? by David Spratt & Ian Dunlop, on page 10:

    Prof. Andy Pitman, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes in Australia notes that global mean warming is badly understood. As a general rule of thumb, global average warming of 4°C (covering land and ocean) is consistent with 6°C over land, and 8°C in the average warming over mid-latitude land. That risks 10°C in the summer average, or perhaps 12°C in heatwaves. Western Sydney has already reached 48°C. If you add 12°C to the 48°C you get summer heatwaves of 60°C.

    Sous vide, also known as low-temperature, long-time (LTLT) cooking, is a method of cooking in which food is placed in a plastic pouch or a glass jar and cooked in a water bath for longer than usual cooking times (usually one to seven hours, and up to 72 or more hours in some cases) at a precisely regulated temperature. The temperature is much lower than usually used for cooking, typically around 55 to 60 °C (130 to 140 °F) for red meat…

    In other words, if you were outside without the aid of effective cooling measures, then you could be literally cooking in your own juices!

  58. Brian: – “Australia is affected – Darwin would become impossible. However it’s somewhat less than a third.

    Breaching the +2 °C global mean surface temperature threshold (& on our current trajectory, that’s by 2050) means Sydney and Melbourne likely experience summer temperatures of 50+ °C. I’d suggest places closer to the equator and well away from the coast would likely see hotter conditions. So I think the northern third of Australia being unlivable (during at least in summer) by 2070 (at the higher +3 °C warming level) is quite plausible.

    What the MAT graph shows are the areas that are expected to exceed 29 °C. It doesn’t show MATs at other temperatures at or near 29 °C.

  59. Thanks for the Degrees of Risk link, Geoff. On p24 they point out that property loans are typically for 30 years, while insurance is only for one year. Miami’s economy will fall apart when lenders refuse to give 30-year loans. With SLR and water running through the streets on a clear day, that could be soon!

  60. Brian: – “Miami’s economy will fall apart when lenders refuse to give 30-year loans. With SLR and water running through the streets on a clear day, that could be soon!

    I’d suggest water rising in the streets is already happening in some places. It seems the geology in the area is that the ground is porous. It can’t do some vehicles much good driving through a few inches of seawater on flooded roads frequently.

    See the Miami-Dade County’s Sea Level Rise Strategy website here.

    I note that it seems Miami-Dade County is expecting up to 2 feet (0.61 m) of SLR but I don’t see over what timeframe. With storm surges, that could be anytime!

    Climate Central provides a great interactive Coastal Risk Screening Tool, including SLR in both 0.1 m & 0.1 foot increments, up to 10 m or 30 feet, for it seems anywhere on the planet.

    This morning, David Spratt has posted the 3rd part of Faster, higher, hotter: What we learned about the climate system in 2022.

  61. Thanks for the Spratt link. I don’t think positive measures is his strength.

    In his Risk piece he says the US Government uses 2.5 metres by 2100, which I’ve seen multiple times. I’ve also seen from scientists multiple forecasts of 12 to 29 inches by 2050. I think those two are compatible with a notion of accelerating ice sheet collapse.

    John Englander reckons you should take the worst estimate and add 60% for proper risk management. He comes up with this guideline:

    I did a bit of a search and readily came up with this:

    And with this:

    They definitely need a plan. Not sure planting mangroves will make much difference.

  62. Had a branch meeting on Sunday, which has been a major distraction.

    Also had the opportunity on Friday to be part of a chat with a senior minister, a first since I joined the ALP. Let’s say, we all learnt a bit.

    Last night I came across this one from Al Gore, where he let fly at Davos:

      Al Gore on climate change, Davos, January 23 2023

      ‘We are not winning. The situation is still getting worse faster than we are deploying (the available technological) solutions. We have to have a sense of urgency much greater than we have had. The World Bank is failing to do its job. The people in authority are not doing their job. We are still failing badly. We cannot let the oil companies and gas companies and petrostates tell us what is permissible to discuss (at the COP meetings). The rest of us have to reform these international institutions so that the people of this world, including the young people, can say ‘We are now in charge of our own destiny’.

    The woman in the hat next to him kept nodding in agreement, but I doubt the ruling elite in the audience took much notice.

    Probably thought, Poor Al. Hope he feels better now!

  63. John, they clearly still have a lot of work to do, but it is interesting that this kind of work is being done in Australia. I heard a discussion about innovation the other day, which said there was 47,000 new technology start-ups in Australia, average employees less than 20.

    Support from the federal government and Woodside is a good sign, and the company has other ways of making a living by leading the Aurora Energy Project (AEP) near Port Augusta.

  64. John, it’s sad, but overall coal is assuming that carbon capture and storage will render coal power plants net zero, and the gas industry sees itself as part of the solution.

    The last round of IPCC reports assume 100% that we will have to use drawdowns if we are going to come anywhere near Paris targets.

    The Australian Academy of Sciences called a roundtable in September last year to look at carbon removal and storage. The report from which has just become available. The Guardian’s article Australia must set targets for amount of CO2 to be removed from air, scientists say suggests we should mount a concerted program of R&D and of actually doing it.

    I notice the article foreshadows that the Climate Change Authority is going to produce a report on this in the next few weeks.

    The Guardian habitually fails to link to the reports it is writing about. I found it rewarding to go to source at:

    I’m partway through watching the expert panel discussion.

    It seems Australia has huge potential (virtually unlimited) for carbon removal and storage in ways were it will stay stored, for example by becoming rock, and quite a lot is going on in academia and actual activity.

    World-wide storage is only 2Gt. Expert Andrew Lenton says, following the IPCC, this needs to increase to 10Gt pa by 2030 and 20Gt pa by 2100.

    Currently 99.99% of removal is through nature-based solutions, which he sees as slow, vulnerable and using sinks which will saturate.

    However, the big thrust is that the whole sector is serious, is being seriously pursued overseas, and is necessary for a safe climate.

    They would see, I think, the current proposals through the Safeguard Mechanism as a misuse of the technology, effectively extending carbon and methane pollution which should be more urgently phased out.

  65. Brian: – “The last round of IPCC reports assume 100% that we will have to use drawdowns if we are going to come anywhere near Paris targets.

    …with technologies that don’t yet exist at large-scale. Decarbonisation is not enough.

    In a piece by David Spratt published on Feb 24 at ClimateCodeRed.org:

    In summary, emissions still have not peaked and are unlikely to be significantly lower in 2030 than 2020; warming of 1.5°C is likely this decade; the emissions trend and reduction commitments are currently nowhere near keeping warming to 2°C; and once the full range of feedbacks, non-linearities and cascades are taking into account, warming may well exceed 3°C this century, a level of warming that will likely result in climate-driven collapse of ecological and social systems. The contradiction is stark: the world will sail past 1.5°C, but 1.5°C may be enough to trigger ‘Hothouse Earth’ cascades; indeed, it is evident that some tipping points have already been passed, and some cascading events are occurring already.

    I think governments at all levels, wherever you look, are in denial of the scale/magnitude and limited timeframe to respond effectively before it all gets out of control to continue to maintain human civilisation, failing dismally to mitigate for:

    1) The Climate Crisis;
    2) The Energy Crisis – particularly already declining global gasoil/diesel fuel production – the workhorse of the global economy; and
    3) The ongoing SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic.

    On Thursday morning (Mar 2), I attended a public forum in Bathurst for the opportunity to put a question to the candidates intending to contest for the NSW seat of Bathurst in the NSW state election on 25 Mar 2023, hosted by the Bathurst branch of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association. Only three candidates where present – NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole (Nationals), Kay Nankervis (Greens), and Cameron Shaw (Labor). The independent Martin Ticehurst was a no show – too busy doing something else apparently.

    Paul Toole talked about the need for NSW to secure more gas supplies and allowing further extensions of existing coal mines. I interjected and asked him if he accepted the climate science. He did not respond to that. He also said there needed to be a “balance” in managing the COVID response. There was nothing from Paul on how to deal effectively with already declining global diesel fuel supplies, but it seemed he had plenty of enthusiasm for the planned Great Western Highway upgrades between Katoomba and Bathurst.

    I gained the impression from my experience at Thursday’s forum that most people there simply don’t know (or are in denial) about how bad our/humanity’s predicament is. I’d suggest until people do wake-up to the rapidly escalating existential threats and demand change by voting for people who do understand the challenges and have an effective, timely plan, our trajectory will continue to head towards civilisation collapse.

    I’d suggest if we don’t have a civilisation, then all the other issues discussed at the forum, like on NSW paramedic pay rates & staffing, local medical facilities like the new MRI facility at Bathurst, a call for the reopening of the Cowra rail line, cost-of-living issues, local jobs, affordable housing and education, accessible/reliable transport links during bushfires & floods, etc., however important they may be, will become moot.

  66. Geoff M, The Australian Academy of Science used Professor Mark Howden, Director, ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions to set up the climate situation.

    Howden is also a Vice Chair of the IPCC and Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council, so naturally they would defer to him.

    Which is the problem with the IPCC. I won’t rehearse the reasons again, but we would all be better informed if we read and took notice of what David Spratt et al tell us at Climate Code Red and Breakthrough.

    Apart from a tendency to soft-sell and under-rate risk, they are always out of date, which just gets worse and worse as we wait another 7 years for their next report.

  67. On drawdown, I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet the American charity (established in 2017) The Foundation for Climate Restoration. Their site is a bit of a beast to find stuff, but they have a Climate Solutions Series which they are rolling out.

    I found their Direct Air Capture whitepaper of interest.

    They have identified three companies offering DAC. They say:

      An investment of $700 million could buy down the expense of DAC implementation so that it costs only $100/ton and is considered economically viable enough to remove 10% to 20% of hard-to-abate emissions.

    They say DAC would require significant power, and find the use of water problematic. I must say I don’t understand why water is an issue, but then I have no technical or science background.

    In the Forest Carbon Practices whitepaper they say:

      Restoring and protecting native forests is essential in combating climate change, and forest carbon practices can be scaled to provide jobs, alleviate poverty, and ensure the health of forests in the long term.

    Still, there is this:

      However, the uncertainties relating to durability, scalability, financeability, and equity mean that forest carbon practices, as we understand them now, fall somewhat short of the mark for climate restoration.
  68. Brian: You may remember that I was very critical of the way the Dam operating engineers were treated after the Brisbane floods.
    A report has come out Dam engineers criticised for 2011 Brisbane floods defend handling and says governments need to act on planning regulations:

    Dam engineers criticised for 2011 Brisbane floods defend handling, say governments need to act on planning regulations

    General conclusion was that the treatment of the engineers was appalling.
    My take is that they deserve a very public apology and compensation.
    My detailed analysis at the time supported the engineers.

  69. John, I saw these two guys on TV and I agree with all that. They should be compensated. The mud sticks, as it were.

    The dam operators were lucky last year in two ways. Firstly, the dam was much emptier than it was in 2011.

    Secondly, it rained a lot more outside the catchment than inside last year. In 2011 the reverse was true.

    I can’t figure those who say the BOM forecast the rain in 2011 but the engineers did not react. The forecast was that the rain depression would move SE towards the sea. Instead it stuck then re-intensified. In effect there were two floods within a couple of days, neither of them fully forecast by the BOM.

    Also the dam manual was entirely rewritten after 2011. The 2011 manual was at best a waste of time.

    Finally, from me, Hedley Thomas, the journalist writing for the Australian, who clearly thinks he knows better than any hydrologist of engineer, should be locked up, as a danger to the public generally.

    I speak with tongue in cheek, of course, but I really don’t have respect for him.

  70. Earlier this morning (Mar 9), the Australian Parliament House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture published my Submission (#165) on their submissions webpage for their Inquiry into Food Security in Australia.

    It has been a long process to get to here. My first attempt lodged in Dec 2022 was deemed “non-compliant”.

  71. Geoff: Our observation of the Warndilyagwa people in the 1970,s would have said food security was rarely a problem. The natural environment provided plenty of food from fishing and gathering, obligation systems were working and European food could be bought at the store. However, my wife did know one woman with kids who was noticeably hungry. Problem was that the woman was not related to anyone one in the community that would be obliged to share food with this woman.
    Don’t know how significant traditional foods and obligation this might be in other remote communities.

  72. Excellent work, Geoff M.

    On food specifically, from memory the numbers of people who defend largely on coral reefs is in the order of 300 million.

    Not sure it is in the Sir David King reference you cited, but he has said that the Vietnamese rice bowl in the Mekong Delta will be gone by 2050, along with similar low-lying productive areas around the planet.

    Moreover, fresh water aquifers are being used unsustainably in food production, along with diminishing supplies of melted snow

    I think we will have to depend increasingly in greenhouse food production and foods manufactured from chemical components, vertical stacked farming and such.

    On the urgency of the matter, I liked this:

      With current policies, per the Hansen et. al. pre-print, global warming should reach +1.5 °C by the end of the 2020s, and +2 °C by 2050. I’d suggest that would have profound detrimental effects on Australia’s (and the world’s) food security.

      In the longer-term, including the slow feedbacks (over centuries to millennia timescales), the warming level will be significantly higher – about +10 °C for a doubling of atmospheric CO₂ concentration, per Hansen et. al. pre-print paper.

      I think it would be foolish to bet that Hansen & colleagues are significantly wrong on this issue.

    If you want to bet against Hansen you have to be 99.9999% sure he’s wrong (relates to 1 in a million odds). Otherwise in terms of risk you should act as though he is right. Not many, even scientists, understand that!

  73. Thanks Brian.
    May I suggest at your earliest opportunity you could phone your local state and federal members of parliament to draw their attentions to the urgency of the matter.

    Per the Nature Communications paper titled Mekong delta much lower than previously assumed in sea-level rise impact assessments, published 28 Aug 2019:

    Deltas are low-relief landforms that are extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise. Impact assessments of relative sea-level rise in deltas primarily depend on elevation data accuracy and how well the vertical datum matches local sea level. Unfortunately, many major deltas are located in data-sparse regions, forcing researchers and policy makers to use low-resolution, global elevation data obtained from satellite platforms. Using a new, high-accuracy elevation model of the Vietnamese Mekong delta, we show that quality of global elevation data is insufficient and underscore the cruciality to convert to local tidal datum, which is often neglected. The novel elevation model shows that the Mekong delta has an extremely low mean elevation of ~0.8 m above sea level, dramatically lower than the earlier assumed ~2.6 m. Our results imply major uncertainties in sea-level rise impact assessments for the Mekong delta and deltas worldwide, with errors potentially larger than a century of sea-level rise.

    If John Englander’s 9-box matrix for SLR is close to the mark, then it’s quite possible that the Mekong Delta could be submerged before 2050 under the high risk sensitivity scenario, and very precarious for the medium risk sensitivity.

  74. Thanks, Geoff.

    In this video from about 3:50 Sir David King talks about a number of major cities under threat of SLR. He is concerned about periodic flooding.

    He reckons that within 10 or 20 years annual flooding will be experienced, in the case of Vietnam, 90% of the country.

    He makes it very clear that we have already broken the climate system and the question is whether it is in any way reparable.

    He reckons net zero ASAP, plus 30 to 40 Gt of drawdown pa would get us to 350ppm by around 2100.

    In addition, we need geoengineering, hence his fog in the Arctic project…

  75. Ian Dunlop has just entered the lists on current climate policy with A desperate race to avoid locking in the pathway to human extinction.

    I get a bit tired of people saying “the science says”, then suggesting that net zero will “give us the best chance of avoiding the worst” and that is all we have to do.

    Dunlop says:

      The science has long indicated that, to avoid locking in far worse irreversible climatic tipping points, the current fashion for achieving net zero emissions by 2050 (NZE 2050) is totally inadequate. The objective must be to reach zero emissions as close to 2030 as possible (ZE 2030).

      In addition to rapid emission reduction, atmospheric carbon concentrations must be drawn down from the present level of 420 ppm CO2, toward a more stable level below 350 ppm CO2. A task not even mentioned in the Australian debate.

      This is a massive undertaking which requires a complete reset in global thinking on climate, encompassing every policy arena, particularly geo-politics. Climate change, not China, Russia or the US, is the greatest threat the world faces; it will only be overcome with unprecedented global co-operation rather than conflict.

    Actually “zero emissions as close to 2030 as possible” is not what the science says. James Hansen told us back in 2007 we had gone too far.

    It’s also useful to define “existential”.

    It would need an extended discussion to critique Dunlop’s position, but I think he’s heading in the right direction.

    Small gripe – I can’t see how he gets Australia as the world’s fifth largest polluter. This site puts us 14th. I think we should count Scope 1 and Scope 2, plus the emissions inherent in what we import.

  76. Brian: – “Small gripe – I can’t see how he gets Australia as the world’s fifth largest polluter.

    I think you will probably find the WorldOMeters data is based on each country’s Scope 1 & 2 emissions only. I think Ian Dunlop is perhaps comparing each country’s Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions. It would have been handy to have a reference link.

    See Slide 22 in my Attachment 1 to Submission (#165) to the food security inquiry.

    Thanks for highlighting Ian’s latest piece.

  77. Geoff M, it’s still confusing. Our National Greenhouse Accounting site says “Emissions for the year to September 2022 are estimated to be 490.5 Mt CO2-e.”

    The Worldometer site puts us at 414,988,700.

    My main argument is that including Scope 3 as our responsibility often ends up comparing apples with watermelons.

    Nick Meik as a journalist is very thorough, but falls for that trap when looking at Woodside’s Scarborough development.

    That aside, his piece The great stock ’n’ coal swindle is excruciating in its view of the Safeguard Mechanism.

    It’s not just greenwashing, he says:

      What these policies protect the public from is the knowledge that Australian climate policy has been reverse-engineered to protect the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.

    He runs the ruler over people in policy-making positions. In the case of the Climate Change Authority:

      And, as the saying goes, the fish rots from the head: the chair of the Climate Change Authority (CCA), whose task is to provide independent advice to the government on climate policy, is also the chair of GreenCollar, the largest carbon-credits aggregator in Australia. Grant King is the former head of Origin Energy, former director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, former chair of the Energy Supply Association of Australia and former president of the Australian Gas Association, and is also on the board of GreenCollar’s parent company, Green Climate Co. This company, which King owns shares in, is also the ultimate owner of a share of the biggest soil-carbon credit trader in Australia, AgriProve. And AgriProve is linked by ownership with other major aggregator, Corporate Carbon.

      The deputy chair of the CCA, Susie Smith, was a long-time manager at gas company Santos and is now chief executive of the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network, a lobby group for the fossil-fuel industry that appears to recognise the need for action on climate change but has been largely unsupportive of specific climate policies. (Although it does support “net-zero” policies!)

      Another CCA board member with carbon-trading interests – but not the only other one – is Mark Lewis, director and a shareholder in Australian Integrated Carbon, which is part-owned by Japanese companies Mitsubishi and Osaka Gas, shareholders in large Australian gas projects.

    I find it problematic and disappointing that there is no climate scientist, and no engineer, on the CCA.

    Also Australia is not alone in not having a plan to transition out of coal and gas:

      A report released at last year’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt, by German non-government organisation Urgewald and 50 NGO partners, found that 96 per cent of oil and gas companies have plans for expansion, and these plans including a doubling of exports of liquefied gas around the world. Again, none of these projects can go ahead if we are to actually reduce global emissions to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    Actually, we’ll make 1.5°C whether or not.

    And actually, I think he’s wrong in this:

      And the wealthiest 20 fossil-fuel companies in Australia make profits of tens of billions in a year, but in 2020–21 the income tax they paid was, collectively, $30. Thirty bucks.

    That may have been true of multinationals, but not of domestic listed companies. Eg, Woodside made a bit over $5bn after tax profit, fully franked. That would imply around $3bn tax paid.

    “Fossil” also includes coal companies which made heaps of money, paid a fair amount in royalties and taxes, and were not amused when the Qld govt nicked a few more billions off them in royalties.

    Other than that, IMHO the new Safeguard Mechanism legislation is more than a tweak of the old. I think they are honestly trying to make it work properly.

    However, I have zero enthusiasm for using trees and carbon farming as offsets.

  78. Brian: – “My main argument is that including Scope 3 as our responsibility often ends up comparing apples with watermelons.

    I’d suggest you look at Prof Penny Sackett’s presentation slides to the Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) re the Mt Pleasant Optimisation Project:

    Slide 15 shows GHG emissions from the combustion of NSW coal (Scope 3) is 3 times more damaging to the NSW environment than all of the State’s direct emissions (Scope 1) combined. Whether NSW Hunter Valley coal is burnt here in NSW or elsewhere, its GHG emissions will still end up in the one atmosphere we/humanity all share.

    Slide 19 shows a graph of the approved and proposed ROM Hunter Valley coal extraction.

    Slide 20 shows when combusted, these Hunter Valley
    coal Scope 3 emissions equals all of Australia’s direct emissions from all sources over whole period 2022-2050 (assuming emissions targets are met).

    This is just for the Hunter Valley. Other fossil fuel projects elsewhere in Australia for Scope 3 emissions contribute much more!

    Ian Dunlop’s latest piece at John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations includes:

    When it comes to understanding what needs to be done to avert civilisational collapse driven by an overheated planet, you cannot compromise with the laws of physics. There can be no trade-offs, no deals, no half measures with the vast planetary interactions of physics, chemistry, geology and the biosciences that determine the state of our planet.

    Don’t do enough to mitigate human-induced warming, and that warming will drive relentlessly on.

    By counting only Scope 1 & 2 emissions makes Australia’s GHG emissions contribution to the world seem much smaller than it really is.

    Approving more fossil fuel projects is civilisation suicide.

  79. Geoff, I agree with all that. By supplying the stuff we are accessories to the crime of ecocide. Against that, are we going to say that in other countries they can’t use the stuff while we still do to keep the lights on?

    Chris Bowen will always point out that 80% of our main trading partners are committed to net zero by 2050, so the orders for coal and gas are meant to dry up.

    2050 is way to late and there is no sign what he expects is going to happen.

    Dan Calverley and Kevin Anderson have proposed that rich countries lead the way.

    Good idea, but also too slow.

    My main beef is that in communicating the whole thing gets muddled up when people don’t specify what they mean.

  80. Brian: – “Chris Bowen will always point out that 80% of our main trading partners are committed to net zero by 2050, so the orders for coal and gas are meant to dry up.

    So why is Labor continuing to encourage and approve more fossil fuel projects here in Australia, if as you say Labor expects “orders for coal and gas are meant to dry up”?

    Minister Plibersek’s department recently approved a Santos gas project to allow production out to 2077! How is that compatible with “net zero by 2050”?

    Why is Labor allowing UNLIMITED carbon offsets in their proposed Safeguard Mechanism?

    ICYMI, the Climate Council produced a Briefing Paper, published 30 Jan 2023, on the proposed Safeguard Mechanism. They suggest the Safeguard Mechanism needs to be strengthened in 2 key ways:

    Key issue #1 – The Safeguard Mechanism must achieve genuine emissions reduction

    Key issue #2 – Don’t open the door to new, high emitting fossil fuel projects

  81. Brian: Bowen always comes across to me as someone who will need to be dragged screaming to zero emissions.

  82. John, I think Bowen understands that net zero by 2050 is later than it should be. You get to know what people really think at times by the asides they let out when doing Q&A at presentations.

    Bowen is picking a path through real world political possibilities.

    Geoff, Plibersek had no head of power to do otherwise under the Act she is administering.

    More than 10 years ago when Santos was setting up its LNG train it wrote contracts for selling gas they knew was there, but had not yet proved up through test drilling.

    The actual FID (final investment decision) on this bunch of wells in Arcadia Valley was made in 2018. I understand some had been developed previously in the same Valley. What we had the other day was a final sign-off after the required EIS had been submitted, which contained a number of exclusions, and was effectively BAU for what goes in the gas fields.

    Santos spends over a billion dollars pa on exploration. You can be sure they don’t spend that kind of money unless they have buyers lined up.

    If Plibersek had denied approval the matter would have ended in court and Santos would have won.

    Chris Bowen said just the other night that Labor doesn’t “like” new gas, but we may may need more.

    Tonight we had this:

    We also had Kurt Winter from the Carbon Market Institute:

    It gave me some hope that the Safeguard Mechanism legislation might get through. The Greens will claim credit, of course, but for workable pathways we usually look elsewhere.

    Whether that helps humanity and the planet in the end is moot. We’ll have to wait and see how the world reacts when it wakes up in fright. I’ve always thought 1.5°C was the wrong target.

  83. Brian: – “Bowen is picking a path through real world political possibilities.

    Climate change has arrived and it’s going to get worse, and how much worse depends on the decisions that we/humanity make this decade especially, this year and today.

    Bowen cannot negotiate with the Laws of Physics. I reiterate part of the quote by Ian Dunlop (in an earlier comment by me):

    Don’t do enough to mitigate human-induced warming, and that warming will drive relentlessly on.

    • Bowen cannot negotiate with the Laws of Physics.

    Geoff, he’s not a stupid man, he knows that.

    Does he fully appreciate the peril we are in?

    My guess is that he doesn’t, but my estimation is that he’s closer to it than most. More so than Mark Butler did. However, he’s 9th and Plibersek is 10th in cabinet seniority which would put him on the outer edge of the inner ‘kitchen’ cabinet.

    As far as I can tell that matters less under Albanese than under most PMs. Albanese spreads responsibility and delegates better than most. However, he has made it clear that he sees climate essentially as an economic opportunity. I don’t know how much he understands the science, but my estimate is that he does not see it as a full on existential threat.

    So I do think that Bowen operates within the constraints of what is politically possible to him.

    If you look elsewhere in the parliament I don’t see anyone I am sure understands the position fully. The one I think may have an idea is Andrew Wilkie, but he is politically irrelevant.

    I’m not impressed with any of the lower house teals. Zali Steggall has done work, but has limited understanding.

    The one I think is possibly most worth talking to is David Pocock. He seems the most rational and least encumbered by ideologies he brings to the job. And in a position to make a difference.

    The Greens have essentially signed up to the ‘science’ behind the Climate Council position. I think that would have been expressed differently, and more urgently, if only Tim Flannery and Will Steffen had been in the room.

    Tim Flannery told Phillip Adams that his Climate cure book, published about May 2020, was probably his last on climate. At that time instant action could still get the net zero job done by 2030, then with drawdowns by all means available to the end of the century. Then we would have a chance.

    Will Steffen told a group in Canberra in 2020 that 1.5°C was unavoidable but there may be a chance of 2°C, although he knew full well about tipping points and that it wasn’t a good place to try to park the planet.

    In one of his last talks, when he was reviewing their relook at the planetary boundaries concept and overlaying doughnut economics, in answering a question he said for a sustainable planet we needed Holocene-like conditions, in other words Holocene-like GHGs.

    I’m sure Ian Dunlop would agree.

  84. I’ve been preoccupied with many matters including revisiting the Wivenhoe dams matter and Seqwater’s 30-year plans for water security in SEQ.

    I think our biggest problem is that we occupy a large and low flood plain which is not very high above sea level.

    Parliament is proceeding and I think Chris Bowen who I described as “picking a path through real world political possibilities is finding” is finding that the path that got him agreement within Labor will meet a roadblock in the Senate.

    David Pocock made very clear at the Australia Institute’s Climate Integrity Summit that the proposed Safeguard Mechanism may be better than nothing, but is well short of being good enough for him to sign up to. He wants Australia to be a world leader in climate integrity.

    Sophie Scamps told Andy Park that everyone is talking to everyone (I’ll bet she’s not talking to Bob Katter, Barnaby Joyce and Pauline H).

    Rachel Williamson at RenewEconomy tells what they have been cooking up:

      Instead of an outright ban on new coal and gas projects, independent MPs are proposing to make the legal barriers so high that new fossil fuel projects are effectively impossible.

      The fate of the federal government’s Safeguard Mechanism appears to lie largely over the willingness to stop new coal and gas projects. The Greens want a ban, and Labor is saying no. Independents are trying to find a compromise.

      Senator David Pocock and independent MP Sophie Scamps have now suggested that the requirements on new coal and gas projects should be so strict that they would have no impact on the proposed 100 MT/CO2e cap on emissions by 2030. And they won’t allow offsets.

      “Under the proposed model, facilities can meet their emissions reduction targets entirely with the purchase of offsets. There is no real abatement requirement. The only other jurisdiction that allows unlimited use of offsets is Kazakhstan,” Scamps said in a statement.

      “My amendments will require all new, expanded, or extended fossil fuel facilities to have net zero carbon emissions at commencement, and for the life of the facility.”

    At least they are starting from a position that Bowen is acting in good faith, not as a fossil fuel shill as in effect accused by some.

  85. The IPCCAR6 Synthesis Report is out, as everyone would know.

    What we do this decade will determine our future for centuries to millennia, right?

    What no-one seems to have noticed is that the IPCC in saying we need roughly minus 50% CO2 by 2030 actually has a starting date of 2019, not 2005:

    The way I see it is to use a war analogy. We already have dangerous climate change. People are dying, as are other species, the outer skin of of our planet is being modified.

    What generals (policy makers) have to do now is to work out how peace can be restored with least death and suffering.

    I’m sick of “1.5C to avoid the worst”. We should be aiming for a livable planet.

  86. The ones who did best today that I heard were Zali Steggall and Elizabeth Schott. I’ll look for links tomorrow.

    [That should have been Kerry Schott. I was never good at names. – BB]

  87. David Spratt tweeted there’s scientific reticence on full display in the IPCC’s latest AR6 Synthesis Report.

    ICYMI, Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration published on 7 Jun 2019 at YouTube the video titled Home Front: Part One – Existential Gamble, duration 0:16:30. So far it has been viewed less than 7,900 times.

    Home Front: Part One is the first of a four-part series. Not sure whether the other parts are publicly available to view.

  88. Brian: – “The ones who did best today that I heard were Zali Steggall and Elizabeth Schott.

    Did you mean Dr Kerry Elizabeth Schott AO, who gave a National Press Club address yesterday (Mar 21)?

    I’d suggest you take a look at Polly Hemming’s tweet thread in response to Schott’s address, beginning with:

    The chair of Australia’s carbon offset lobby group gave an address on Net Zero to the National Press Club today and repeated a number of dated and debunked talking points straight out of the climate delay playbook:

    And concluding with:

    At one point, Kerry Schott said “I know 14 year olds want fossil fuel projects to stop overnight, but that’s impossible”.

    In fairness, if I was 14 years old, I would want the thing robbing me of my future to stop overnight, too.

    And Zali Steggall MP tweeted this yesterday afternoon (bold text my emphasis):

    Global carbon emissions must peak before 2025 to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. The safeguard mechanism is a powerful lever to achieve Australia’s emissions reductions – and within it, gross emissions must come down at an accelerating rate.

    It seems to me Schott is a chief spruiker for carbon offsets, and it seems is essentially advocating for delaying direct GHG emissions cuts.

    And it seems to me Zali Steggall is not up to date with the latest science – the Earth System will INEVITABLY breach the +1.5 °C warming threshold, likely before 2035. Hansen suggests a first breach of +1.5 °C may possibly occur as soon as next year (2024) if a strong El Niño emerges later this year and continues well into 2024.

  89. Geoff, thanks for that. I’ve corrected the 7:47 AM post, then deleted the next as now being redundant.

    Many scientists during the latter part of the last decade were warning that peaking emissions by 2020 was our last chance. Instead, if you look at Mauna Loa and Cape Grim it has been business as usual. I was a bit surprised to hear Warren Howden, who is in a senior position in the IPCC, say yesterday that we are on course for 3C.

    The Summary for Policy Makers has to be issued on a consensus basis with approval from each and every political representative, including Saudi Arabia and Russia. They spent all last week arguing over the final text, with the meeting running into Sunday. So what you get is lowest common denominator result, and emasculated text where consensus can’t be reached.

    Have a doctors appointment (routine, nothing wrong!) so must run!

  90. Geoff, I did mean Schott’s NPC and I’m aware of Polly Fleming’s position. The last link in my March 21, 2023 at 12:19 am was to her speech the other day, which I find simplistic and problematic.

    In terms of background Fleming has been a science journalist and done a couple of other interesting things. Quoted her 7 year-old. She has a binary view of things which amounts to an ideological position. She made many factual assertions which were not based on evidence.

    Schott is a distinguished economist with an impressive record of dealing with real world issues. She emphasised measurement and transparency as critical.

    So did Fleming, but assumed that it would not happen.

    I have heard a briefing from Bowen’s office to the effect that measurement and transparency are going to be top priority.

    Obviously the issue of ‘new’ fossil projects has to be resolved. It’s not simple. Did you know that Santos’ LNG project has as it’s main partner a Korean company which is effectively part customer? And that over a decade ago they contracted gas that had not yet been proven up for production? Some of these projects are not new.

    I think there have to be international commitments to transition. Schott seemed to appreciate how these would play out on the basis of what is firm in planning around the world.

    I’d need a few thousand words to unpack all this, which is not going to happen. Meanwhile we have Tweets.

  91. Thanks for the links, Geoff. Food security will be a big issue down the track. From Page Nine:

      When large-scale, self-reinforcing climate system feedbacks are considered, current emission-reduction commitments are estimated to lead to around 3°C of warming, which US security analysts say may result in a world of “outright chaos”.13 And six in ten climate scientists surveyed by Nature journal say that they expect the world to warm by at least 3°C by the end of the century.

      So when Australia does assess the future domestic threats that climate warming poses, it must look in detail at what a 3°C (and more) hotter world would mean for our nation, because we are now in an era of existential climate risks. The recently-released United States 2022 National Security Strategy recognises that: “Of all of the shared problems we face, climate change is the greatest and potentially [most] existential for all nations.”

    Then it really becomes grim!

    However, I can’t see mention of sea level rise.

  92. Climate deal struck after Labor and the Greens reach safeguard mechanism agreement

    The federal government has secured the support it needs to implement its central climate change commitment, after reaching a deal with the Greens following months of safeguard mechanism negotiations.

    Key points:
    The safeguard mechanism will impose emissions limits on the 215 largest-polluting facilities in the country
    Greens’ support for the policy requires the government to impose a hard cap on emissions
    Adam Bandt says that will make 116 coal and gas projects from being able to open
    This policy is the centrepiece of Labor’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.
    The Greens have long demanded Labor commit to no new coal and gas projects, but the government has repeatedly ruled this out.
    Greens leader Adam Bandt said the deal included a hard cap on emissions, which would impact new or expanded high-polluting projects.
    He predicted the hard emissions cap would make it unviable for 116 new coal and gas projects in the pipeline because they would be unable to get their emissions below the limit.

    Sounds that it will put a hard cap on new gas and coal.

  93. Thanks, John. Yes, it seems there will be a cap on emissions so that the 215 entities currently emitting 140Mt pa will not be able in total to emit more, and the emissions have to come down to 100Mt by 2030.

    Here’s the press conference with Albanese and Bowen (first 11 minutes):

    IN FULL: PM Anthony Albanese addresses safeguard mechanism after deal reached with Greens | ABC

    New gas in particular has to start with zero emissions from the mine. I suspect this means they can offset any emissions by their own means outside the Safeguard Mechanism scheme.

    Everyone seems to be at least a bit happy about the outcome, except Bob Brown and the gas industry. However, Woodside and Santos shares went up today. I don’t know what that means.

    Even Richard Dennis and Polly Fleming are a little bit positive. Fleming said, quite rightly, the associated regulations are still being written.

    The Project also had a go with quite a well-made video, with an interview with Saul Griffith. He said it was “reasonably good” policy. He would much prefer to start with the home.

    Strictly speaking, so we should. As Antonio Guterras said we need to do “everything, everywhere, all at once” for some chance of everything working out less than disastrous.

  94. Earlier this morning (Mar 29), the Australian Parliament House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture published my Supplementary to Submission (#165.1) on their submissions webpage for their Inquiry into Food Security in Australia. My Supplementary Submission was lodged late evening of Mar 21.

    I note that the lodgment of Submission (#166) by the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association appears to have been on Mar 21, and I observed was subsequently published on the inquiry website the following day (Mar 22).

    It’s curious to me that my original Submission, as well as my Supplementary Submission, took considerably longer to be subsequently published on the inquiry website compared with some other contributors.

  95. There is an article in the AFR today where Adam Bandt claims that operators in the Beetaloo basin will have to offset any Scope 3 emissions for gas burnt in Australia. They say “no”, Tony Wood says he is staggered and amazed.

    I think Beetaloo is intended to at least some extent to relieve gas shortages in NSW.

    I have not seen or heard any wording that would support Bandt’s claim, so the assumption is that the issue would end up in the courts. One would think the matter would need to be resolved before a final investment decision is made.

    I would think the ‘rules’ as in the regulations currently being written after the Act has been passed may be crucial.

    Here’s an extract from Bowen’s media release:

      As proposed in the original design, new entrants will need to meet international best practice to ensure emissions decline over time, and manufacturers in particular are not disadvantaged from additional carbon constraints caused by new entrants.

      – New gas fields supplying existing liquefied natural gas facilities will be treated as new facilities so that they are given international best practice baselines for the carbon dioxide in their new fields. For these fields’ reservoir CO2 emissions, best practice is zero given the existence of low-CO2 fields and opportunities for carbon capture and storage.

      – Beetaloo – In relation to the Beetaloo basin, all new gas entrants in the basin will be required to have net zero scope 1 emissions from entry, consistent with the then-Commonwealth Government’s April 2022 commitment to “work with the [Northern] Territory to support its implementation of recommendation 9.8 of the [Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry] using available technology and policies”.

    Albanese did refer to the IPCC report briefly in his press conference. Unfortunately no-one anywhere has reacted as Guterras would have wished. Here’s Bill McKibben:

      The brutal truth is that last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report didn’t have the effect it should have had, or that its authors clearly intended. Produced by thousands of scientists who synthesized the work of tens of thousands of their peers over the last decade, and meticulously drafted by teams of careful communicators, it landed in the world with a gentle plop, not the resounding thud that’s required.
  96. Published today (Mar 30) at John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations is a piece by David Spratt headlined IPCC: a gamble on earth system failure. IMO, it’s required reading for an understanding of how the IPCC produced their latest AR6 Synthesis Report.

    Meanwhile, the Australian Academy of Science tweeted a few hours ago (including a short video):

    BREAKING: A landmark paper, published in @Nature today, warns the deep ocean circulation that forms around Antarctica could be headed for collapse, having a profound impact on marine ecosystems, according to @ProfMattEngland FAA and Dr Adele Morrison.

  97. Deep ocstem headean syed for ‘collapse’ as Antarctic ice melts

    Australian scientists have made dire projections about what Antarctica’s melting ice will do to global ocean health without rapid emissions cuts this decade.
    Most people know fossil fuel use is warming the planet, melting polar ice caps and pushing up sea levels.
    But ice loss is also disrupting water circulation in the deepest parts of the ocean.
    Now, new modelling is pointing to a dramatic slowdown — and the possible collapse — of one such system that originates around Antarctica.
    That could have profound, centuries-long impacts on ocean health because the system delivers nutrients that underpin the marine food web, among other vital functions.

  98. ABC Rural published an article yesterday (and updated today) by Hamish Cole headlined Food security facing growing threats, farmers tell Australian parliamentary inquiry. It began with:

    Climate change and biosecurity concerns pose the greatest threat to Australia’s food security and is pushing up food prices, according to farming groups.

    A parliamentary inquiry into strengthening and safeguarding Australia’s food security finished in Canberra on Wednesday, hearing from dozens of organisations on issues facing food production, farming costs, supply chain distribution, and the threat of climate change.

  99. Thanks for the Spratt article Geoff. I was looking forward to see what he made of it. Kevin Anderson from Manchester University has been a long-time critic of the IPCC and not a fan of 1.5°C. You’ve probably seen his IPCC’s conservative nature masks true scale of action needed to avert catastrophic climate change . Inter alia he’s not keen on the models they use:

      If we step outside the rarefied realm of IAM scenarios that leading climate scientist Johan Rockström describes as “academic gymnastics that have nothing to do with reality”, it’s clear that not exceeding 1.5°C or 2°C will require fundamental changes to most facets of modern life.

    From there he steps into the issue of the inequity, the privilege and profligacy of the rich. Plus the need for more rapid action if we are to have any chance at all. See also Anderson with Dan Calverley How alive is 1.5? Part one – a small budget, shrinking fast.

    Anderson also mentions the concept of “sufficiency”. Spratt makes a link where this concept is explained, as well as how the IPCC models were chosen and the cultural colonialism that dominates the process. Interesting reading at “It’s a Very Western Vision of the World” where Yamina Saheb and Kai Kuhnhenn are interviewed by Juliane Schumacher.

  100. Future of Santos’s $4.7 billion Barossa project unclear after safeguard mechanism reforms

    One of the biggest hurdles facing Santos in its Barossa development — aside from some significant concerns about consultation with Indigenous traditional owners — is the issue presented by the make-up of Barossa’s gas.
    The gas in the Barossa field is some of the most carbon-intensive in the world — containing around 18 per cent carbon dioxide — meaning the project could end up producing more CO2 than LNG.
    It has been labelled a “carbon-dioxide emissions factory, with an LNG by-product” by a gas industry veteran and “an atrocious project” by mining magnate Andrew Forrest.

    Any chance of Labor blocking it?

  101. John, honestly, I don’t know. My hunch is that both Barossa and Beetaloo will go ahead.

    Santos and Woodside shares jumped about 3 to 5% when the Safeguard deal was announced. I think the gas companies would have been consulted (Albo said everyone had been). The institutional investors with shares in these companies would have been sweating on the outcome. If the shares go up it would be a sign that certainty now exists where it did not before, and that the costs are manageable.

    My impression was that the companies were going to do their own CCS without recourse to the Safeguard Mechanism. From the information in your link this seems a tall order.

    Bowen only mentioned Scope 1 emissions. The stuff about Scope 2 and 3 is new to me, but I haven’t read the Act.

    Have a look also at Japan’s Inpex says Australia risks unintended consequences as it ‘quietly quits’ LNG and Proponents of fracking in the Beetaloo Basin welcome the Greens’ safeguard mechanism amendments, say they create ‘certainty’.

    Barossa gas has already been sold to the Japanese, it seems, and they have a dim view of Australian governments interfering. A threat to the rules based order and world peace, no less!

  102. The Australian Parliament House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture has published the transcript of a public hearing held on 24 Mar 2023 re their Inquiry into Food Security in Australia.

    People that appeared included:
    • 09:01am Colin Bettles & Andrew Earle – Grain Producers Australia
    • 09:43am Admiral Chris Barrie & Cheryl Durrant – Australian Security Leaders Climate Group
    • 10:40am Professor Owen Atkin, Dr Nadeem Samnakay & Victoria Taylor – Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology
    • 11:23am Ron McCalman & John Madden – Murray Irrigation Ltd
    • 12:40pm Dr Fiona Davis – Farmers for Climate Action
    • 01:16pm Tanya Barden & Scott McGrath – Australian Food and Grocery Council

    On Mar 29, Nature published a paper by Matthew W Jones et. al. titled National contributions to climate change due to historical emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide since 1850.

  103. Geoff, Potsdam are obviously trying to help with the stocktake of emissions and effort meant to take place at COP at the end of this year. Their data source appears to be the Global Carbon Project, which we know to be wrong, because the graph does not have the same shape as Mauna Loa and Cape Grim. The GCP shows flattening and a dip for COVID not shown in the actual measured carbon in the air, which increases relentlessly.

    How much this matters, I don’t know, but I suggest that LULUCF and methane are particularly wobbly. Methane is known to be incomplete because of methane clathrates and tropical swamps. Also they still have methane measured at the 100-year effect.

    Finally, the whole enterprise is based on the notion that there is a budget of burnable carbon to limit warming to 1.5°C . I would have thought that anyone with mid-primary school mathematics and access to the back of an envelope could see that if you stopped burning carbon and thus the resultant aerosols disappear you are going to have 1.5°C . That’s apart from ocean heat released by El Niño , by the changes in ocean current, and tipping points known to be activated and contributing, if not finally tipped.

  104. I can’t follow Senator Gerrard Renwick, but I think he has everyone scratching their heads in amazement.

    Michael Pascoe thinks he’s an f***wit with this effort.. I think Renwick may be saying that without gravity the atmosphere and everything loose on the surface of the earth would float off into space.

    I can’t see the relevance, because without gravity there would be no earth.

    If you want to know what Renwick thinks about climate change try this speech.

    He’s from Queensland. How did he get selected and elected?

  105. Prof Michael E Mann provided a climate scientist’s response to Senator Renwick’s tweet in a twitter thread.

    Meanwhile, OPEC+ announced yesterday they intend further crude oil production cuts:

    Saudi Arabia: _ _ _ _ _ _ _-500 thousand barrels per day (kb/d);
    Iraq: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -211 kb/d;
    United Arab Emirates: _-144 kb/d;
    Kuwait: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -128 kb/d;
    Algeria: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -48 kb/d;
    Kazakhstan: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _-78 kb/d;
    Oman: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _-40 kb/d;
    TOTAL: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -1149 kb/d

    The pledges bring the total volume of cuts by OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with Russia and other allies, to 3.66 million bpd according to Reuters calculations, equal to 3.7% of global demand.


    Here’s a thought: What if the latest announced OPEC+ oil production quota cuts are happening because OPEC+ cannot meet/sustain the current ones?

  106. Geoff, your thought had occurred to me. Battery technology is going through dynamic change, I suspect that within a few years we will be getting EVs cheaper in the showroom than the internal combustion equivalent. Batteries for EVs with a range of 700-1000 KM are being written about.

    Meanwhile, here are a couple of articles of importance to climate policy.

    Alan Kohler: Why Australia’s emissions reduction target is not enough

    “Swimming between the flags” on Climate policy threatens our future

  107. Geoff, something happened to your link to Michael E Mann, so I Googled and got this. A bit of advice from the Prof:

      Everything *else* you’ve said is gibberish, a stringing together of scientific terms reminiscent of monkeys typing on a typewriter. You have shown you have no understanding at all of the science. Quit while you’re ahead. In fact, quick politics, for the good of your country!
  108. ABC Radio National broadcast earlier today an interview by Patricia Karvelas with Retired Admiral Chris Barrie, executive member of the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group, duration 0:09:24.

    Last year the Albanese Government ordered the Office of National Intelligence to conduct a Climate Security Risk Assessment, and now there are calls for a declassified version of that report to be released.


  109. Thanks Geoff for the Michael Mann links. My search only landed on the second one.

    On oil, the AFR have had a series of articles, mostly derived from Bloomberg.

    One of their authors, David Fickling, wrote in September last year that 12 forecasts for peak oil had it topping at about 103.2 million barrels of liquid fuels a day, which is not much above where the IEA was predicting it would be by year’s end.

    He was calling a global recession, so demand would peak. By the time the recession was over oil would be in terminal decline.

    He said he was nervous about making any prediction at all, because they are mostly wrong, but was pointing out that:

      Crude itself accounts for only about 80 million daily barrels of total liquids demand, with most of the remainder coming from products derived from gas, plant matter and coal.

    He said that petrol/diesel had already peaked because of EV and internal combustion engines are far more efficient than they used to be.

    Now in March the IEA reported that demand was around 101.3 and forecast a rise of 2.2 million by the December quarter to reach 103.5 million barrels a day, and well ahead of supply, which would remain flat at current levels.

    The move to cut supply seemed to be based on price Many supply countries would like to see it at around $US90 per barrel. Russia was at the meeting, and would like to see the price bust through a cap of $US80 per barrel, basically to disrupt the economies that were supporting Ukraine.

    The Saudis are spending much of their oil earnings on green energy and diversifying their economy:

      In Saudi Arabia, the biggest player, the money very clearly isn’t mainly going into building additional production capacity. During annual results last month, Saudi Arabian Oil Co chief executive Amin Nasser was unyielding in rebutting analysts’ suggestions that the company should be using its $US159 billion ($238.5 billion) in net income to upgrade its spending plans.

      Capital expenditure will instead level off around the middle of this decade, with only half of the total dedicated to boosting output and no plans to build capacity beyond 13 million barrels a day. That represents a modest increase from current levels, especially when inflation is taken into account.

      What we’ve seen instead is a flurry of investments in everything except new crude output: $US7 billion for a refinery in China announced last week; $US8.5 billion in contracts signed in February to build a green hydrogen plant near the Neom planned city close to the Jordanian border; 33 billion riyals ($13.2 billion) for new tourist facilities on the Red Sea and $US50 billion for another development on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh.

    The punting now seems to be that the move to cut supply might advance the price by $US3 to $US10, but probably advances the decline of oil. I notices tonight the price was around $US75, so will be taking an interest on the nightly news.

  110. Thanks Brian,
    I recommend keeping an eye on Art Berman’s twitter feed from time to time, particularly for his usually informative graphs.

    For example, this tweet earlier today (including graph):

    World oil supply and demand trend-line has departed from 1983-2018 trajectory
    2H 2023 supply-sdemand deficits do not appear large especially compared to 2021

    Brian: – “He said that petrol/diesel had already peaked because of EV and internal combustion engines are far more efficient than they used to be.

    Global diesel/gasoil production peaked in 2018. I suspect EVs weren’t the reason for declining global diesel/gasoil production post 2018. Some indicators I see suggest it’s the increasing scarcity of the heavier crude oil grades, with longer-chain hydrocarbon molecules, that are suitable for refining into diesel/gasoil products. It seems crude oil production isn’t what it used to be.

    Matt posted a tweet including an interesting graph on Apr 4 of OPEC crude oil production, from 2018 to Feb 2023, together with a projection out to Jun 2023. It looks like a declining trend to me. Is the OPEC+ production quota decline due to resource depletion, or is it just market price manipulation?

    Latest crude oil prices:
    WTI: US$80.46
    Brent: US$84.88

  111. Thanks Geoff. I didn’t have time to do a full research job, or look again at your slides.

    Here’s Berman’s current graph:

    And for context here’s the one he posted on 18 January:

  112. Brian, they are Matt’s graphs @crudeoilpeak (note the logo in the bottom right corner), NOT Berman’s.

  113. Thanks Brian,

    I see you’ve changed the second graph since you first posted your comment, and while I was composing my response (at APRIL 6, 2023 AT 11:42 PM). As I see you comment now, the first graph is Matt’s; the second graph is Berman’s.

    Meanwhile, yesterday (Apr 6), the Actuaries Institute’s COVID-19 Mortality Working Group published their latest analysis of excess deaths in Australia:

    In summary:

    – Total excess mortality for the full year 2022 is 12% (+20,200 deaths) i.e. there were over 20,000 more deaths in 2022 than would have been expected if the pandemic had not happened. This is slightly more than we had projected based on data to November.

    – Just over half of the expected excess mortality for 2022 is due to deaths from COVID-19 (+10,300 deaths), with another +2,900 COVID-19 related deaths, and the remaining excess of +7,000 had no mention of COVID-19 on the death certificate.

    – While most of the excess deaths are in older age groups (i.e. 65+ years), excess mortality was at least 5% in all age groups in 2022, with the excess for females higher than for males.

    – Most states and territories have had broadly similar levels of excess mortality in 2022, but the delayed re-opening of WA’s borders is reflected in a delayed uplift in mortality.

    – COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death in 2022, behind ischaemic heart disease and dementia.

    – The much higher than predicted number of deaths from ischaemic heart disease has meant that it has retained its position as the leading cause of death, despite continued growth in the number of deaths from dementia.

    Sooner or later SARS-CoV-2 variants will evolve that will likely bust through so-called ‘hybrid immunity’. And then there’s the inconvenient 10+% risk of acquiring debilitating ‘long-COVID’ for EACH episode of infection, whether vaccinated or not. The more reinfections, the higher the probability of getting ‘long-COVID’ (or shortening your life).

    IMO, if we allow it, COVID-19 will significantly erode human life expectancy.

    And it seems to me governments have given-up on encouraging & implementing the extensive range of proven measures that minimise transmission.

  114. Geoff, on the graphs, in my first effort in posting I actually posted the same graph twice. I’ve just verified this in the back end works of the blog.

    I’m always up late, and hoped you had gone to bed!

    The mis-attribution was just careless. Plus I’ve always had a shocking memory for names which isn’t getting better. Anyway here’s the third graph you linked to:

    The AFR had an article about Biden’s options. In short, there is not much he can do, but he is encouraging more domestic production, including new exploration and development in spite of concern for the planet.

  115. On COVID, this media release from the Burnet Institute is quite telling.

    Life expectancy has worldwide has been affected, and by three years in the USA. It has to make a difference here also.

    So far my wife and I have escaped unlike just about everyone we know. However, our lives have been impacted and restricted, avoid crowds and wear masks etc.

  116. Brian: So far H and I have been covid free. Being careful, immunization and wearing masks. Most of my recreation is in places with few people.

  117. This is not good news for Easter:

    Melting Antarctic ice predicted to cause rapid slowdown of deep ocean current by 2050

      Melting ice around Antarctica will cause a rapid slowdown of a major global deep ocean current by 2050 that could alter the world’s climate for centuries and accelerate sea level rise, according to scientists behind new research.

      The research suggests if greenhouse gas emissions continue at today’s levels, the current in the deepest parts of the ocean could slow down by 40% in only three decades.

      This, the scientists said, could generate a cascade of impacts that could push up sea levels, alter weather patterns and starve marine life of a vital source of nutrients.


      Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, an oceanographer and head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said the new study – with which he was not involved – showed “a dramatic further weakening is likely around Antarctica in the coming decades”.

      He said models presented in major UN climate reports had a “longstanding and major shortcoming” because they didn’t capture how meltwater influenced the deep ocean.

      The ocean depths were refreshed in only a few places on the planet close to major ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

      “Unfortunately, these locations are all close to the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, which are melting away as a result of fossil-fuel-caused global warming.

      “The meltwater dilutes the salt content of these ocean regions, thereby making the ocean waters less dense and thus not heavy enough to sink down and push away the waters already there.”

      A slowdown in the deep ocean current could also affect the amount of CO2 that the deep oceans could lock away, Rahmstorf said.

    This warrants a special meeting of the UN Security Council, if not the General Assembly and our PM should be calling the premiers together to meet with his cabinet – or something!

  118. The daily sea surface temperatures look like they are currently on a trajectory “headed off the charts, smashing previous records,” according to Prof Matthew England, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales.

    The world (60° S – 60° N latitude) daily sea surface temperature reached an all-time peak on the instrumental record so far of +21.1 °C on Apr 1 through to Apr 6. The data is driven mostly by satellite observations but also verified with measurements from ships and buoys.

  119. For our sins, my beloved and I have spent Easter wrangling with our tax submission for last financial year. Our tax accountant doesn’t charge like wounded bull, but against that he doesn’t do ours until he’s finished all the important customers.

    So we have to populate a couple of dozen of spreadsheets.

    My main comment is that electronic communication with full security measures has made life much more difficult than it was back in the days of paper.

    I had hoped to do my third post of the year but it was not to be. We haven’t actually finished the tax yet!

    Meanwhile the bad news on climate continues, eg:

    What happens when we run out of water? Thanks to climate change, a dystopian premise is coming true

    For example Michael Manne and company found:

      The Tibetan Plateau, known as the “water tower” of Asia, supplies freshwater for nearly 2 billion people who live downstream. New research led by scientists at Penn State, Tsinghua University and the University of Texas at Austin projects that climate change, under a scenario of weak climate policy, will cause irreversible declines in freshwater storage in the region, constituting a serious threat to the water supply for central Asia, Afghanistan, Northern India, Kashmir and Pakistan by the middle of the century.

      “The prognosis is not good,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State. “In a ‘business as usual’ scenario, where we fail to meaningfully curtail fossil fuel burning in the decades ahead, we can expect a substantial — that is, nearly 100% loss — of water availability to downstream regions of the Tibetan Plateau. I was surprised at just how large the predicted decrease is even under a scenario of modest climate policy.” (Emphasis added)


    Permafrost Becoming a Carbon Source Instead of a Sink:

      Winter carbon emissions from Arctic regions appear to be adding more carbon to Earth’s atmosphere each year than is being taken up by Arctic plants and trees. It is a stark reversal for a region that has captured and stored carbon for tens of thousands of years.

      In a study published in Nature Climate Change, scientists estimated that 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon were lost from Arctic permafrost regions during each winter from 2003 to 2017. Over the same span, an average of 1 billion metric tons of carbon were taken up by vegetation during summer growing seasons. This changes the region from being a net “sink” of carbon dioxide—where it is captured from the atmosphere and stored—into being a net source of emissions.

    Please note:

      Carbon emitted from permafrost has not been included in most models of future climates.
  120. I tried another post last night but was thwarted.

    Andrew Macintosh thinks the Safeguard Mechanism is anything but straightforward, and is inclined to the view that won’t slow the gas and coal miners in any appreciable way. See Why the Safeguard Mechanism deal might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

    I read a share market analysis from one of the major players I’m obliged not to quote. From memory 32 listed companies would be affected (not just miners).

    It seemed that no-one would be inconvenienced in a way that affected profits.

    I’ve been following Santos and Woodside somewhat. They did not seem to miss a beat.

    My impression is that miners already had plans in place to cope with Scope 1 emissions without recourse to buying offsets, which surely means their own carbon capture and storage.

    I don’t understand how that could be possible.

  121. Published on 5 Apr 2023 in Nature was an article by Christine Batchelor et. al. titled Rapid, buoyancy-driven ice-sheet retreat of hundreds of metres per day. The Abstract included:

    Here we use bathymetric data to map more than 7,600 corrugation ridges across 30,000 km2 of the mid-Norwegian shelf. The spacing of the ridges shows that pulses of rapid grounding-line retreat, at rates ranging from 55 to 610 m day−1, occurred across low-gradient (±1°) ice-sheet beds during the last deglaciation. These values far exceed all previously reported rates of grounding-line retreat across the satellite3,4,6,7 and marine-geological1,2 records. The highest retreat rates were measured across the flattest areas of the former bed, suggesting that near-instantaneous ice-sheet ungrounding and retreat can occur where the grounding line approaches full buoyancy. Hydrostatic principles show that pulses of similarly rapid grounding-line retreat could occur across low-gradient Antarctic ice-sheet beds even under present-day climatic forcing. Ultimately, our results highlight the often-overlooked vulnerability of flat-bedded areas of ice sheets to pulses of extremely rapid, buoyancy-driven retreat.

    And there’s some commentary on the Nature paper in the post headlined ‘Scary’ new data on the last ice age raises concerns about future sea levels. It began with:

    At the end of the last ice age, parts of an enormous ice sheet covering Eurasia retreated up to a startling 609 metres per day – more than the length of the Empire State Building, according to a newly-released study.

    The rate is easily the fastest measured to date, upending what scientists previously thought were the upper speed limits for ice sheet retreat – a finding that may shed light on how quickly ice in Greenland and Antarctica could melt and raise global sea levels in today’s warming world.

  122. On Apr 12, Climate Code Red blog published David Spratt’s latest piece headlined The case for climate cooling, and some eye-watering charts. It refers to an online talk David did recently organised by Mirrors for Earth’s Energy Rebalancing (MEER), and included some slides not in the original paper, the recent Breakthrough paper Faster, higher hotter on some takeaways from climate research in 2022.

    Published on YouTube on Apr 11 by Nick Breeze ClimateGenn was a video titled Reclaiming The Climate Emergency | David Spratt., duration 0:22:27. A segment from an interview with Professor James Hansen has been inserted in the interview with David Spratt, to better highlight how perilous the lack of action over the last decade has really been.

  123. Thanks for those two comments, Geoff. I’ve followed David Spratt since 2007, and I think he is first rate at telling us what is going on.

    On rapid sea level rise, James Hansen has been foremost in saying that it is a possibility we should think about in terms of risk. In November Temperature Update and the Big Climate Short, 23 December 2021 he said that a 2°C temperature rise was now baked in so:

      warming that reaches and exceeds the level of the Eemian also poses more demands on the science, which we have only hinted at. Even the present global temperature is too high for keeping global shorelines close to their present locations. For that purpose, it will be necessary to return to global temperature no higher than the mid-20th century and probably a bit cooler. This will incidentally address most of the other problems for humanity that are caused by an overheated planet.

      The one climate impact that almost everyone may agree is unacceptable is rapid sea level rise of several meters because it could mean loss of most coastal cities and is irreversible on any time scale that people care about. There is strong evidence that such an event occurred during the Eemian period. A brief time of rapid coral reef “backstepping” then – movement of reef- building toward the shoreline – indicates sea level rise of a few meters within several decades. Other geologic evidence is consistent with that rapid sea level rise. (Emphasis added)

    In the same piece he points out that the IPCC places too much emphasis on climate models, which are especially inadequate when dealing with ice sheet decay, and not enough on paleoclimate science.

  124. Thanks Brian,
    I’d suggest it’s worth a look at the 2016 Hansen et. al. paper titled Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous. The Abstract included:

    We use numerical climate simulations, paleoclimate data, and modern observations to study the effect of growing ice melt from Antarctica and Greenland. Meltwater tends to stabilize the ocean column, inducing amplifying feedbacks that increase subsurface ocean warming and ice shelf melting. Cold meltwater and induced dynamical effects cause ocean surface cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic, thus increasing Earth’s energy imbalance and heat flux into most of the global ocean’s surface. Southern Ocean surface cooling, while lower latitudes are warming, increases precipitation on the Southern Ocean, increasing ocean stratification, slowing deepwater formation, and increasing ice sheet mass loss. These feedbacks make ice sheets in contact with the ocean vulnerable to accelerating disintegration. We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield multi-meter sea level rise in about 50, 100 or 200 years. Recent ice melt doubling times are near the lower end of the 10–40-year range, but the record is too short to confirm the nature of the response.


    Section 5.1: Ice sheet mass loss and sea level rise, begins with:

    The fundamental question we raise is whether ice sheet melt in response to rapid global warming will be nonlinear and better characterized by a doubling time for its rate of change or whether more linear processes dominate. Hansen (2005, 2007) argued on heuristic grounds that ice sheet disintegration is likely to be nonlinear if climate forcings continue to grow, and that sea level rise of several meters is possible on a timescale of the order of a century. Given current ice sheet melt rates, a 20-year doubling rate produces multi-meter sea level rise in a century, while 10- and 40-year doubling times require about 50 and 200 years, respectively.

  125. Geoff, I was familiar with the Hansen 2016 ‘ice melt’ paper. I say “was” because I don’t carry it around in detail in my head.

    That paper is where I’d start if I was revising my 2015 post Scoping long-term sea level rise which, I think, still gives the broad idea of the situation.

    Back then scientists were quite sloppy in referring to the Eemian as 1-2°C warmer than ‘now’, ie warmer than + 0.7°C . Now they are saying we are pretty much where the Eemian was.

    I notice he had Karina von Schuckmann on board. I think it was from her that he found out about the possible ‘several metres in a matter of months’ surge towards the end of the Eemian, although it wasn’t her research. She was quoting a paper from about 2009, from memory.

    In this image from the earlier post, which I also got from Hansen, I would think that with current emissions we could reckon with the blue bits going under eventually:

    75 metres Irf 600

  126. Antarctic ice is shrinking with the potential to cause worldwide problems.

    The rhythmic expansion and contraction of Antarctic sea ice is like a heartbeat.
    But lately, there’s been a skip in the beat. During each of the last two summers, the ice around Antarctica has retreated farther than ever before.
    And just as a change in our heartbeat affects our whole body, a change to sea ice around Antarctica affects the whole world.
    Today, researchers at the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP) and the Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS) have joined forces to release a science briefing for policy makers, On Thin Ice.

  127. Thanks, John, this is upsetting:

      Krill, the small crustaceans that provide food to whales, seals, and penguins, need sea ice. Many larger species such as penguins and seals rely on sea ice to breed. The impact of changes to the sea ice on these larger animals varies dramatically between species, but they are all intimately tied to the rhythm of ice formation and melt. Changes to the sea-ice heartbeat will disrupt the finely balanced ecosystems of the Southern Ocean.

    I can’t see why should be settling for aiming at 1.5°C . Our ambition should be to return to Holocene-like temperatures.

    If anyone reading this has not yet seen the current edition of The Saturday Paper, there is a long-read article by Jo Chandler:

    Climate change as an existential threat is already happening in our region.

  128. If you followed the link, it was of course The Monthly, not The Saturday Paper.

    Jo Chandler has a way of getting scientists to say what they normally don’t say in public. Take this, for example:

      I’m also mindful of concerns from eminent marine scientists that coral restoration is a kind of bluewashing, a distraction from the catastrophe playing out across global reefs from the dual shocks of cascading bleaching and ocean acidification, once characterised to me as “having two rhinos run at you from different directions”. As Professor Terry Hughes, coral expert and indefatigable defender of the Great Barrier Reef, has tweeted: “Planting corals on every reef would cost many billions of dollars. It’s like regrowing the Amazon with pot plants.”

    She checks this out with Professor Baruch Rinkevich, an Israeli oceanographer, coral restoration specialist and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author on oceans.

      He compares the future of reefs to the cultivation of manmade forests – no, such measures won’t replace natural reefs any more than pot plants, or even a plantation, might replace the Amazon. But they could sustain functional reef communities “until some better solutions might come along”. These are “the reefs of tomorrow”, he says, “not the reefs of today or yesterday. I accept the notion that many coral species and other fish and invertebrate will disappear, but at least those that can stand climate change will be there.”
  129. We had a briefing on the IPCC Report the other day (night) from Warren Howden. Here’s the slides he used, followed by the slide deck from the report.

    I think the come courtesy of the ANU computer. They are in a format that makes them really legible.

    Howden says the IPCC does not tell governments what they can do. Problem is, all they can offer is a narrow pathway (if we act in a way that we clearly won’t) to a 50% chance of sitting on a slippery slope exposed to even more dangerous climate than we have now.

  130. Published on 19 Apr 2023 at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, was a piece by David Spratt headlined Faster than forecast, climate impacts trigger tipping points in the Earth system. It begins with:

    “Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? At present, this is a dangerously underexplored topic … yet there are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe,” wrote the eminent Australian climate scientist Will Steffen and his colleagues in August 2002 in “Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios.”

    Matthew Todd tweeted a short video on Apr 19 of comments from climate scientists:
    • Professor Tim Lenton
    • Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
    • Dr Peter Kalmus
    • Professor Julia Steinberger
    • Professor Kevin Anderson
    • The late Professor Will Steffen
    • Professor Saleemul Huq OBE

  131. World’s largest battery maker announces major breakthrough in energy density
    CATL’s new condensed battery will have almost double the energy intensity of Tesla’s 4680 cells, whose rating of 272-296 Wh/kg are considered very high by current standards.
    CATL chief scientist Wu Kai says the condensed battery integrates a range of innovative technologies, including the ultra-high energy density cathode materials, innovative anode materials, separators, and manufacturing processes, offering excellent charge and discharge performance as well as good safety performance.
    Would help even more if we could be weaned off the urban tank on to things like narrow track cars.

  132. John, ground-breaking battery technologies have been announced almost on a daily basis, so the questions were when will the batteries be produced, will they be cheap enough, will they be safe, and what segment of the market will they aim at?

    Seems they tick all the boxes, will be available this year and are aimed at transport, including planes.

    Here are some links:

    CATL unveils Condensed Battery for Aircraft & 1000 mile range EV’s

    CATL & BYD’s sodium lithium batteries to be in these models this year

    World’s largest battery maker announces major breakthrough in energy density

    China’s CATL unveils condensed matter battery to power civil aircraft

    I’m not sure what the technology is, but it may be the sodium-lithium hybrid the Electric Viking guy was talking about in the second link.

  133. Geoff, thanks for those links.

    Peter Carter is quite grumpy and with good reason in Combined climate change indicators and in IPCC IMMEDIATE Emissions Decline- for a Future.

    Kevin Anderson has done the numbers in A Velvet or Violent Climate Revolution: Which will we choose?

    Realistically, there is not much left to choose – about one in six for 1.5°C, if we start immediately and reduce emissions by 11%pa. Which, realistically we can’t and won’t, so that will mean 30% pa after 2030.

    Will Steffen said in 2020, from memory, that 1.5°C was gone, but there was some chance of 2°C, which would be exceedingly dangerous and well into tipping point land.

  134. ICYMI/FYI:

    The German cabinet last Wednesday approved a bill that bans the installation of most new oil and gas heating systems in Germany from 1 Jan 2024.

    • New heating systems must run on 65% renewable energy from 1 Jan 2024, law says.
    • The German government is offering a subsidy of 30% for residential properties occupied by owners + 10% extra bonus if the owners opt for an earlier climate-friendly heating switch than required by law, regardless of the household income.
    • Homeowners who receive income-related welfare benefits could get 20% extra subsidy for the switch.
    • There are some exemptions, for instance for homeowners who are over 80 years old and living in hardship.

    This initiative is still to be debated and approved (with possible amendments) by parliament.

    Published on 22 Apr 2023 at YouTube is a video by Professor Jason Box titled Tropical heat and moisture to Greenland and the European State of the Climate – economic impacts, duration 0:14:59. It provides some highlights from the recently released report titled European State of the Climate: Summary 2022 by the EU Copernicus Programme.
    Posted on 20 Apr 2023 by Zack Labe was a tweet including a visualisation of temperature anomalies by 8 latitude bands (zonal means) from 1880 through to 2022. Sourced from NASA using GISS analysis.

  135. Brian: Sodium metal would cost a lot less than lithium metal. And cause less damage to the environment than lithium mining.

  136. Hi all
    Reading the recent post on CATL claims I was pretty impressed– if those claims were true. Then came this article:
    which seems to trump the CATL announcement.

    Either one looks worthy, a great improvement on Tesla’s battery.
    I did not notice the charging time for the new batteries, and that’s a pretty big factor when choosing an electric vehicle or ‘plane.
    Musk and Panasonic have invested heavily in lithium technology, but it would not surprise me if the visionary part of Musk has money in these newer developments.

  137. John, I harvested about 6 links on new battery stuff yesterday, Dentist yesterday, hence work today.

    Geoff, there is a new, very readable WMO State of the Global Climate 2022 out, which is scary.

    If you start here, you can get a link to the PDF.

    The WMO has a video, which I haven’t watched, but I think some of the footage may be in this scary YouTube Climate crisis: TOO LATE already? | Alarming UN report on climate change | Latest News | WION.

    It’s not a UN report, but I understand you can access it through UNFCCC.

  138. Another scary report:

    ‘Headed off the charts’: world’s ocean surface temperature hits record high:

      Over the past 15 years, the Earth has accumulated almost as much heat as it did in the previous 45 years, with most of the extra energy going into the oceans.

      This is having real world consequences – not only did the overall temperature of the oceans hit a new record in April this year, in some regions the difference from the long term was enormous.

      In March, sea surface temperatures off the east coast of North America were as much as 13.8C higher than the 1981-2011 average.

      “It’s not yet well established, why such a rapid change, and such a huge change is happening,” said Karina Von Schuckmann, the lead author of the new study and an oceanographer at the research group Mercator Ocean International.

      “We have doubled the heat in the climate system the last 15 years, I don’t want to say this is climate change, or natural variability or a mixture of both, we don’t know yet. But we do see this change.”

    Part of the reason seems to be that the shipping industry has cleaned up its act somewhat, so there is less aerosol production from that source, meaning more solar radiation gets through.

    I recall James Hansen saying last year the he thought less heat was going into the deep ocean than climate modellers thought, which is one reason he thought temperature increases could accelerate in the next few decades.

    Scientists are surprised and some extremely worried:

      Several scientists contacted for this story were reluctant to go on the record about the implications.

      One spoke of being “extremely worried and completely stressed.”

    Here’s the study:

    Heat stored in the Earth system 1960–2020: where does the energy go?

  139. First, my apologies for allowing this thread to be closed. I thought I had a few more days to do a new post, but the software was set to run for 90 days. I’ve just changed that to 120 days, so we have another 4 weeks here.

    Geoff H, in response to your comment, there was a similar article about the lithium-air battery at RenewEconomy Scientists hail new battery with 4 times energy density of lithium-ion.

    Better still is the Argonne Lab’s press release – New design for lithium-air battery could offer much longer driving range compared with the lithium-ion battery.

    I’m almost 100% sure that this is still at the lab experiment stage, not yet at the prototype stage. I think then they would have to deal with a battery maker who was positioned to make and sell to an EV car manufacturer. Much would depend on whether the new battery requires new plant.

    Could be years. This I think indicated where they are at:

      The team’s lithium-air design is the first lithium-air battery that has achieved a four-electron reaction at room temperature. It also operates with oxygen supplied by air from the surrounding environment. The capability to run with air avoids the need for oxygen tanks to operate, a problem with earlier designs.

      The team employed many different techniques to establish that a four-electron reaction was actually taking place. One key technique was transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of the discharge products on the cathode surface, which was carried out at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials, a DOE Office of Science user facility. The TEM images provided valuable insight into the four-electron discharge mechanism.

      Past lithium-air test cells suffered from very short cycle lives. The team established that this shortcoming is not the case for their new battery design by building and operating a test cell for 1000 cycles, demonstrating its stability over repeated charge and discharge.

      “With further development, we expect our new design for the lithium-air battery to also reach a record energy density of 1200 watt-hours per kilogram,” said Curtiss. ​“That is nearly four times better than lithium-ion batteries.”

    Which is very promising.

    Then there is this:

    1,000% Difference: Major Storage Capacity in Water-Based Batteries Found

  140. Daily average atmospheric CO₂ concentrations recently recorded at the University of Hawaii observatory at Maunakea Observatories (approximately 21 miles north of the Mauna Loa Observatory):
    April 28: 425.01 ppm
    April 27: 424.58 ppm
    April 26: 424.34 ppm
    April 25: 424.78 ppm
    April 24: 423.96 ppm

    Due to the eruption of the Mauna Loa Volcano, measurements from Mauna Loa Observatory were suspended as of Nov 29.

    Prof Eliot Jacobson tweeted on Apr 28:

    The global (60°S-60°N) sea surface temperature (SST) for April 26 just came in at 20.98°C. The last time the SST was below 21°C was on March 22 (20.99°C). That’s 34 days at or above 21°C.

    Before this year, SSTs were never measured at or above 21°C.

    The latest Australian BoM model (NINO34, run on 22 Apr 2023) was recently published, predicting a super El Niño by August 2023.

    It seems to me the ‘predictions’ by James Hansen and colleagues at the Columbia University’s Earth Institute, presented in their communication August Temperature Update, a “Thank You” & Biden’s Report Card on 22 Sep 2022, is looking increasingly on the money:

    The next year, 2023, will be warmer because of the present strong planetary energy imbalance, which is driven by the factors noted above – mainly increasing greenhouse gases. Perhaps an El Nino will begin in the second half of the year, but the El Nino effect on global temperature lags by 3-4 months. So, the 2023 temperature should be higher than in 2022, rivaling the warmest years.

    Finally, we suggest that 2024 is likely to be off the chart as the warmest year on record. Without inside information, that would be a dangerous prediction, but we proffer it because it is unlikely that the current La Nina will continue a fourth year. Even a little futz of an El Nino – like the tropical warming in 2018-19, which barely qualified as an El Nino – should be sufficient for record global temperature. A classical, strong El Nino in 2023-24 could push global temperature to about +1.5°C relative to the 1880-1920 mean, which is our estimate of preindustrial temperature.

  141. Thanks, Geoff M. I heard on the radio about the shift to collect atmospheric measurements at the Maunakea Observatories on the other volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    Seems they will get a big upgrade at Mauna Loa. WMO says there is plenty of CO2 measuring around the world, but the news is all the same, ie. a relentless upward trend.

    Today I saw an article about carbon loss from drying rainforests, but the effects from wetter or drier rainforests were the opposite of what they thought. There is a lot we still don’t know.

    However, I agree, Hansen was on the money. We ignore him at our peril.

    He’s been rather quiet this year, so I hope all is well.

  142. Brian: – “He’s been rather quiet this year, so I hope all is well.

    Hansen & colleagues may be working on a second paper, & Hansen may be working on completing a book, per their communication Global Warming in the Pipeline, dated 13 Dec 2022:

    One merit of arXiv is that it permits discussion with the scientific community (in addition to official reviewers) analogous to but less formal than the procedure used by journals with a “Discussion” publication phase. Thus, we invite criticism of the submitted paper. We do not invite media discussion; we will write a summary appropriate for the public at the time a final version of the paper is published. This approach allows time to work on a second paper. Also, now that it’s clear what President Biden is willing to do (and not do) about climate change, it’s time for JEH to finally finish Sophie’s Planet.

  143. Geoff M, I’d seen that and forgotten it. At my age stuff doesn’t stick as well as it used to, but that could explain what he’s up to.

    He’s told us more than enough of what we really need to know.

    Know, not scientifically proven beyond all doubt, but what we need for proper risk planning.

    John, we are very different from the neanderthals who were rather heavy-footed but needed to keep moving so as not over-exploit any given spot. They were not suited for living in groups as large as homo sapiens. It’s surprising they lasted as long as they did. They had bigger brains than us, which may have helped, although brain size does not equate strictly with intelligence.

    Infertility obviously does not pass on, so not to worry on that score.

    Missing from that piece is the role of ‘the pill’. The French did research showing that without the pill males and females tended to be attracted through feremones, body odour and such if there immune systems were different. With the pill, the effect was reversed, like attracted like.

    Not good.

  144. John D – about population decline.
    The graph showing a sample of fertility rates left out Japan which has had a declining value (now 1.34) since the sixties at least.
    Yet the UN is predicting 10 billion people by 2050, then a declining fertility rate of around 2.1. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/population
    For another UN publication “World Population Prospects 2022”, see ‘Key Messages’ page i. “The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.4 billion in 2100”.
    Whilst the discussion is varied, even comical (see The Conversation), there seems to be a general acceptance that the world population will grow to a level of around 10.4 billion by 2100. What is the carrying capacity of the earth? One estimate is 3 billion, others much higher. But if I look at the pressures on earth today, particularly freshwater availability and unrelenting upward trending of climate warming statistics, I’m more comfortable at 3 billion. The prospect of a declining fertility rate bringing the “end of the world” would be a bit unlikely, and seems to take little account of the world itself as an entity. Perhaps some would agree that the earth would be better off without humans.
    Where ever it goes, mathematical biologist Joel Cohen explains:
    ” How Many People Can the Earth Support?, Mathematical biologist Joel Cohen classifies current solutions into three paradigms: those looking for a “bigger pie” (improving technology), those advocating for “fewer forks” (slowing population growth), and those looking to rationalize and improve decision-making though “better manners” (changing global culture). Cohen argues that standing along each paradigm is necessary in solving our environmental crisis, but not sufficient. Change must come from a combination of all three”. https://worldpopulationhistory.org/carrying-capacity/
    Cohen also adds:
    “The real issue with population is not just numbers of people, although numbers matter… The real crux of the population question is the quality of people’s lives: the ability of people to participate in what if means to be really human; to work, play, and die with dignity; to have some sense that one’s own life has meaning and is connected with other people’s lives,

  145. John it was a bit facile for me to make the point that infertility does not pass on. I think we need to get to the bottom of what is really going on. I wonder about the total pollution of the environment. Julian Cribb reckons the latest count, which is bound to be incomplete puts the number of chemicals released in our environment without testing their effects is around 350,000.

    Will Steffen called them ‘novel entities’ and saw it as one of our biggest problems.

  146. Geoff H, that is a seriously good comment at 2:49 pm .

    Much will depend on how hot the world becomes, and the consequent effect on plant growth, plus sea level rise and the possible inundation of fertile deltas and flood plains. Plus the effects on ocean life.

    Back in 2019 when I attended the national LEAN conference, one participant who had done a course in paleobiology said that the norm is when a species reaches plague proportions the result is a population crash of 95%. Cribb also says we should vacate around half the land surface area to give other species a chance.

    He also points out that there have been in all 21 species of humans, 20 now extinct. He says that we need a new name. For a species so devoted to its own destruction we can’t be considered intelligent or wise.

    My guestimate is that 3 million is the maximum we should aim for, but I don’t have any doable suggestions. Cribb has heaps, but I doubt they will work.

  147. Geoff Henderson (at MAY 1, 2023 AT 2:49 PM): – “Whilst the discussion is varied, even comical (see The Conversation), there seems to be a general acceptance that the world population will grow to a level of around 10.4 billion by 2100.

    Where’s the food coming from to feed 10.4 billion people by 2100?

    Increasing risks to global food security I see include:

    1) Worsening Climate reducing global food production yields
    1.1) Rising temperature
    Breaching the Earth System +1.5 °C global mean surface temperature threshold (relative to the 1880-1920 mean, per GISS analysis) is INEVITABLE, and highly likely before 2035. A first incursion of +1.5 °C is looking increasingly likely next year (2024) – see my comment above at APRIL 30, 2023 AT 12:36 PM.

    On our current GHG emissions trajectory, the +2 °C global mean surface temperature threshold is likely to be breached sometime in the 2040s.

    1.2) More intense floods, droughts & storms
    More crop damage means lower crop yields and livestock production.

    1.3) Sea level rise (SLR)
    SLR is likely to inundate low-lying food growing regions, like the Mekong River Delta and Bangladesh.

    The rate of SLR has tripled over roughly the last 30 years, from around 1.5 mm/year to about 5mm/year now. Melt rates of land-based ice sheets in Greenland and parts of Antarctica are being observed accelerating, meaning SLR is likely on an exponential trajectory, with a doubling rate perhaps somewhere between 10 & 20 years. That means likely multi-metre SLR by 2100. Harbours & coastlines will change dramatically, affecting humanity’s substantial infrastructure.

    2) Diminishing critical resource inputs for food production
    2.1) Declining energy content per volume of liquid fuels
    • The quality of oil is declining, meaning there’s less net energy available per volume of global liquid fuels produced.
    • Global gasoil/diesel fuel production peaked at around 26 Mb/d in 2015-2018, then declined to below 23 Mb/d by mid-2021. Gasoil/diesel is the workhorse of the global economy.
    • OPEC oil production appears to be perhaps at the beginnings of a sustained decline.
    • Oil production in Asia is in decline, which means more crude oil imports from elsewhere – but from where? Most oil producing countries are now passed peak production.

    2.2) Phosphorus supply
    i. Phosphorus equals food;
    ii. Growing food demand, growing phosphorus demand;
    iii. Finite phosphate: we’ve used up the good stuff;
    iv. Geopolitical risks: an issue of national security? All farmers
    need phosphorus, yet just 5 countries control 88% of the worlds remaining phosphate rock reserves;
    v. An inefficient global food system
    vi. Cheap fertilizer – a thing of the past for farmers
    vii. No one is monitoring phosphorus: whose responsibility is it?

    2.3) Long-COVID increasingly debilitating workforce
    The World Health Organization (WHO) thinks we’re heading for a mass disabling event:

    An estimated one in 10 infections results in post-Covid conditions suggesting that hundreds of millions of people will need longer term care” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

    Evidence/data I see indicates to me it’s fanciful to think there will be 10.4 billion people by 2100. I think humanity will be lucky to avoid civilisation collapse by 2100, unless we make drastic & rapid changes in the next few years – see the comments by some climate scientists referred to in my comments (at APRIL 20, 2023 AT 8:50 AM).

  148. To all that Julian Cribb adds that food production dislodges up to 75 billion tonnes of topsoil every year, plus generating about a third of our GHGs.

    His proposal is in part to urbanise about half our food production, using all urban water and nutrients in a ‘circular economy’

      using mostly indoor techniques from hydroponic, agritectural, and aquaponic to ‘cellular agriculture’ systems like synthetic meat, milk, fish and eggs.

    That’s part of it. On population he says as a country we should have a rational population policy, as should the whole planet, allowing the future population to live sustainably, while creating the circumstances for other species to do the same.

    Not sure he takes proper account that other species attack and devour each other, and some become disruptive pests. Not sure either that he takes full account of the human tendency to do what comes naturally.

  149. Basically Cribb says we have a Bronze Age food system that got us to where we are, but we have left the Holocene, the human population has exploded, so the whole approach has to be remodelled because what suited us up until now is destroying the capacity of the planet to support life.

  150. This is from Julian Cribb’s Twitter:

    Then he has more from James Hansen and others.

    Cribb will always go back to a positive message, as in this blog post:

    A Plan for Human Survival

    I think we should accept that we will reach 1.5°C within the next decade, that 2°C by 2050 is pretty much inevitable. Apart from giving climate mitigation the highest possible priority we should be planning in a comprehensive way to make the best of our future, which is dangerous and likely turning catastrophic. When we understand our situation, face it and do what is possible, we may have earned hope for achieving a safe and sustainable world.

    As the generations that have benefitted from our ecocidal actions, especially from mid-last century on, we owe this to our progeny.

  151. Prof Eliot Jacobson tweeted earlier today (May 3):

    “The Earth energy imbalance (EEI) is the most fundamental indicator for climate change, as it tells us if, how much, how fast, and where the Earth’s climate is warming, as well as how this warming evolves in the future.”

    Current EEI: 928,000 Hiroshimas per Day.

  152. Yes, and we are carrying on as though it is business as usual, like NT government announces fracking in the Beetaloo Basin can go ahead and WA Carbon Fiasco: Pilbara plant to blow more CO2 than Safeguard Mechanism will save.

    David Spratt is now calling for the release of a security report on climate threat which the Government have been sitting on since late last year.

    Are Australia’s climate–security risks too hot to handle?

    Problem is, it might change the narrative of how climate is spoken about in public discourse.

  153. The real risk is that a common reaction to our tale of gloom will be: “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” I will be eighty in a few weeks time so the easy reaction is to assume that the world will survive long enough for my purposes. Then there is our 4yr old grandson. Not sure of the chances that the world as we know it will last long enough for him to have a good life.
    Read long ago that it takes about 8m2 of food production to support one person. Maybe less if we are talking insects as our food.
    Which brings me back to going onto a war footing to fight for the future. What do we think this might involve at this point in time? We have gone onto war footings before. Why not now?

  154. John, I see that David Spratt has a slightly longer version of his article now at Climate Code Red.

    While I was there I took a look at his May 2021 article What roles for markets and for the state when climate risk is existential?

    In the end, he is saying, there must be state leadership.Spratt is in a very different headspace from Warren Howden, who gave LEAN a special briefing recently.

    Howden is saying there is a narrow path that will save us, but the good news is that we have the means, we know what to do.

    Howden is saying that overshoot and drawdown is inevitable, but science and technology have the answers if we act expeditiously.

    Spratt is saying science is not up to the task, and we have no certain knowledge how things are going to unfold, and we are much in the thrall of the super-rich elites, who basically care about themselves.

    It’s a thoughtful piece, but he ends with questions:

      If this scenario is to change, the ruling elites — more or less as they exist now — must be part of the transformation, given the imperatives for dramatic action on a short, decadal time-frame. What, if anything, could bring them to their senses?

      How can their vehement opposition to state leadership on sustainability and the climate emergency and a common future purpose for humanity be broken? Can a sustained mobilisation of people who cherish this Earth and yearn for a future for humanity overcome this resistance?

      On these questions hang the future of human civilisation.

    I don’t think we have the necessary political leadership in Australia, in any party, or outside a party.

    Nor can I see it in the US, China or India.

  155. Published at 100 Climate Conversations was a podcast 061 | 100: Greg Mullins: On the frontline of extreme fire, duration 0:47:56. It’s an audio conversation with Marian Wilkinson, and includes a transcript. This bit may be of interest:

    Yes, look, in some ways fighting the fire or dealing with the flood is, I won’t say the easy bit, but it’s the quickest. So that happens. And the long tail effort is in rehousing people rebuilding communities, getting power back on water, etc., sanitation. So that recovery phase is long tail and very detailed and it’s difficult and it costs a lot of money. And it’s not under the blaze of TV cameras because it’s not towering flames or bridges being washed away. So, you have people up around Lismore now still living in tents. When the floods hit in 2021, when they first hit the first round of floods, people were living in tents on the south coast.

    What we’re finding with climate change internationally is compounding disasters and consecutive disasters. So, as you’re just getting on your feet from the last disaster, which happened to be a heat wave and fire, the next one comes, which is rain and flood and storm. And so, it’s like being trapped in an undertow at the beach and getting smashed every time you stand up, the undertow takes your legs out from under you and a wave until you can’t get up again. And look those least able to absorb the impact for example, a lot of our Indigenous communities, a lot of our rural communities, they’re the ones really struggling, and they just don’t have the resources to get back on their feet. So, one hit and they are just about out.

    So, this is why we’ve really got to look at – and this is the adaptation space. So, we’ve seen in New South Wales they tried one approach with Resilience New South Wales then went to a reconstruction authority because the Government felt that approach wasn’t working. It was an approach that was never really given a chance because they were just – as soon as the fires finished, there was storms and floods. So, it’s really, really difficult. And this is what adaptation is all about, acknowledging that these things are going to happen more frequently from now on. And we might not have finished the job of getting people with roofs over their heads when the next disaster comes.

  156. Brian: I am fairly optimistic. When I first met you the fight for climate action was struggling. Now Liddell has shut down and no-one is suggesting that a new coal fired power plant be built because renewables are cheaper. Clean is a bonus.
    My American son now has an electric car as well as what his 4 yr old son calls a “polluttii”. His son prefers travel by polluttii but Peter says the electric has already proved to be a better financial investment.
    Yepp, we still have a company that wants to frack in the NT. Ideology apart do you think it is a smart investment?

  157. Geoff, resilience has become a favoured topic of interest due largely to COVID and climate change. As Will Steffen kept saying, by burning fossil fuels we are giving a jerk to the Earth System with severity equal only to the asteroid strike of 66 million years ago.

    I believe the latest is that over 100 million people are displaced from what was their habitat. It’s getting worse as we go.

    John I can’t face this with total equanimity. Certainly the public discourse has moved, but the Mauna Loa graph of atmospheric CO2 keeps trending up.

    Andrew King and Stephen Sherwood reckon human action has resulted in the planet absorbing the equivalent of 25 billion Hiroshima style nukes.

      It takes a long time to get this much heat into the oceans, and once it is there it doesn’t disappear. Reversing global warming entirely may not be feasible. Just to stop temperatures going any higher means correcting the imbalance and bringing CO2 levels down towards the pre-industrial level of 280ppm.

      If we can reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, we will most likely stop further global warming and carbon dioxide concentrations will slowly start to drop.

      Realistically, this means rapid, large-scale reduction of emissions and deployment of carbon capture to compensate for the emissions we can’t eliminate.

      To go further and cool the planet back down towards a pre-industrial climate would require net-negative emissions, meaning we would have to draw even more carbon back out of the atmosphere than any lingering emissions.

    Sounds grim but they have missed out the possibility of lurking tipping points and ignored the Faustian bargain of heating that will occur when we lose the aerosols of fossil fuels.

  158. John, on fracking in the NT, I don’t like fracking anywhere. The tendency in Labor is to try to find a ‘balance’. So now that the frackers are importing a giant drill that can do 3000 metres (3km) of lateral drilling the surface disturbance is said to be tolerable.

    I’m agnostic on whether we need more gas. My best guess is that by 2030 we’ll need less, maybe much less, but meanwhile AEMO and ACCC tell us that in a few years time, as coal tends to dip out, we could need more to keep the lights on.

    My best option was buy gas on the world market to meet any shortfalls. However, Putin changed that.

    There is a company called Senex which is exploring in the western part of the Surat Basin. See Senex calls on the Federal Government to re-think intervention plans to maintain gas investment for Australian businesses and homes.

    Their majority shareholder POSCO International is upset about our desire to cap gas prices. I think they own 51% with Gina Rinehart owning the rest.

    If we need to frack I’d rather we did it there on grazing land rather than in prize farming land at Narrabri or in the remote desert at Beetaloo, which would not be viable supplying only the domestic market.

    Of course, the ACCC likes to see competition, which would mean too much gas. Someone should work out exactly what we need, call tenders for it, and forget the rest. It could be that Senex too would be unviable unless it has a mine life that would destroy the planet.

  159. I’ve just re-watched the Just have a think video on a prospective El Niño:

    That one was made in April. This one by Astrum is only just out, but I think was made a bit earlier:

    Between the two we have a global perspective and a quite thorough explanation. I heard today that all models now point to an El Niño, which does not guarantee it will happen.

    There is some thinking now that with current global heating we will spend more time in an El Niño or a La Niña which will be stronger, and less time in neutral.

  160. Brian I have this uneasy feeling that gas, previously supported by LNP (dunno about labor) would be used to produce hydrogen, like a lot is already. That was a seriously disgusting hidden agenda of the LNP but it is clearly an attractive option for the liberals.
    Somethings never resolved about fracking include the “produced water “ that brings massive salt to the surface, and the unmetered leakage of gas to the surface post the fracking shock. Fracking shatters gas-holding rocks already under pressure and the gas is happy to flow. But it’s not clear what percentage of liberated gas is captured and what becomes fugitive gas that wends it way to the surface. I doubt the estimates are very kosher and if the gas takes years to reach the surface what then?

  161. All that and more, Geoff H. There was a recent report of subsidence near Dalby. The well causing the problem was a directional well coming from a neighbour. It makes the land useless for cropping, and this could happen up to hundreds of years later.

    The salt problem is massive. One report says 40 dams in the Surat Basin, 5 million tonnes of salt which will have to be looked after forever.

    I think Labor under Anna Bligh got us into this mess. After the three LNG plants were built ( I think $60 billion in all, could be more) the state was essentially in a death embrace with the miners. There has been continual legislation to try to optimise the situation. I haven’t kept up with it all, but the basic idea is that with ‘agile management’ you set up base standards and conditions together with complaint procedures and possible reparations. Individual citizens (farmers, but also residents) against the corporates.

    I know Shell are measuring fugitive emissions, but I understand to date we use American hypothetical averages. I recall Ian Lowe as finding them 60% undermeasured in his Lake Eyre basin study.

    It’s a complete mess, and most do not understand that it is an expensive way of mining gas. International corporates don’t show their books easily, but the listed players like Santos and Origin have been making below investment-grade returns. Until now.

    I’ll try to put some links in a comment below.

  162. Sophie Gabrielle tweeted on May 10:

    Global warming in the pipeline is greater than prior estimates. Eventual global warming due to today’s GHG forcing alone — after slow feedbacks operate — is about 10°C.
    One of the most essential reports everyone should read.

    A further look at the Hansen et. al. pre-print paper titled Global Warming in the Pipeline shows on page 3:

    This first paper – Global Warming in the Pipeline – focuses on climate sensitivity, climate response time, and aerosols. The second paper – Sea Level Rise in the Pipeline – presents evidence that continued warming and increasing ice melt can cause shutdown of the overturning ocean circulations within decades and large sea level rise within a century.

    And on page 34:

    Our second perspective article – Sea Level Rise in the Pipeline⁹³ – concludes, as outlined already,¹⁵ that exponential increase of sea level rise to at least several meters is likely if high fossil fuel emissions continue. Specifically, it is concluded that the time scale for loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet and multimeter sea level rise would be of the order of a century, not a millennium. Eventual impacts would include loss of coastal cities and flooding of regions such as Bangladesh, the Netherlands, a substantial portion of China, and the state of Florida in the United States. For practical purposes, the losses would be permanent. Such outcome could be locked in soon, which creates an urgency to understand the physical system better and to take major steps to reduce the human-made drive of global warming.

  163. Geoff M, IPCC scientists tend to try to ignore James Hansen, essentially, I think, because he rates evidence from paleoscience ahead of extrapolations based on climate models, which in turn are in the main based on observations happening within an instant of geological time.

    In terms of risk, they ignore Hansen at their (and our) peril. If they do they need to be 99.9999% sure he is wrong, if they apply the same standards as they would taking a flight on a airplane.

    I’ve just found this link with copious links to Hansen’s work:

    John, I’m worried they there appears to be a kind of goldrush going on with gas companies trying to spud in more wells while they are able.

    Labor never promised to stop all new coal and gas. They were quite specific in saying these decisions would be made in boardrooms.

    Therein lies a problem.

  164. I hope everyone is well.

    Sadly the war and the horror show of US politics is dominating attention.

    Here is hoping for a saner world soon.

  165. An article headlined UCI, NASA JPL researchers discover a cause of rapid ice melting in Greenland, dated May 8, included:

    “These ice-ocean interactions make the glaciers more sensitive to ocean warming,” said senior co-author Eric Rignot, UCI professor of Earth system science and NASA JPL research scientist. “These dynamics are not included in models, and if we were to include them, it would increase projections of sea level rise by up to 200 percent – not just for Petermann but for all glaciers ending in the ocean, which is most of northern Greenland and all of Antarctica.”

  166. Published in Nature Climate Change on 23 Mar 2023 was an analysis paper titled Risk of isolation increases the expected burden from sea-level rise, included in the Abstract:

    The typical displacement metric for sea-level rise adaptation planning is property inundation. However, this metric may underestimate risk as it does not fully capture the wider cascading or indirect effects of sea-level rise. To address this, we propose complementing it by considering the risk of population isolation: those who may be cut off from essential services. We investigate the importance of this metric by comparing the number of people at risk from inundation to the number of people at risk from isolation. Considering inundated roadways during mean higher high water tides in the coastal United States shows, although highly spatially variable, that the increase across the United States varies between 30% and 90% and is several times higher in some states. We find that risk of isolation may occur decades sooner than risk of inundation. Both risk metrics provide critical information for evaluating adaptation options and giving priority to support for at-risk communities.

    And from Science Alert, reporting about the Nature Climate Change paper on Apr 4, included:

    That risk is faced by many areas considered low-risk for inundation, and the study suggests millions of people in the US are at risk of isolation but not inundation before 2080.

    Even in the lowest scenario for sea-level rise, the study found that around 500,000 people in the US would be affected by isolation. In the 1-meter scenario, isolation caused by rising seas could affect 1 million people or more.

  167. Geoff M, this is important:

      Even if tidal floods don’t wholly isolate a community, periodically blocking residents’ access to a critical facility like a school or a hospital could present a significant challenge.

    There is precious little talk about SLR as a threat. At least Eric Rignot is prepared to speak up. Climate scientists who are often subject to threats:

    Paleoscience indicates that SLR can happen rapidly. The new information on Greenland suggests how.

    John, Friday two days ago was apparently the last time comments could be made on the draft regulations for the Safeguard Mechanism. I’d heard last weekend that they ran to 200 pages, tried to find them and failed.

  168. John, from today’s paper, I think what closed on Friday was submissions to the code gas companies are meant to work to in order to keep gas prices below $12 per Pj.

    Industrial gas users are complaining that the code does not seem to apply to retailers, so they are still paying $20 to $25.

    More on Hansen, I found this Daily Kos summary of the Hansen paper:

    An important point made is that there has recently been some reduction in aerosols from international shipping, which together with other attempts to clean up the air a bit is causing an increase in the tempo of warming.

    There is a link to a clubhouse discussion at the end of the discussion, which started with music playing and was quite meandering for the first 19 minutes. I’ve now paused at the 31 minute mark. Not sure I’ll go on!

  169. Brian: – “An important point made is that there has recently been some reduction in aerosols from international shipping, which together with other attempts to clean up the air a bit is causing an increase in the tempo of warming.

    Leon Simons posted a twitter thread on Mar 9, discussing this topic, including:

    On January 1st 2020 new shipping regulation came into effect (#IMO2020), decreasing the maximum amount of sulfur in shipping fuels from 3.5% to 0.5%.

    From 2020 we see a rapid increase in the amount of solar radiation that’s being absorbed by the region highlighted above.

  170. Interesting thread. I’ve extracted and copied this image which shows the sea surface temperature in the mid-latitude North Atlantic at 1.475°C above the 1979-2000 average.

    I’d like to see a 5-year moving average applied to the graph.

  171. I’ve just released a comment from BillB @ 13 May. Here’s what he said:

    I hope everyone is well.

    Sadly the war and the horror show of US politics is dominating attention.

    Here is hoping for a saner world soon.

    I think we are all OK, and good to hear from you!

  172. From the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), headlined Global temperatures set to reach new records in next five years:

    Geneva, 17 May 2023 (WMO) – Global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years, fuelled by heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Niño event, according to a new update issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

    There is a 66% likelihood that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year. There is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.

    The WMO can’t say 100% likelihood, but I think it’s INEVITABLE with the current Earth energy imbalance (EEI) at an all-time high in the instrumental record – 928,000 ‘Hiroshimas’ per Day.

  173. Thanks for this, Geoff.

    I think our national, state and local government planners should accept as a base case that we are going to have 2°C certainly by 2050, but possibly 10 or more years earlier.

    Which means no Great Barrier Reef, floods, storms, droughts and fires plus life-threatening heatwaves, together with likely multi-metre sea level rise, unstoppable for centuries to come. This adds up to a rapidly receding chance of achieving “a liveable and sustainable future for all”.

    This article talks about how and why the media seldom takes the real threat of the looming climate catastrophe seriously.

  174. El Niño and La Niña have become more extreme and frequent because of climate change, study finds
    “The current paper provides modelling evidence that climate change has already made El Niño and La Niña more frequent and more extreme.”

    Up until now there had been limited understanding about the role climate change has already played on ENSO, with research primarily looking at future projections.

    Lead researcher Wenju Cai said their research yielded significant results, with evidence that El Niño and La Niña events had become more frequent and intense due to increasing emissions of greenhouse gases.

    “Previous research projected how El Niño and La Niña will change in the future but was unable to tell whether human-caused climate change has already affected [them],” he said.

    “The current paper provides modelling evidence that climate change has already made El Niño and La Niña more frequent and more extreme.”

  175. Yes, John, they split the last 120 years into pre and post 1960. Seems they found:

      Strong El Niño events doubled, strong La Niña increased nine-fold

    In the actual research paper it looks like a study led by Chinese/CSIRO with plenty other collaboration. Good to see.

    However, it’s part of the story of having left the Holocene we are now in a dangerous place.

  176. At The Conversation Andrew King looks at the odds:

      The World Meteorological Organization update says there is a 98% chance at least one of the next five years will be the hottest on record. And there’s a 66% chance of at least one year over the 1.5℃ threshold.

      There’s also a 32% chance the average temperature over the next five years will exceed the 1.5℃ threshold. The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5℃ has risen steadily since 2015, when it was close to zero. For the years between 2017 and 2021, it was a 10% chance.

      Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions have already driven up global average temperatures by more than 1℃ since the late 19th century. The update notes the 2022 average global temperature was about 1.15℃ above the 1850-1900 average, despite the cooling influence of La Niña conditions. Temperatures are now rising by about 0.2℃ per decade.

    Wenju Cai and Agus Santoso in New study helps solve a 30-year-old puzzle: how is climate change affecting El Niño and La Niña? tell how they conducted the research, and take a peek at the future:

      Previous research suggests the El Niño-Southern Oscillation will continue to change this century. In particular, we can expect more intense and frequent El Niño and La Niña events.

      We can also expect more frequent swings from a strong El Niño to a strong La Niña the following year.

    Remember, these folks are modellers, so for them the future is a smooth projection of the past. James Hansen et al have a better understanding of what could happen.

  177. Professor Eliot Jacobson tweeted on May 17 (including a graph of average SSTs for date range 1 Jan – 15 May):

    To 3 digits accuracy, the average sea surface temperature (SST) year-to-date is 20.862°C. The record through May 15 is 20.865°C, set in 2016.

    We are just a few days away from 2023 having the hottest SST’s on record.

    The SST’s to date, 1982-2023, with a linear trendline:

    This twitter thread by Leon Simons on Mar 20 discusses the speed of global warming and extreme rainfall depends most on how much sulfur we burn.

  178. Professor Eliot Jacobson tweeted earlier today (May 20):

    Breaking News!!!

    Today, 2023 surpassed 2016 as the year with the hottest 60°S-60°N global sea surface temperatures (SST) since record keeping began in 1982.

    While 2016 was at the end of a record El Niño, the SST impact from the coming 2023 El Niño has not yet left its mark.

    And this also:

    And as shocking as it may be that 2023 now has the hottest global SSTs to date, what’s happening in the North Atlantic is beyond words.

    It seems payment for our “Faustian Bargain’ is coming due!

  179. Brian: – “I think they are right about state capture.

    Professor Julia Steinberger tweeted a thread on May 19, including:

    As floods & fires rise, oceans boil & ice melts, and “safe” temperatures are breached, something momentous just happened in the heart of the EU. No one has heard about it: journalists were present, but their editors refused to publish .
    , please RT.

    = = = = =

    For 3 full days the EU parliament hosted thousands of scientists, activists and policy-makers charting a future beyond growth. The talks & discussions were recorded and are now available to all. Thousands attended, thousands more followed online.

    = = = = =

    Topics covered planetary boundaries, trade, finance, fiscal policy, global South, decolonisation, gender, justice, well-being, social policies. Every panel included major advances in understanding. Together, the conference represents a monumental coming of age of post-growth.

    = = = = =

    Being part of this event was a privilege and an honour. I wish I could share with you what being in such a space opens up in terms of determination to collaborate for a liveable world. The sheer electric energy of being in a room with so many young, critical, dedicated humans.

    = = = = =

    Because here is the thing. Every. Single. Journalist. who was there (and there were many, from major outlets all over Europe and the world) that I spoke to, said “my editor refuses to print any story critical of economic growth.”





    = = = = =

    This is insane verging on criminal and shows the dangerous ideology of economic growth as our secular religion, completely blinding us to the possible economic alternatives that could preserve a liveable planet. But it is the current reality.
    So please. I am not good at this.

  180. Geoff, the problem of what gets reported and how is becoming increasingly serious. Twitter seems to be a valuable safety valve. There is an article in a recent New Scientist about the role of comedians, who have a license to shock. Many of my younger sons mates only follow current events through the output of comedians.

    I returned to this blow by blow description of the last IPCC session approving the Summary for policymakers of IPCC AR6. I’d put it aside to read later.

    This time I got a bit over half way through, and then skipped to the concluding remarks.

    It’s clear that a political process was at work, and tragic that the developing countries had only one funded rep and most had to leave as the conference dragged on after the official finish time, as these conferences always seem to do.

    Interesting too that they admitted that the information was a couple of years old.

    We are not in a good place.

  181. John I’d seen an article about using gravity and old mine pits in a recent US startup. I figured they had plenty and the article emphasised that the output from each was small and hence the need to stitch together a network.

    I’ve just done a bit of a search. It’s worth a full post, but the concept seems to have been first developed by Scottish startup Gravitricity founder Peter Fraenkel, a UK chartered mechanical engineer.

    He got a grant to kick it off in 2018. See this 2019 article Old mine shafts, weights and gravity could power a shift in renewable energy storage.

    They were using sand, which probably allows more total power to be generated on the site.

    Using a steel block can also be varied by installing gears.

    There was an article in RenewEconomy in March that I missed:

    Others also had a go, but an important study on the world-wide potential of the concept was publish in January 2023:

    Seems the energy could be quite cheap, could be varied for use over one hour, four hours or longer duration, plus the total energy available could total up the 70 Twh, which is said to equate to the world-wide output now.

  182. Of course it’s not everywhere. In Australia there seems to be potential in the Hunter Valley, Tasmania and Mt Isa. The latter is not connected to the grid, although there are plans to do so.

    Seems implementation could be quite rapid, which might save us from the delays in Snowy Hydro and the looming shortage of available gas we keep hearing about.

    Somewhere I saw mention of gravity-produced electricity using cranes and concrete blocks. So we need to keep an eye out.

  183. John D: – “As someone who has lived in some of the hotter and humid parts of Aus I am a bit cynical.

    Have you experienced 50+ °C (dry-bulb) temperatures?
    Have you experienced 35+ ℃ (wet-bulb) temperatures?
    Have you experienced a succession of days at these temperatures?

    Wikipedia‘s reference for Wet-bulb temperature includes:

    A sustained wet-bulb temperature exceeding 35 °C (95 °F) is likely to be fatal even to fit and healthy people, unclothed in the shade next to a fan; at this temperature human bodies switch from shedding heat to the environment, to gaining heat from it.

    The US National Weather service provides a Heat Index Calculator here.

    That’s where I’d suggest many places are heading on extreme heat days (or succession of days) in the coming decades. See my comment to you on Feb 23.

    Berkley Earth lead scientist Dr Robert Rohde tweeted May 18:

    Following a warm March & April, and with a potential strong El Niño looming, the @BerkeleyEarth forecast for 2023 has again shifted up.

    It is now slightly more likely than not that 2023 becomes the warmest year in the instrumental record (56% chance).

    Another step closer to more unlivable places!

  184. John, check out the actual study – Tim Lenton et al Quantifying the human cost of global warming.

    The situation is serious!

    Towards the end of the Conversation post they linked to a 2015 paper by Hanna and Tait Limitations to Thermoregulation and Acclimatization Challenge Human Adaptation to Global Warming which reminds us of deaths in Melbourne in 2009 and 2014 from heatwaves.

    It’s not just dropping dead. I once asked my Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Science, One of the smartest persons I’ve known who grew up in North Qld, how come people up there don’t die earlier than we do? His answer was, “They do!”

  185. John, you said:

    A lot may depend on changes in weather patterns that go with global warming and the speed at which nature adapts.

    Will Steffen says that what we are doing to the Earth System is comparable in force to the asteroid strike of 66 million years ago – about 100 times the orbital changes that gave us the Holocene. This came from a lecture in April 2022:

    Will Steffen April 2022[/caption]

    Here’s a scholarly article on whether the evident biodiversity crisis is in fact the beginning of the sixth mass extinction.

  186. The Nature Sustainability article by Timothy Lenton et. al., published on 22 May 2023, titled Quantifying the human cost of global warming, includes Fig. 4: Regions and population densities exposed to unprecedented heat at different levels of global warming.

    Fig. 4a shows large regions of the world expected to be exposed to unprecedented heat (MAT ≥29 °C) under +2.7 °C global mean warming scenario (including substantial parts of Australia). Fig. 4b shows regions of the world expected to be exposed to unprecedented heat (MAT ≥29 °C) under +1.5 °C global mean warming scenario.

    It appears from the map that the region between Port Hedland and Broome extending inland, and around Kununarra in Western Australia, could start to become increasingly unlivable at and beyond the +1.5 °C global mean warming threshold, and progressively enlarge as the global mean surface temperature continues to rise.

    Professor Stefan Rahmstorf tweeted on May 24 (including a colour-gradient temperature map of the world):

    Striking map from a new study by Lenton et al.: after 2.7 °C global warming the purple areas will basically be too hot to live.
    A billion people could be on the move to cooler lands.

  187. Thanks Geoff, I saw those Rahmstorf tweets. I had bit of a look at him last night, as his research focusses much on the slow-down and/or cessation of the AMOC current, which, if it stopped, would throw Europe into a very cold period for centuries.

    I found this neat talk from 2017:

    On our remaining carbon budget, he produced this:

    He doesn’t give percentage chance, which I suspect was no more than 67%. He says that if we leave peaking emissions and serious reduction to 2025, there is no chance of meeting the Paris goals.

    I notice James Hansen is back, feisty as ever:

    Equilibrium Warming = Committed Warming? (May 2023)

      Equilibrium response is the global temperature change after the climate system restores energy balance following imposition of a climate forcing. One merit of our analysis of Cenozoic (past 66 million years) climate is that it reveals that the present human-made GHG (greenhouse gas) forcing is already greater than the GHG forcing at the transition from a nearly unglaciated Antarctica to a glaciated continent. Yes, if we leave atmospheric composition as it is today, sea level will eventually rise about 60 m (200 feet). Of course, none of us would be there to see it. However, it’s not the new equilibrium at +200 feet that’s of most concern, it’s the chaos that ensues once ice sheet collapse begins in earnest.

    Both Hansen and Rahmstorf say the ‘answer’ is drawdown, which they can’t see happening at sufficient scale.

  188. Comments are open again for another 30 days.

    I’ve been flat chat this weekend, again. My better half keeps asking me when I’m going to retire.

    We are going away for a break for 6 days from Wednesday. I’ll do a new Salon tomorrow or Tuesday if I’m still alive!

    Meanwhile gas is going to be shall we say somewhat problematic for the government. See Peter Sainsbury’s latest:

    We love you gas, we do. Oh gas, we love you

  189. Inside Climate News published on May 26 a piece by Bob Berwyn headlined James Hansen Warns of a Short-Term Climate Shock Bringing 2 Degrees of Warming by 2050. It included:

    Focusing attention on the paper before it’s reviewed is “mainly to start the scientific discussion and get input from the broader scientific community,” Simons added. “Such a broad paper benefits from this, as the reviewers might be more specialized. With Jim [Hansen], there will of course automatically be media attention, but that’s not the goal. People need to know about the acceleration of warming.”

    If the average global temperature warms 2 degrees above pre-industrial times by 2050, it means that temperatures over land will likely increase double that amount, by 4 degrees Celsius, because land surfaces have less heat capacity than the oceans, where some of the heat goes deep down and isn’t immediately expressed as a rise of surface temperature.

    This year’s IPCC 6th Assessment Report shows that level of warming rapidly increases the odds of massive, widespread droughts that could wipe out food production in key global crop areas at the same time, as well as severe water shortages and fierce heat waves that would displace millions of people. The combined physical and social impacts would destabilize some regions and possibly stir up conflicts over food and water supplies.

    Leon Simons tweeted on May 26 (including Fig. 25 from the May 19 revised Hansen et. al. preprint paper Global Warming in the Pipeline):

    James Hansen clears up confusion about our draft paper on warming in the pipeline.

    We are not yet committed to 10°C warming, but we are also not committed to make sure that we don’t!

    There are already many signs of accelerating warming, as GHGs increase and aerosols decrease.

  190. Thanks, Geoff.

    I think the best direct route to what Hansen et al are saying, in draft, is the web version of his May mailing Equilibrium Warming = Committed Warming? with a link to Global warming in the pipeline.

    On that site there is a link on the RHS to the new draft paper where on p41 we have this:

      Equilibrium global warming for today’s GHG level is 10°C for our central estimate ECS = 1.2°C ± 0.2°C per W/m2, including the amplifications from disappearing ice sheets and non-CO2 GHGs (Sec. 4.4). Aerosols reduce equilibrium warming to about 8°C. Equilibrium sea level change is + 60 m (about 200 feet).

    Elsewhere we are told to expect 1.5°C by 2030 and 2°C by 2050. I’ve only skimmed the paper, but I think they expect several metres of SLR in the next 100 years and an AMOC shutdown.

    They don’t nominate a point of no return, but say we need to remove 7.6Gt of CO2 pa, plus presumable zero emissions. The cost is trillions of $s pa, which you have to be a bit pessimistic about.

    Here beginneth the big debate about whether CCS or trees are the way to go, with this mob asserting the latter:

    Capturing Carbon With Machines Is a Failure—So Why Are We Subsidizing It?

    Again I haven’t had time to dissect the so-called scientific study, but to confuse C (carbon) and CO2, which I think they have done, is not promising.

  191. I’ll be darned. I think they have corrected the text. It now reads:

    Nature already absorbs and emits about 100 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year through the natural processes in the biosphere—including plant growth—an amount 2.5 times humanity’s annual carbon output.

    I’m sure when I first read that they said 10 times rather than 2.5 times.

  192. Antarctic alarm bells: observations reveal deep ocean currents are slowing earlier than predicted

    But there are signs this circulation is slowing down and it’s happening decades earlier than predicted. This slowdown has the potential to disrupt the connection between the Antarctic coasts and the deep ocean, with profound consequences for Earth’s climate, sea level and marine life.

    Our new research, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, uses real-world observations to decipher how and why the deep ocean around Antarctica has changed over the past three decades. Our measurements show the overturning circulation has slowed by almost a third (30%) and deep ocean oxygen levels are declining. This is happening even earlier than climate models predicted.


    As the flow of bottom water slows, the supply of oxygen to the deep ocean declines. The shrinking oxygen-rich bottom water layer is then replaced by warmer waters that are lower in oxygen, further reducing oxygen levels.

    Ocean animals, large and small, respond to even small changes in oxygen. Deep-ocean animals are adapted to low oxygen conditions but still have to breathe. Losses of oxygen may cause them to seek refuge in other regions or adapt their behaviour. Models suggest we are locked in to a contraction of the “viable” environment available to these animals with an expected decline of up to 25%.

    Slowdown of the overturning may also intensify global warming. The overturning circulation carries carbon dioxide and heat to the deep ocean, where it is stored and hidden from the atmosphere. As the ocean storage capacity is reduced, more carbon dioxide and heat are left in the atmosphere. This feedback accelerates global warming.
    Reductions in the amount of Antarctic bottom water reaching the ocean floor also increases sea levels because the warmer water that replaces it takes up more space (thermal expansion).

    All I can say is “bloody hell!!”

  193. Finally, from the link:

    Ice loss from Antarctica is expected to continue, even accelerate, as the world warms. We are almost certain to cross the 1.5℃ global warming threshold by 2027.

    More ice loss will mean more freshening, so we can anticipate the slowdown in circulation and deep oxygen losses will continue.

    The consequences of a slowdown will not be limited to Antarctica. The overturning circulation extends throughout the global ocean and influences the pace of climate change and sea level rise. It will also be disruptive and damaging for marine life.

    Alan Kohler asked, when is the world going to panic about climate change?

    The way we are going, possibly not until AMOC stops and Europe pretty much freezes over. Then we’ll be into geo-engineering.

  194. Brian: I take notice of what is going in the US because one of my sons and grandsons are US citizens. The restrictions coming into place in some Republican states are mind boggling. For example: “Ohio Staters Grapple With Bill That Stifles Climate Speech” The article includes ”

    Keely Fisher chose to pursue her Ph.D. at Ohio State University because she wanted to learn about climate change from a world-class faculty. Now one year into her program, she wonders if she belongs here.

    The problem has nothing to do with Ohio State and everything to do with the Ohio General Assembly and a proposal that would regulate higher education. The wide-ranging bill includes a provision that designates climate policy as a “controversial belief or policy” and says faculty must “encourage students to reach their own conclusions about all controversial beliefs or policies and shall not seek to inculcate any social, political, or religious point of view.”

    Some of the things in some Republican states might be described as “Joh on steroids.”

  195. I have visited US many times since 1962. I have family over there too, I deemed it Gods chosen country back then.
    But no more. Whilst I like to think any citizen is ok, the place, God’s country, is so in the mire I’m not at all sure it will recover within 50 years (my guess).
    I’m trying to understand why so many citizens embrace Trumpism in whole or part. I don’t think it’s stupidity. There is something else at work I think, and I’m thinking something that has been brewing for many generations.
    I think it could be inequity, not just of wealth but overt social privilege , the decline of the middle class, the loss of social pillars such as trust, truth and acceptance of facts, Trump seems to have unearthed some deeply held sensitivities whist undermining stabilising social institutions.
    If I’m even part right, it will probably be more than 50 years.

  196. A number of things happened in the US that moved the white working class from the Democrats to Republican:
    1. The Democrats supported free trade. People like steelworkers lost their jobs.
    2. Whites are scared that non-whites are building their numbers to the point where they will take over unless the elections are rigged.
    3. Republican state governments are willing to rig elections in the way Joh did.
    4. The republican’s are chasing the Christian vote.
    5. The party that freed the slaves has changed dramatically.
    My American rellies are Californians.

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