All posts by Brian

Brian Bahnisch, a survivor from Larvatus Prodeo, founded Climate Plus as a congenial space to continue coverage of climate change and sundry other topics. As a grandfather of more than three score years and ten, Brian is concerned about the future of the planet, and still looking for the meaning of everything.

Gas has got to go

The Climate Council issued a report on the future of gas-fired electricity just after Easter – Pollution and Price: The Cost of Investing in Gas.

Gas is often thought of as a ‘transition fuel’ from coal to renewables. Their advice is clear:

    Do not provide policy support for new gas power plants or gas supply infrastructure.

And:

    Existing gas plants should be thought of as a short-term, expensive, emergency backup as renewable energy and storage is rapidly scaled up.

Moreover, we should leave most of our gas reserves in the ground. Continue reading Gas has got to go

The Battle of Passchendaele

I think I ignored Anzac Day last year, on the blog, that is. I think I grew up as patriotic as the rest of the community, despite being embedded in a community of ‘German’ farmers, who were mostly third generation Australians. Anyway their services were definitely not required even in the Second World War. Indeed I understand that my father may have been involved in some Dad’s Army type exercises in case of a Japanese invasion. But when the authorities discovered there were Germans involved, that was the end of that.

However, apart from those of German origin very few Australian families escaped losing relatives on the battlefields of northern France and Flanders, our extended family by marriage amongst them.

The Australian War Memorial frames Passchendaele as an almost universal experience where in a concentrated area in three and a half months around a million and a half men experienced war. Total casualties are estimated at about 275,000 British and Commonwealth and about 200,000 German. All for a gain of 8 kilometres in the line, which was later given up. Continue reading The Battle of Passchendaele

Climate change and the Arctic: we should worry

In the comments thread of the post Is methane hydrate out-gassing going to kill us all? BilB linked to an article The Global Impacts of Rapidly Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice by Peter Wadhams, who is professor emeritus of ocean physics at Cambridge University, a sea ice specialist with 46 years of research on sea ice and ocean processes in the Arctic and Antarctic with more than 50 expeditions to both polar regions under his belt.

He worries about what is happening in the Arctic, and after revisiting my post Reconciling estimates of climate sensitivity, I worry too. Not so much about the extinction of the human race, or about abrupt catastrophic climate change, rather how the earth system is going to end up in the long term after we extract much of carbon sediments deposited over hundreds of millions of years and inject them back into the atmosphere within the space of about a century. Continue reading Climate change and the Arctic: we should worry

Saturday salon 22/4

1. Theresa May’s brave gambit

She didn’t need to, so why did she, especially after promising absolutely definitely that she wouldn’t?

Given a lead of about 20% in the polls, she possibly sees a chance of decimating Labour and governing virtually as a one-party state for the next five years.

However, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight warns that the British polls are basically not worth a cracker. Their abysmal performance translates into a margin of error of 13 to 15%. Continue reading Saturday salon 22/4

Is methane hydrate out-gassing going to kill us all?

Recently we’ve linked to a couple of scary posts, ie. The Methane Threat and Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade, both at the Arctic News blog.

This is alarming to say the least.

The first thing I did was look up the Climate Plus archives tag for Methane. Continue reading Is methane hydrate out-gassing going to kill us all?

Do we seriously want to save the Great Barrier Reef?

Back on 17 March, 2017 Joshua Robertson’s article in the Guardian Stopping global warming is only way to save Great Barrier Reef, scientists warn reported four things happening simultaneously. First, a paper by 46 scientists published in Nature showed that bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in 1998, 2002 and 2016 was determined by ocean surface temperature; water quality had nothing to do with it.

Secondly, Terry Hughes, the lead author of the paper was embarking on aerial surveys to chart the effects of the latest 2017 bleaching event, the first in consecutive years, and the first in a non-El Niño year.

Third, Queensland government officials were in Paris meeting with UNESCO officials to appeal for more time to make good on conservation efforts to ward off an “in-danger” listing for the reef. This conservation plan does not mention global warming, concentrating on such things as water quality.

Fourth, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk went to India to lobby Adani to proceed with its giant coal mine in the Galilee Basin. Continue reading Do we seriously want to save the Great Barrier Reef?

Saturday salon 15/4

1. Older Coalition voters turning to One Nation

Newspoll finds that the demographic most supportive of One Nation is the 50-plus group and it appears that the LNP is the main loser in that sector.

Meanwhile, Pauline is calling for a boycott of easter eggs that are halal-certified, ie Cadbury, Matthias Cormann has stared down a demand that the ABC’s budget be cut by $600 million and the Young Nationals have supported carbon trading, having supported same-sex marriage in 2015. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/4

Climate clippings 204

1. Antarctic ice melt may have tipped

David Spratt at Climate Code Red has a post surveying recent studies on Antarctic ice sheet melting. I’ll cut to the chase with his update of a recent report from NOAA:

    a revised worst-case sea-level rise scenario of 2.5 metres by 2100, 5.5 metres by 2150 and 9.7 metres by 2200. It says sea level science has “advanced significantly over the last few years, especially (for) land-based ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica under global warming”, and hence the “correspondingly larger range of possible 21st century rise in sea level than previously thought”.

Continue reading Climate clippings 204

Fake news about company tax cuts

Ross Gittins says we have fake government rather than fake news, but it does appear that the political debate about company tax cuts has been inadequate and misleading, to say the least. In this post I take a look at what decent thinkers like Gittins, Craig Emerson, Ross Garnaut and others have had to say about the corporate tax cuts. Continue reading Fake news about company tax cuts

Climate clippings 203

Renewable energy news

I’m reminded of my school days when our German teacher on the last day of term used to read us tales of Baron Münchhausen, who on one occasion jumped on his horse and rode off madly in all directions. There is so much going on, fully covered at RenewEconomy, so it is difficult to select the most significant. I’ll try a couple of themes, and include some AFR coverage, which is trying to keep business informed.

1. Batteries

The South Australian tender for 100MW grid-scale storage has received 90 expressions of interest from 10 countries, demonstrating an established global industry. Continue reading Climate clippings 203

Class warfare needed to shake lazy neoliberalism

Neoliberalism has run its course, Paul Keating has spoken.

Sally McManus, the new Secretary of the ACTU announced the demise of neoliberalism as a useful economic force in her speech to the National Press Club National Press Club, as well as defending her comments that anti-strike laws were unjust and could be disobeyed, and setting out the union peak body’s case for a $45-a-week increase in the minimum wage.

McManus said that neoliberalism and trickle-down economics had caused inequality to reach a 70-year high in Australia and that “working people and ordinary Australians have been the victims”.

    “The Keating years created vast wealth for Australia, but has not been shared, and too much has ended up in offshore bank accounts or in CEO’s back pockets.

    “Working people are now missing out and this is making them angry.”

Continue reading Class warfare needed to shake lazy neoliberalism

Saturday salon 8/4

1. Trump’s Syria strike puts the world on notice

Trump’s launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles to smash a Syrian airfield has put the world on notice. As Trump enters talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, suddenly it is clear that Trump is not going to be isolationist, and no-one can be sure how far he will go, in Syria, the South China Sea, North Korea, or anywhere else..

The biggest question is what comes next? There are Russian troops on the ground. The Syrians and Russians have anti-aircraft weapons capable of bringing American planes down, which have been flying freely to strike ISIS targets. Continue reading Saturday salon 8/4