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.

Turnbull does energy policy on the back of an envelope

For over a month now I’ve been trying to do two posts – one on climate as an existential threat, and another on whether 1.5ºC is at all still possible. I keep being diverted.

Malcolm Turnbull has been dithering for months over whether the government would accept the Finkel review recommendation for a Clean Energy Target. For some time now, it has been clear that the climate contrarians in his own party, and the Nationals starting with Barnaby Joyce, would not accept anything that is negative about coal. In the end they asked the brand new Security Energy Commission for advice, in terms that were severely constrained. They got their advice, faithful to the brief in an eight-page letter, and announced a “breakthrough” in the form of a National Energy Guarantee to deliver affordable, reliable electricity with industry and stakeholder consultations to follow, plus the necessary modelling to be undertaken only after the states have agreed. Therein lies the problem. Continue reading Turnbull does energy policy on the back of an envelope

Queensland powers up for a warm summer

One morning recently, 10 October I think, local ABC radio host Steve Austin called up Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey to ask him about an announcement the Queensland government had made. Something about, on a voluntary basis, turning down your aircon so it runs at 26C and being paid for the power saved.

Bailey obviously had a story to tell, but wasn’t given a chance to tell it. Austin is not a boofhead, but he sometimes does a good imitation of one. In this case Bailey was bullied and harassed, “Just answer my question!”, which was whether the purpose of the scheme was to save people money, or to keep the lights on, I think there was a third option which I’ve forgotten. In any case the answer “All of the above” was not permitted, and we never found out what the scheme was about.

With Bailey dispatched, Austin gave LNP spokesman Scott Emerson the opportunity of a free rant, presumably in the name of ‘balance’ with no right of reply for Bailey. Later in the morning Austin told us he had trouble getting people to come on the show! What a surprise! Continue reading Queensland powers up for a warm summer

Trump walking away from Iran nuclear deal

There was a disturbing interview with Stan Grant in the last edition of The Link on ABC TV. Trump and other major powers have a deal with Iran has called the deal with Iran where trade sanctions have been lifted in exchange for Iran stopping its nukes program. Trump has called the deal an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated” and has threatened to nix it.

And now he has. Not completely, but he’s on the way by ‘de-certifying’ it. Continue reading Trump walking away from Iran nuclear deal

Saturday salon 14/10

1. Jacaranda time!

There are festivals in Grafton and in Goodna, which for the uninitiated is between Ipswich and Brisbane, but not for another two weeks! Seems a bit late to me.

Any way the jacarandas are out in Brisbane now, so the place is turning purple. This photo is near the lake in the grounds of the University of Queensland:

Continue reading Saturday salon 14/10

Abbott’s ‘Daring to doubt’ – how does the science stand up?

Not well at all, according to the scientists. Actually it is a travesty of language to call Abbott’s position “science”. In this piece I’ll highlight the kind of thinking that unfortunately cannot be dismissed as an Abbott aberration, but has the Turnbull government in it’s thrall. Let’s start with David Rowe’s amazing cartoon from the AFR:

Continue reading Abbott’s ‘Daring to doubt’ – how does the science stand up?

Tony Abbott finds his true voice on climate

This David Rowe cartoon comes from the days when Tony Abbott actually led the country. Originally he had been a weathervane on climate change. However, as Katherine Murphy points out, he had done enough positive work on climate change as a leader, for example by signing us up the Paris agreement and retaining the RET, to disqualify himself from speaking to a group of climate denialists in London. She thinks is latest frolic is sad and cynical – just Abbott being disruptive as usual. Continue reading Tony Abbott finds his true voice on climate

Climate clippings 117

On Monday and Tuesday this week we are going to have the AFR national Energy Summit in Sydney with everyone there, including Josh, Jay, Bill, Andrew Vesey and a different Malcolm Roberts (Chief Executive, APPEA). Should be fun.

The Weekend AFR had about half a dozen articles, led off by an article by Ben Potter, Angela Macdonald-Smith and Mark Ludlow (no doubt pay-walled) which said our energy has become dirty, expensive and annoyingly unreliable. They reckon something has to be done, it’s just that:

the causes identified by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – or unofficial backbench energy spokesman Tony Abbott – are not the same as the causes power industry experts and regulators highlight. Continue reading Climate clippings 117

We deserve better

In recent times we have had a number of polls in which the Australian people have shown good sense, though not all the time, as we shall see. However, the politics we deserve better than the politics we get.

The latest Essential Report has found that support for same-sex marriage is now at 61-32 in favour, with Labor voters almost as positive as the Greens. Whether you go to church or not does seem to make a difference. The more people go to church the less positive they are.

Of those who voted, 64% say they voted ‘yes’, as against 30% ‘no’ and 6% prefer not to say. Continue reading We deserve better

Climate clippings 116

1. South Australia wants an apology from the PM

On September 28 we had the first anniversary of the dirty big storm the brought down the power pylons in South Australia causing a state-wide blackout, as the Heywood interconnector exceeded capacity and tripped.

Now the state want an apology from the PM. Energy minister Tom Koutsantonis: Continue reading Climate clippings 116

Electricity shock

Rod Sims’ speech Shining a light: Australia’s gas and electricity affordability problem to the National Press Club certainly established that Australia has a gas and electricity affordability problem which is hurting many consumers and businesses. Electricity prices have more than doubled since 2009 as shown in this graph:

Continue reading Electricity shock

Saturday salon 30/9

1. The power of Tweet

South Australia’s Craigburn Primary School organised a Do It In A Dress fundraising drive with the aim of raising $900 to help girls in Africa who did not have access to education.

    Senator Bernardi tweeted his frustration about the idea on Wednesday by writing, “This gender morphing is really getting absurd”.

    That tweet prompted a backlash and a flood of donations and in less than 48 hours, the school had hit $200,000.

Continue reading Saturday salon 30/9