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.

Weekly salon 17/11

1. ScoMo on skates

He’s certainly on something. Paddy Manning in The Monthly has an article ScoMo-tion demise: The accidental PM appears accident prone:

    As it limps towards the end of 2018, the Morrison government is gradually establishing its own grand narrative – one of staggering ineptitude as it lurches from one self-inflicted crisis to another. On decisions from Jerusalem to Foodbank, there is no overarching purpose here, there is no direction or strategy, there are only missteps and backdowns, seemingly born of the blinkered pursuit of base political advantage, which never materialises. For a PM schooled in marketing, these are textbook fails. For the federal Opposition, the coup against Malcolm Turnbull has proved the gift that keeps on giving.

    Today we read, in a Fairfax Media report that has not been denied, that former trade minister Steve Ciobo has privately advised the Indonesian trade minister that there is only a 5 per cent chance that Australia will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. It is hard to see how the prime minister could have made more of a mess of this: Australia will have managed to offend everybody concerned, to no end.

Continue reading Weekly salon 17/11

Big investors slam ‘big stick’ approach

Today’s AFR carries an article Investors warn of consequences of cutting electricity retailer margins (the print version was “‘Crazy’ to target energy retail margins, warn big investors”):

    Big investors have slammed the Morrison government’s “big stick” approach to the electricity sector, saying any move to force companies to cut prices will have a major impact on profits, future investment and result in less competition in the long term. Continue reading Big investors slam ‘big stick’ approach

Sovereign risk is now real

Energy industry warns Morrison power plans would disrupt market was the story to begin the week in the AFR. Meridian Energy Australia chief executive Ed McManus said that the government intervention risked crowding out investors from the energy market and creating a “spiral effect”:

    “The more the government do things, the more private investors hold back. The more private investors hold back, the more there is a need for government to do things,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

    “You get in a position where, looking out several years, the market as we know it disintegrates. When that happens you need very, very deep pockets to fill the gap.”

Continue reading Sovereign risk is now real

Weekly salon 11/11

1. ScoMo’s magical bus tour to the deep north

PM Scott Morrison took a special bus tour up the Queensland Coast, except he flew in a plane because the bus was too slow, and the rest of the time he wanted to talk with Queenslanders, who weren’t to be found in the bus. Then he drank lots of XXXX beer and chomped on pies to show he’s a regular, fair dinkum guy bloke. Junkee has more, lots more:

Continue reading Weekly salon 11/11

Climate clippings 227

1. Bill Ferris: Coalition can’t stop energy shift

That was the headline in the dead tree version of the AFR. Bill Ferris is the outgoing Science and Innovation Australia chair. He says he didn’t find the Coalition government’s rewriting of the ACCC report to support coal-fired power a helpful signal, but:

    what I am seeing – and you see it in the US as well – is that business and state governments are getting on with alternative energy sources, mainly renewables and storage,” said Mr Ferris, a veteran venture capitalist.

    “That ain’t going to stop and it won’t stop because a government is concerned about the electoral impact. Continue reading Climate clippings 227

Final US election update

On Wednesday about lunchtime we should get news of the first results of the 2018 US mid-term elections. Some have characterised it as a referendum on the presidency of Donald Trump.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In fact it may represent a step to make The US more democratic, as well as more Democratic (see Governors and democracy below). Continue reading Final US election update

Weekly salon 4/11

1. Has Australian politics jumped the shark?

“Jumped the shark” is not a usual phrase for me, but Urban Dictionary says:

    The beginning of the end. Something is said to have “jumped the shark” when it has reached its peak and begun a downhill slide to mediocrity or oblivion.

Here’s Mark David’s take on Scott Morrison post the Wentworth by-election:

Continue reading Weekly salon 4/11

Climate clippings 226

The last Climate clippings was on July 2. Time to get back on the bike. Unfortunately this edition is not full of good news, apart from the prospect of eating the carcasses and droppings of bacteria feeding on hydrogen (see # 5). Next time I’ll try to catch up with some climate action.

1. Global Temperature in 2017

How warm is it now? The simple answer is that it is warmer than the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C told us, and it’s looking a bit like a fix. The Arctic News post IPCC keeps feeding the addiction tells how the baseline point for measuring warming has been cherry-picked and altered. And queries why they stopped at 2015, when the 2016 and 2017 temperatures were known. Continue reading Climate clippings 226

Moving to a Venezuelan energy policy

Scott Morrison put in a fine effort to stop the votes that would have retained Wentworth for the Liberals. And he succeeded. Now he seems intent on stopping the $200 billion worth of investment that will be needed to transform the electricity sector.

Craig Emerson in his weekly column for the AFR on Monday drew attention the Venezuelan comparison. On 22 November 2017 they passed a law:

    Known as the Constitutional Law of Agreed Prices, the law authorizes regulatory authorities to reach agreements with industry representatives on maximum sale prices for key staples.

Continue reading Moving to a Venezuelan energy policy

Weekly salon 28/10

1. Glyphosate one of the safest farm chemicals – Ben Selinger

On ABC RN’s The Science Show Robyn Williams spoke to Kate Hughes, Research Assistant in the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, and Ben Selinger, Emeritus Professor at ANU (transcript available) in the light of the ABC Four Corners program The Monsanto Papers.

Kate Hughes lives in a valley in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area. The decision is simple. Either you use glyphosate to counter the Chinese false bamboo, or you have a valley choked with the weed. Continue reading Weekly salon 28/10

Brazil election climate alert

    In Brazil’s first-round election on October 7, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro outperformed what polls predicted to win 46% of the vote — less than 5 points short of an outright victory. His top rival, left-leaning Fernando Haddad, earned 29%. The two will face each other in an October 28 runoff.

That’s from AS/COA Poll Tracker.

According to Megan Darcy at Climate Home News, Bolsonaro plans to gut forest protections and open the Amazon to exploitation, while Haddad is promising to install half a million solar rooftops a year. Continue reading Brazil election climate alert

Wentworth a tipping point?

Cartoonist Mark David shows how Scott Morrison applied his proven skills in the Wentworth by-election:

Many commentators including Laura Tingle, talking to Phillip Adams, said the numerous own goals from the Coalition prior to the election turned enough votes away from the Liberal candidate David Sharma and towards Kerryn Phelps for the latter to win. The latest count shows Phelps ahead 51/49 two party preferred, with Phelps coming from a first preference count of 29.1% as against Sharma of 43.2%. Continue reading Wentworth a tipping point?