The sea is anything but level

Did you know that if you swam from a point south of India to Indonesia you would be swimming 200 metres uphill?

Did you know that the Ecuadorean peak Chimborazo is two kilometres higher that Mount Everest if measured from the centre of the earth?

Those are not the only issues with sea level. When the Swiss and the Germans built a bridge at the border at Laufenberg, the Germans calibrated the height to a benchmark in Amsterdam, while the Swiss used one in Marseilles. They knew there was 27cm difference, but they added where they should have subtracted and met with a yawning gap of 54cm! Continue reading The sea is anything but level

Climate clippings 198

1. LiquidPiston engine

The innovative LiquidPiston engine, mentioned by BilB, is targetting a global market worth $460 billion. It has a power to weight ratio more than ten times better than a regular engine:

The big bruiser on the left puts out 35 HP, the one on the right 40 HP. Continue reading Climate clippings 198

What is Trump up to?

It has emerged that Donald Trump was from youth a regular church-goer and an enormous admirer of his pastor, one Norman Vincent Peale, whose 1952 book The Power of Positive Thinking was translated into 15 languages, remained on the New York Times best-seller list for 186 weeks and sold 5 million copies.

Peale’s son is not so keen on Trump, but Trump is very keen on himself. His biographer says Peale’s influence is the source of Trump’s boundless self-confidence, and is the key to his persona, along with his father’s modus operandi and interest in branding.

Trump’s “America first” meme presented as somewhat isolationist. What has emerged in his recent speech to the joint houses of Congress, is that Trump has in fact embraced American exceptionalism, the notion that America has a special role in the world to lead the all peoples and countries to the sunny uplands of peace, justice and freedom. Trump is going to save the world. Continue reading What is Trump up to?

Saturday salon 4/3

1. Mining invades the ABC

This report gives a factual account of four appointments, two each to the ABC and SBS boards, recently announced by the Government.

The one that raised eyebrows is Vanessa Guthrie who chairs the Minerals Council of Australia and was formerly CEO of Toro Energy. She is also the deputy chair of the Western Australia Cricket Association and an independent director of the Murlpirrmurra Connection.

She’s a woman and from WA, but there is little doubt the appointment has ideological intent. Continue reading Saturday salon 4/3

Will Barnaby Joyce save Malcolm Turnbull?

Peter van Onselen, a university professor who also goes under the title of ‘Contributing editor’ at The Australian, told us last Monday that a group of Liberal MPs had tried to bring Malcolm Turnbull down (paywalled):

    A group of conservative Liberal MPs calling themselves “the deplorables” held regular phone hook-ups after last year’s close election result to co-ordinate a strategy to attack Malcolm Turnbull on several policy fronts and to get Tony Abbott back into cabinet.

    The hook-ups throughout the second half of last year were instigated by Mr Abbott and Eric Abetz via calendar invites and group texts, with the pair chairing meetings that included directives to junior MPs to use the media to pressure the Turnbull government on issues such as Safe Schools and amending section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Continue reading Will Barnaby Joyce save Malcolm Turnbull?

Climate clippings 197

1. Global plan to save 10 per cent of coral reefs

A world-wide plane is being hatched a global plan says only 10 pc of coral reefs to save 10 per cent of coral reefs. The stark fact is that:

    Scientists estimate 90 per cent of the world’s coral reefs will disappear in the next 35 years due to coral bleaching induced by global warming, pollution and over-development.

The 50 Reefs initiative, recently launched at the World Ocean Summit in Bali, in a donor funded initiative to identify the 10% of reefs most likely to survive past 2050. Effectively it’s a triage operation. Continue reading Climate clippings 197

Poll stuff: the redhead on the surge

The dominant media narrative has been that the voters continue to desert the main parties, especially the LNP, in droves, mainly to One Nation. Reality is a bit more complex, and recent polls have thrown up other interesting results, like 64% of people overall, and 56% of LNP voters, support a royal commission into banking.

Let’s look at Newspoll first, where Labor has opened up a yawning two-party preferred gap of 55-45, up from 54-46:

Continue reading Poll stuff: the redhead on the surge

APRA warns company directors about personal liability on climate change

APRA warns company directors about personal liability on climate change. Politicians should also take note.

APRA, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, has warned company directors and other decision-makers that they may be held personally responsible for dumb investment decisions in relation to a transition to a low emissions economy. If a coal-fired power station with or without CCS becomes a stranded asset, whoever approved the funds could be in the gun.

So even if the government changes the legislation to allow CEFC to lend to new coal-powered electricity generators, responsibility still lies with the directors of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Continue reading APRA warns company directors about personal liability on climate change

Australia could be a renewable energy superpower

That’s according to Ross Gittens, drawing from Ross Garnaut.

Garnaut says that since his second review in 2011 there have been four big changes in the cost of renewable energy relative to the cost of energy from coal or gas. Continue reading Australia could be a renewable energy superpower

Henry: politicians fail while Australia burns

That was the title of Phillip Coorey’s article in the AFR about Ken Henry’s withering speech to the Committee of Economic Development. For those who came in late, Dr Ken Henry was secretary of treasury from 2001 to 2011, appointed originally by Peter Costello and served during the Rudd/Gillard years. He is now chairman of the NAB board.

I think it was the news story of the week. Continue reading Henry: politicians fail while Australia burns

Saturday salon 25/2

1. Abbott’s full frontal attack

Tony Abbott obviously feels he has to save the nation from his successor Malcolm Turnbull, with a five point plan. Here’s four:

    The policy manifesto, which was splashed across the front page of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph on Friday morning, included freezing the renewable energy target, slashing immigration numbers to improve housing affordability, cutting government spending and abolishing the Human Rights Commission.

Sorry, he wants to abolish the Renewable Energy Target and let the market do whatever it does. James Massola at the SMH has the fifth: Continue reading Saturday salon 25/2

This toxic energy row must end

That is the title of an article by Jay Weatherill as we suffered the recent heatwave. He believes that electricity supply is a public good and should be in public hands. However, the article is really a plea to Malcolm Turnbull to keep an emissions intensity scheme (EIS) on the table.

Weatherill says that we do indeed have an impending crisis, with the planned closing of Hazelwood, and another nine coal-fired power stations closing across the country: Continue reading This toxic energy row must end

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff