Adani – a mirage that will dissolve into mist?

The Adani board has given the nod to the $16.5 billion Carmichael projects which would generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, with pre-construction works starting in the September quarter of 2017.

Yet there are some cautionary voices:

Continue reading Adani – a mirage that will dissolve into mist?

Looking forward to Finkel

The Finkel review of the National Electricity Market is due to be revealed to the premiers at COAG tomorrow, but is you’ve been reading the Australian Financial Review it’s all done and dusted. There’s really only one horse in the race, and it’s the Low Emissions Target (LET), which Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute says is the third last horse in the race, but picked because it’s better than the other two. That may be harsh, but the visionary scheme was first proposed by John Howard in 2007. Here’s Howard and Costello launching the scheme way back then:

It’s the least-worst, least-best carbon pricing scheme, but has the attraction of giving coal a chance of sticking around for a while. Continue reading Looking forward to Finkel

Are the Chinese doing their share on climate change?

Donald Trump in announcing that the USA will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement made a big fuss about the Chinese being able to increase their emissions, and that this was unfair to the US economy.

So what are the Chinese doing, and is it enough? Continue reading Are the Chinese doing their share on climate change?

Saturday salon 3/6 (late edition)

1. Leadership traits

The major polls currently have Labor ahead 53-47 at both Newspoll and Essential Report on a Two-Party Preferred basis. Andrew Beaumont has commentary. Labor would have 82 seats to the LNP’s 63, with 5 Other.

Essentially Turnbull and the LNP are going nowhere. However, the leaders approval ratings are dreadful. In Essential Turnbull is net -11 and Shorten -14. In Newspoll Turnbull is -19, and Shorten -20, both up a bit, with Turnbull’s the best since September 2015.

Newspoll took a look at Leadership traits across the years since Rudd in September 2008 and Gillard in July-August 2010. Their ratings are simply stellar compared to what we think of our leaders now. Continue reading Saturday salon 3/6 (late edition)

Trump shoots himself in the foot on climate

Trump has announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and seek to negotiate a ‘better’ agreement. I liked Emmanuel Macron’s reaction – “Lets make the planet great again”. Germany, France and Italy have committed to carry on, China will relish the opportunity to move into the vacuum.

Paul Hawken, who knows more about climate change action than most (post coming up) recently said:

    First of all, let’s be honest: The US has never led in this area. Ever. When they’ve tried on an executive level, they’ve never been supported by Congress. States have led, cities have led, but never the federal government.

Even so, he said people in the US think they lead in “this stuff”. They don’t, it’s Germany, China, France and Denmark. Continue reading Trump shoots himself in the foot on climate

Learning from Lindt Cafe siege

Generally speaking coroner Michael Barnes’s report on the Lindt Café siege has been well-received, but not everyone is happy. The Police Association of New South Wales pre-empted the report, calling it a witch hunt. Bernard Keane at Crikey thinks we now need a full judicial inquiry. ABC’s Four Corners provided a platform for the relatives of the victims (see The Siege Part One and The Siege Part Two who want adverse findings to be made, people within the police force to be charged, and the psychiatrist consulted at the time never to work for government again.However, Martin McKenzie-Murray in an excellent piece at Saturday Paper Making sense of the Sydney siege thinks it has a “deft balancing of respect and criticism”. [Saturday Paper allows one free view per week.]

As Mark Kenny points out, there is no nonviolent way of storming a venue. Collateral deaths are always to be expected. If police had stormed the cafe early, others relatives may now be saying that their loved ones died because the police blundered in.

In fact the police thought that Man Haron Monis had a bomb. They thought everyone in the cafe might die; they themselves expected to die. Some of them called loved ones to say goodbye before they went in. Continue reading Learning from Lindt Cafe siege

Saturday salon 27/5

1. Margaret Court pipes up

No doubt you remember this from Saturday salon 13/5:

Margaret Court, tennis legend, later Pentecostal Christian minister in 1991 and now a minister at Perth’s Victory Life Church, brought a storm upon her head when she said she would no longer fly Qantas because of Alan Joyce’s advocacy for same-sex marriage. Continue reading Saturday salon 27/5

Energy crossroads

Transformer over orange sky
The initial stimulus for this post was an article in the AFR entitled We are at an energy crossroad (paper version) by Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute, based on a new report Powering through: how to restore confidence in the National Electricity Market and a series of articles mainly at RenewEconomy. I’ll summarise them Climate clippings style, so the story should emerge and you can follow the links for elaboration if you choose. Continue reading Energy crossroads

Snakes alive

For something a bit different, for many years our neighborhood has had a carpet python that visited the back yards from time to time, where it cleaned up any vermin and then moved onto the next house. At over two metres it was sizeable – we know it has devoured a possum or two. Recently when it appeared in a yard nearby, hanging about in a small tree, we thought it might be dead after it stayed motionless for a couple of days:

Continue reading Snakes alive

Saturday salon 20/5

1. The Trump Presidency Falls Apart

That’s the story from David Graham at The Atlantic, who details fully the events over just 10 days, some of which haven’t been picked up by our media.

The bottom line is that Trump is not up to the job, his minions are not up to saving him, often mislead him or don’t tell him the truth, he doesn’t take much notice of them, and the place leaks like a sieve. This will play out over a long period, but there are serious questions about whether his presidency can achieve anything. Continue reading Saturday salon 20/5

How the 2017 budget was made

There was a story around that Mark Textor had a hand in the creation of the 2017 budget. Joe Aston in the AFR says Forget Mark Textor, JWS’ John Scales was the Treasurer’s budget pollster. Aston says that Scales, who was a protégé of Textor’s did the real work, or at least his company JWS Research.

However, Textor did play an important role. The Daily Telegraph reported back in early April that Textor’s research (for the Liberal Party) “highlighted the critical issue of housing affordability”, following which, ScoMo proposed changes to negative gearing that were shot down immediately by Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton. Continue reading How the 2017 budget was made

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff