Tag Archives: Open Threads

Saturday salon 30/8

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Union believes ABC cut will be much bigger

Depressing!

The coalition government’s review of the ABC has recommended much deeper cuts than previously proposed, the journalists’ union believes.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) says it has been advised that the government’s Lewis Review into ABC and SBS efficiency will suggest dramatically exceeding the $120 million of cuts over four years in the May budget.

It believes the review will effectively recommend a total cut of more than $130 million in the next 12 months and more than $100 million in each subsequent year.

MEAA federal secretary Christopher Warren warned that the cuts, and the reduction in staff numbers, would cause irreversible damage to the national broadcaster.

“The cuts the Lewis Review is set to propose would decimate the ABC,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Severe cuts would have a direct impact on vital and unique services and would likely reduce the number of foreign bureaus and cause a distinct drop in the ABC’s rural and regional reach.

2. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Kelly Higgins-Devine interviewed the author of Sapiens, Yuval Harari. Has anyone read it or found a decent review? Here’s a bit of a rave.

Harari reckons the key to our success as a species is the ability to cooperate en masse flexibly rather than inflexibly like ants.

3. Long-term Gaza ceasefire deal struck

But will it stick?

From The World Today on Wednesday:

After 50 days of conflict which killed more than 2,000 people, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have now agreed to a long-term ceasefire over Gaza.

The deal was brokered in Cairo overnight and will see the Israeli government ease its blockade of Gaza.

4. Qantas posts worst loss in airline’s history

CEO says Qantas has ‘turned a corner’ after posting its worst loss

Will it work? Qantas’ former chief economist crunches the numbers

Unions blame management for massive Qantas loss

Enough is enough – it’s time to go Alan Joyce

Virgin’s operating loss, proportionate to size, was about as bad as that of Qantas, whose loss was mainly asset write-downs. I think air fares are going to become more expensive.

Saturday salon 23/8

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

For some reason three of the Saturday salons I preset to appear while I was away didn’t show up.

As mentioned elsewhere I didn’t hear much news apart from Hockey’s foot-in-mouth contribution. Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention since I got back.

1. Abbott reacts as per script

From The Brisbane Times
:

Horrific acts of terrorism such as the “truly sickening and utterly evil” beheading of journalist James Foley could happen in Western countries including Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said.

Bernard Keane at Crikey:

Yes, Prime Minister, that’s exactly why IS chose an executioner with a British accent, to induce hysteria from people like you.

From Facebook:

10385377_10152391991503191_5473164664640791266_n

I think Abbott is hoping for a war or something to boost his electoral stocks.

2. The real deal on Islamic State

Michael Ware, interviewed by Richard Fidler, gives perhaps the best exposition I’ve heard on the origins and nature of Islamic State. He’s also good on other jihadist groups and Islamic political movements elsewhere. He says IS are very media savvy and know exactly what effect on-camera executions will have. IS is by far the most extreme and vicious we have yet seen.

Ware’s forthcoming documentary Only the Dead to be released in 2015 shapes as essential viewing.

3. Rundle on the coming East-West conflict

Rundle reckons that Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie are uttering what many ordinary citizens believe when warning about invasions by China or Indonesia. Indeed he reckons that East-West conflict leading to a multi-polar world and a form of reverse colonisation is pretty much inevitable some time this century.

I think Rundle overcooks it somewhat but there is a perception that we are slack and lazy and have vast unoccupied space. There is every reason why we should be alert, but the move is more likely to be commercial in character. China, for example, would love to use their own labour to extract our minerals.

This photo of Abbott and the Japanese PM is priceless:

abbottjapan1_500

4. Poll Bludger: Sunshine State could deal Abbott govt a body blow

William Bowe explains that support for the LNP is on the slide federally in Queensland to an extent that could see Shorten in the Lodge. There are as many winnable seats for Labor in Qld as there are in NSW with its larger population. In fact in Qld the ‘sophomore effect’ only applies to two seats. This effect, worth about 1.5%, applies when you have a first-timer in the seat. Only two Qld seats fell in 2013, whereas a stack fell in 2010.

Saturday salon 16/8

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Alice Springs – Simpson’s Desert odyssey progress

Where we are depends on whether we needed to extra day in the schedule for the desert crossing. If we made it across (praise the Lord!) we could be travelling from Birdsville to Windorah or Windorah to Emerald.

Climate clippings 103

Climate clippings_175

I like to think that at Climate Plus we cover all the important issues and happenings. In this edition we look at two significant reports, one by Jeffrey Sachs to the UN Secretary General and the IEA’s World Energy Investment Outlook 2014.

As usual use Climate clippings as an open thread on climate change.

1. Deep Decarbonization Pathways

Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs found that Australia could cut emissions from its energy sector to zero by 2050 and still grow GDP by an average of 2.4% over that period. That was in an interim report recently delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plotting

specific measures for the world’s 15 largest economies, including China, India and the US, to cut their emissions quickly and deeply enough to meet an international agreed goal of limiting warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

What we do matters!

The report

found that it’s technically possible for Australia to get almost all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and to offset the rest by storing carbon in soil or planting more trees.

We can do that while GDP grows at 2.4% per annum, but it is interesting that our per capita growth rate is the lowest of the 15, India the highest.

There’s more about Sachs here.

2. Catalyst does sea level rise

It was scary, but could have, should have been scarier.

The program depended heavily on the last interglacial, the Eemian, as an analogue for now. It made the link through temperatures and probably got them a bit wrong. We’ll likely get more than 2°C this century, and the Eemian global average was possibly only 1°C higher than now.

Fundamentally the problem is this. CO2 levels during the Eemian which produced around 9 metres of sea level rise were never above 300 ppm. At 400 ppm, as we are now, the implied sea level rise is more like 20 to 25 metres, played out over the centuries.

Still they could have pointed out just how horrendous a 9 metre rise would be, other than the throwaway comment about most mega cities being displaced. At 9 metres significant chunks disappear from continents as in China:

China_cropped_600

Here’s SE Asia courtesy of the Firetree flood map:

SE Asia_cropped_600

At the end it suggested that we could cope by building sea walls, except that it would be expensive. Sea walls are not going to cope with nine metres, let alone 20.

This Skeptical Science post gives useful information about the Eemian, although it too arguably needs updating. I think scientists are settling on a higher sea level rise for the Eemian than the 5 metres suggested, more like the 9 metres of the Catalyst program. Also at least some parts of Greenland are thought to have been 10°C warmer than now, rather than 5°C.

3. The search for the clean coal holy grail

Radio National’s generally excellent Background Briefing program has turned its guns on a ‘clean coal’ technology called DICE – Direct Injection Carbon Engine. Would you believe, a DICE engine runs on a slurry of finely ground coal and water? One purpose seems to be to make brown coal as emissions efficient as black coal – a pointless exercise in terms of current climate mitigation needs. Inherently significant energy must be spent to get the coal into the required state.

The history seems to be one of shonky technology projects run by shonks, but the CSIRO is now involved and our visionary government is throwing money at the venture.

4. World Energy Investment Outlook 2014

The International Energy Association’s latest report is billed as its first full update since the 2003 World Energy Investment Outlook. It’s been out since 3 June. So far I’ve failed in my ambition to do a separate post, so I’ll just do a brief note here.

This post from the Post Carbon Institute is a packet of joy. It says that the IEA report “should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits” or looking for early retirement. Seems we need a mere $48 trillion in investment through to 2035 to keep things on track. But:

The IEA forecasts that only 15 percent of the needed $48 trillion will go to renewable energy. All the rest is required just to patch up our current oil-coal-gas energy system so that it doesn’t run into the ditch for lack of fuel. But how much investment would be required if climate change were to be seriously addressed? Most estimates look only at electricity (that is, they gloss over the pivotal and problematic transportation sector) and ignore the question of energy returned on energy invested. Even when we artificially simplify the problem this way, $7.2 trillion spread out over twenty years simply doesn’t cut it. One researcher estimates that investments will have to ramp up to $1.5 to $2.5 trillion per year. In effect, the IEA is telling us that we don’t have what it takes to sustain our current energy regime, and we’re not likely to invest enough to switch to a different one.

If you look at the trends cited and ignore misleading explicit price forecasts, the IEA’s implicit message is clear: continued oil price stability looks problematic. And with fossil fuel prices high and volatile, governments will likely find it even more difficult to devote increasingly scarce investment capital toward the development of renewable energy capacity. (Emphasis added)

Saturday salon 19/7

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. National Library archives

The National Library of Australia plans to include the Climate Plus website in its PANDORA Archive, so our words here will be immortalised!

2. The Australian newspaper celebrates 50 years in print…

…with a glowing endorsement from Tony Abbott.

The Australian has celebrated 50 years in print with a glowing endorsement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who said John Howard had the newspaper to thank for his elevation to the nation’s top job.

Abbott apparently thinks it’s OK for a newspaper to play an active role in politics, in spite of his weasel words.

The article gives an account of the puke-making love-in between Tony Abbott and Rupert Murdoch.

On the same day Phillip Adams pointed out that the ABC had just said good-bye to some of its staff due to government funding cuts.

3. Melbourne language cacophony

More languages are spoken in Melbourne than there are countries in the world, a cacophony of 251 tongues whose voices stretch to all corners of the city.

Melbourne languages_cropped_600

Across the city, three in 10 people speak a language other than English when they get home. In seven suburbs, English is not the dominant language. Arabic is the sixth-most commonly spoken language other than English in metropolitan Melbourne, behind Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Cantonese.

The population is very mixed compared to American cities such as Chicago and Washington DC, which are very segregated. Italian is the most widely dispersed non-English language, followed by German and Dutch.

4. Morgan shows ALP at 56.5% down 1% as new senate blocks carbon tax repeal

f a Federal Election were held today the ALP would win easily (56.5%, down 1%) cf. L-NP (43.5%, up 1%) on a two-party preferred basis according to today’s multi-mode Morgan Poll conducted over the last two weekends – July 5/6 & 12/13, 2014.

Morgan Jy 2014_600

It would be too funny if passing the carbon ‘tax’ repeal saw the restoration of LNP fortunes.

Analysis by Gender

Analysis by Gender shows that ALP support remains strongest amongst women with the ALP 60.5% well ahead of the L-NP 39.5% on a two-party preferred basis. Support amongst men is closer with the ALP 52.5% just ahead of the L-NP on 47.5%.

Analysis by States

The ALP maintains a strong two-party preferred lead in all Australian States except Western Australia: L-NP 50.5% cf. ALP 49.5%. New South Wales: ALP 55% cf. L-NP 45%, Victoria: ALP 58.5% cf. L-NP 41.5%, Queensland: ALP 56.5% cf. L-NP 43.5%, South Australia: ALP 64.5% cf. L-NP 35.5% and Tasmania: ALP 61% cf. L-NP 39%.

5. Stafford by-election

We’ll keep an eye on this one. Antony Green says he expected a double digit swing in the polls for the inner-northern Brisbane seat, citing the 17 per cent swing against the LNP at the Redcliffe by-election earlier this year and recent opinion polls. Janine Walker told local radio that anything less than 20% and the LNP will reckon they’ve been let off easy.

Notably, PUP is not running. She says they know they won’t win so they want to maximise the protest vote for Labor. The idea is to bury the LNP as deep as possible.

Most south of the border reckon Palmer is about self-interest or revenge. Walker says all the above and more, but he thinks strategically and is focussed on power.

6. FIFA wins

Remember this?

Popes praying_10449976_816909721666770_8792909987461327130_n

Germany won, but did it?

John Oliver explains that soccer is a religion, FIFA is its church. It’s evil, even murderous and frankly appalling. Soccer excites the masses like no other sport, but FIFA takes the gold – literally!

Thanks to my friend in Erlangen for the heads-up!

Climate clippings 102

This week we start with trouble at the top and bottom of the world and finish with trouble with our leading media magnate and politician.

1. Geenland at a tipping point?

THE cracks are beginning to show. Greenland’s ice sheets slid into the sea 400,000 years ago, when Earth was only a little warmer than it is today. That could mean we are set for a repeat performance.

If Greenland goes, West Antarctica also goes, giving 13 metres of sea level rise from those sources. If that happens there will also be a complete loss of other glaciers and ice caps, thermal expansion and some partial melting from East Antarctica. A mess!

The question is how soon and what can we do? The answer is we need more research and we need to think more in terms of centuries.

We should be thinking about the next 500-1000 years, how ice sheet decay can be minimised, stabilised and headed in the other direction. Our plans for the next 50-200 years should be made in the light of this.

This image from the article shows a part of Greenland where the ice is quite dynamic.These areas are expected to grow.

New scientist_mg22229752.600-1_300

Here’s an image from another article:

greenland_cs_500

2. Big trouble in the Antarctic has been brewing for a long time

David Spratt at Climate Code Red:

“A game changer” is how climate scientist Dr Malte Meinshausen describes newly published research that West Antarctic glaciers have passed a tipping point much earlier than expected and their disintegration is now “unstoppable” at just the current level of global warming. The research findings have shocked the scientific community. “This Is What a Holy Shit Moment for Global Warming Looks Like,” ran a headline in Mother Jones magazine.

Meinshausen says this is new information. He says that the beaches we know and love all around the world will disappear. He also wonders what other nasty surprises lie this side of a 2°C temperature rise. Spratt says we told you ages ago it was coming, by James Hansen, for example and by himself and Philip Sutton in 2007.

This NASA image shows the temperature changes from 1957 to 2006:

AntarcticaTemps_1957-2006_lrg_600

Hansen warned; Meinshausen says it’s happening. Spratt warns:

It’s par for the course for climate policy-makers to hope for the best, rather than plan for the worst. More than once this blog has warned that sea-level rises are being underestimated by Australian policy-makers, and that the tens of millions of dollars being put into adaptation planning for sea-level rises of no more than 1.1 metres by 2100 will be a waste of money, and all that work will have to be done again. And now that has come to pass.

3. Huge ‘whirlpools’ in the ocean are driving the weather

GIANT “whirlpools” in the ocean carry far more water than expected and have a big impact on the weather – though as yet we don’t know exactly what.

The areas of swirling water are 100 to 500 kilometres across. These “eddies” generally move west, driven by Earth’s rotation, until they stop spinning. Now, for the first time, the amount of water and heat they carry has been measured.

Article and image available also here.

dn25801_1_300

4. Gorgeous BioCasa_82

Nestled into the pastoral landscape of Treviso, Italy, BioCasa_82 is a beautiful home that boasts some seriously energy-efficient technologies.

BioCasa_82_cropped_600

The house is made from 99% recyclable materials and scores

117 points out of 136, according to the American protocol LEED Platinum, and 10 out of 11 points in regards to innovation in design, the building is a real gem in the European building practice.

According to the carbon footprint analysis, BioCasa_82 yields 60% less emissions than traditional buildings. Its photovoltaic system produces around 14kWh/mq of electricity, and a high-efficiency geothermal plant provides heat, hot water and cooling. These strategies are complemented by a rainwater harvesting system.

5. Rupert Murdoch doesn’t understand climate change basics

That is everyone’s problem since he owns a world-wide media empire.

Many of Murdoch’s news outlets are also among the worst when it comes to getting climate science wrong and disseminating climate myths and misinformation. Inaccurate media coverage is in turn the primary reason why the public is so misinformed about global warming.

I won’t go into the details, but Climate Progress observes that he ‘lowballed’ the numbers and minimized possible impacts. Here in Oz:

”We can be the low-cost energy country in the world,” he said. “We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish.”

Elsewhere Graham Readfearn finds that Tony Abbott’s views on climate are seriously crap.

Reminder: Use this thread as an open thread on climate change.

Saturday salon 12/7

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Trust in institutions

The High Court is the most trusted institution in Australia, followed by the ABC and the Reserve Bank. They are the only ones with more than 50% trust. Political parties are the pits. Overall there doesn’t seem to be as much trust around as last year.

Courtesy of this post we have the Readers’ Digest Australia’s Most Trusted Professions 2013. The top six are firefighters, paramedics, rescue volunteers, nurses, pilots and doctors.

Journalists are 43rd out of 50, just ahead of talkback radio hosts, real estate agents and sex workers. Politicians are 49th only ahead of door-to-door salespeople.

2. Which side is God on?

Popes praying_10449976_816909721666770_8792909987461327130_n

Courtesy of Mark’s Facebook.

3. Seven Goals For Brazil (Through Street Art)

paulo_ito_0

Street art by Brazilian artist Paulo Ito on the entrance of a public schoolhouse in Sao Paulo. Image via the artist’s Facebook page.

Check the link for more. Also courtesy of Mark’s Facebook.

4. 20 Great Existential Films You Need To Watch

Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman had to be on the list, but I don’t know Ikiru and Shame. Through a Glass Darkly is one of my favourite Bergman films.

I missed Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad and perhaps Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire

Others?

5. Commonwealth Games swimming uniforms

Surely this is a joke!

Swimming costumes_1404430855245.jpg-600

What do you think?

6. Palmer blows up budget

Clive Palmer has blown a fresh $9 billion hole in the Abbott government’s budget by torpedoing Coalition plans to abolish the Schoolkids Bonus, the low-income superannuation contribution scheme and a bonus for welfare recipients.

That’s nothing, Hockey is accusing Bill Shorten is of blocking $40bn of savings.

The Conversation has an explainer. Should be fun!

Saturday salon 5/7

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. ALP (57.5%) increases lead over L-NP (42.5%)

From Roy Morgan:

If a Federal Election were held today the ALP would win in a landslide (57.5%, up 2%) cf. L-NP (42.5%, down 2%) on a two-party preferred basis according to today’s multi-mode Morgan Poll conducted the last two weekends – June 21/22 & 28/29, 2014.

Morgan has the ALP primary vote at 36.5% and the LNP at 35%.

The Greens support is 12% (unchanged), support for the Palmer United Party (PUP) is 7% (up 1.5%) and support for Independents/Others is 9.5% (up 1.5%). PUP polled 13% in Qld.

2. Abbott falls further behind Shorten in latest Newspoll

Here’s the poll.

Shorten leads Abbott 44 to 34 as preferred prime minister.

Labor leads 55-45 TPP up from 53-47.

… the Coalition would attract 35% of the primary vote if an election were held now, compared with 37% for Labor, 13% for the Greens, and 15% for others.

3. First World War centenary

It seems we could be celebrating this one for the next four years.

Radio National has a series of special broadcasts.

Quiggin reckons we’ve learnt nothing and have been fighting ever since.

Kelly Higgins-Devine looked at some big battles held in July, mostly in Europe.

4. Battle of Leipzig

Did you know that the battle of Leipzig in 1813 which ended the Napoleonic Wars as such involved over 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.

The French had around 160,000 soldiers along with 700 guns plus 15,000 Poles, 10,000 Italians, and 40,000 Germans belonging to the Confederation of the Rhine, totaling to 225,000 troops on the Napoleonic side. The coalition had some 380,000 troops[2] along with 1,500 guns, consisting of 145,000 Russians, 110,000 Austrians and Hungarians, 90,000 Prussians, and 30,000 Swedes. This made Leipzig the largest battle of the Napoleonic wars, surpassing all of the wars’ past battles of Borodino, Wagram, Jena and Auerstadt, Ulm and Dresden.

Bigger also than Waterloo.

Casualties on both sides were astoundingly high; estimates range from 80,000 to 110,000 total killed, wounded or missing. Napoleon lost about 45,000 killed and wounded.

Out of a total force of 430,000, the Allies suffered approximately 54,000 casualties. Schwarzenberg’s Bohemian Army lost 34,000, Blücher’s Silesian Army lost 12,000, while Bernadotte’s Army of the North and Bennigsen’s Army of Poland lost about 4,000 each.

There is every possibility that my ancestors would have fought in the battle. It was only 35 years later that my great grandfather left Silesia. Memories of the napoleonic wars would have still been very alive, and perhaps a reason for departing to safer climes after the revolutions of 1848.

From memory, the Prussian population was depleted by about 11% during the Napoleonic wars.

5. What you don’t want to read

I already knew that visitors to this site read climate posts in fewer than half the numbers reading political posts.

This week I found out that most people really don’t want to read about Gillard and Rudd any more.

Climate clippings 101

A miscellany this week, with an emphasis on Australian policy and opinion.

The main links for each item is in the heading.

1. Kiribati buys land in Fiji

Millenium Island_9459385804_0e30488a67_k1-500

That’s Millenium Island in Kiribati which tops out at six metres above sea level. In parts of Kiribati the sea level is rising by 1.2 cm a year, about four times more than the global average.

Kiribati recently purchased eight square miles of land about 1,200 miles away on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island. The immediate intention relates to food security. They will use the land for agriculture and aquatic farming.

That’s not a lot of land but Kiribati itself comprises just over 100,000 people scattered across 33 low-lying coral atolls totalling about 313 square miles.

The article notes that Kiribati’s reef structure can grow at 10 to 15 mm a year, faster than the IPCC expects sea level to rise, but it is not certain such growth in coral reefs translates to habitable land. My expectation is that later in this century sea level rise will far outstrip any coral growth.

2. Australians unhappy over Coalition’s response to climate challenge

JWS Research on behalf of the Climate Institute found that 70% of Australians accept the mainstream scientific position that climate change is occurring, up 10% since 2012.

while more than half of respondents felt the federal government was the primary body which should address climate change, there was a negative rating of -18 when people were asked to rank the government’s performance.

This compares to a -1 rating from last year.

A mere 20% of those questioned said they are convinced that Tony Abbott is concerned about climate change, with 53% feeling that he isn’t. Nearly a third of people believe opposition leader Bill Shorten is worried about the problem, with around the same proportion of people thinking the reverse is true.

In a further blow to the Coalition, for the first time more people support carbon pricing than oppose it. According to the poll, 34% back the carbon pricing laws, up 6% on 2012. Public opposition to carbon pricing has collapsed by 22% since 2012, when the Coalition was repeatedly attacking the then Labor government over the policy, the poll found.

According to the poll, 47% of people think that carbon pricing is preferable to no climate change policy, with just 22% supporting the government’s alternative Direct Action policy…

3. Shorten vows to ‘re-litigate’ case for carbon pricing

He didn’t expect to have to but he’s prepared to argue the case from first principles. He says:

The real test of political leadership is a willingness to build consensus, to earn agreement, not just to yank the bell at the Downton Abbey political college and expect a servant class of obedient Australians to carry out your will.

Meanwhile confusion reigns in the public mind, so I wish Bill the best of luck. Essential Research found:

Essential report_cropped_600

Support for Direct action is thin and fading in this survey at 9%. Doing nothing rates at 33% (up 3%), nearly matching the total of 38% favouring carbon pricing.

4. Great Barrier Reef tougher than thought

Scientists have put together temperatures from the Great Barrier Reef for the last 20,000 years and found that the reef has survived a range of temperatures.

They found that corals survived a 5°C rise between 20,000 years ago and 13,000 years ago. The reef is more resilient to temperature change than previously thought.

Nevertheless there are a few caveat’s to consider before a general outbreak of optimism,

Dr Helen McGregor, a Research Fellow at the Australian National University and a member of the research team:

“The Great Barrier Reef has coped with temperature changes that have occurred over a few thousand years, but now we are looking at a four degrees Celsius temperature change occurring in 100 to 150 years, so it is much more rapid.”

Then there is the small matter of ocean acidification and other human-caused impacts.

5. Abbott slams green power industry

That was the headline on the front page of the Australian Financial Review on Wednesday. On the front page we read the Abbott spiel:

“The RET is very significantly driving up power prices,” Mr Abbott said.

This, he said. posed a threat to domestic budgets and industry competitiveness, especially energy-intensive industries.

“We should be the affordable energy capital of the world, not the unaffordable energy capital of the world and that’s why the carbon tax must go and that’s why we’re reviewing the RET.”

Then over on page four we read the truth:

ACIL modelling for the Warburton review finds keeping the RET will cut average household power bills by $56 per year by 2021-2030 [sic] and extending it to 30 per cent will save householders $158. Source ACIL Allen

Andrew Richards, head of external affairs at Pacific Hydro, said recently approved gas price rises in NSW will add up to $240 a year to the average household bill. There are bigger fish to fry.

It’s a pity that the AFR can’t tell the truth on the front page – that Tony Abbott is telling porkies again.

Reminder: Use this thread as an open thread on climate change.

Saturday salon 28/6

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

I’ve added a few items here in the post which impinged on my consciousness during the week. The main links, if any are in the headings.

1. The ABC will be just fine

Do the highlights of the federal government-commissioned report outlined in the Fairfax Media tabloids, sorry, compacts, this morning really “gut” the ABC, as claimed in the headline? Or are they a mixture of current practice in TV around the world (including Australia) that haven’t been fully explained by selective leaking?

It’s more of the latter. The report, written by former Seven West Media chief financial officer Peter Lewis, could save the ABC a lot of money and deliver it far more production flexibility and control.

On the other hand Quentin Dempster says “It’s what Murdoch wants”.

2. Newspapers underestimate readership

Readership figures released today from Roy Morgan Research reveal the publisher-backed figures from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma) actually undervalue 75% of newspaper brands by a combined shortfall in audience of over 4.8 million.

When compared with Roy Morgan’s ‘last four weeks’ figures, emma’s underestimate the print readership of 11 out of 12 major metro newspapers by up to 43%. When online and app audiences are included, 9 of the 12 masthead brand lose out with emma’s scoring.

Roy Morgan counts the Sydney Morning Herald’s combined print, online and app audience at 5,653,000 in an average month, compared with emma’s March published figure of 5,311,000.

At 4,227,000, Roy Morgan’s total audience for The Age is 875,000 greater than what emma tells Fairfax.

According to emma, the audience for News Corp’s The Australian is 3,213,000, while Roy Morgan’s count is 20% higher at 4,020,000.

But the biggest loser under emma is the Financial Review, which gets a monthly masthead audience of only 1,306,000—a massive 37% below Roy Morgan’s figure of 2,086,000.

3. ALP review: election loss ‘self-inflicted’

Rudd and advisers partly to blame, but the buck stops with the campaign director. This is not about assigning blame, according to Milton Dick, report co-author.

Well we’ve analysed the successful electoral results, particularly in western Sydney, in seats like Greenway, Parramatta, in places like Queensland where we weren’t expected to win any seats, in places like Lilley, Rankin and Moreton where we defied the trends, the one common theme out of those electoral results demonstrated in the evidence was that where those members are continually engaging with the community. If you want continuous campaigning, we going to adopt some of those models and some of those successful strategies, and roll them out.

I’m currently reading Troy Bramston’s book and he pretty much fingers Rudd and Bruce Hawker. Not helped by the fact that HQ was populated by Gillard loyalists.

4. Asylum seekers already in Australia face harder visa rules

The charming Scott Morrison has introduced new rules, including:

  • People arriving without travel documents will be refused protection visas unless they can provide a “reasonable explanation” for not having identification.
  • A lower threshold for assessing harm to returning asylum seekers who have sought complementary protection, where the chance of harm is more than 50%.
  • Asylum seekers who have arrived by boat will be refused visas unless the minister determines “it is in the public interest to allow them to do so”.

Appalling!

Lost in a mid-winter Canberra fog

Laura Tingle’s Friday AFR column ends with:

The despair in Coalition ranks is extraordinary. As thick as a mid-winter Canberra fog.

At the beginning:

“What on earth does the government think it is doing?” was the mystified question du jour in Parliament House. You might expect it from business executives who don’t have time to focus day to day on politics. It’s just a little more alarming coming from government backbenchers and even ministers’ staff.

The latest kerfuffle is over the use or non-use of the term “occupied” to refer to East Jerusalem and occupied West Bank territories. Apparently the term “disputed” preferred by Israel has been used. Rural Liberals are seething over Attorney-General George Brandis’s remarks about East Jerusalem, accusing him of “intellectual arrogance”.

They have very real concerns over live cattle exports. In Jedda, 57 Arab foreign ministers condemned the Federal Government’s decision not to use the term “occupied” when referring to east Jerusalem.

Their statement, issued in Jeddah, also calls on member states to “take necessary measures” in response.

The declaration was made as the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sought to assure ambassadors from many of those countries that Australia’s position hasn’t changed.

It’s not clear if her efforts will have the desired effect.

Tingle says that Bishop apologised. No-one seems to know whether there has been a considered change in position, or whether it was a Brandis stuff-up. Bishop claimed on Insiders that there had been no change in position, claiming that practice is to use “East Jerusalem”, “West Bank” or “occupied territories”, but not in combination. She claims that they were verballed by Lee Rhiannon. Nevertheless they seem to have gotten themselves into a twist.

Beyond the East Jerusalem dispute Tingle says:

the government is under deadly attack from those communists at the Australian Medical Association. Its new president, associate professor Brian Owler, wrote this week the health measures in the budget “add up to bad health policy”.

“The health of Australians is too important for healthcare to be an ideological toy,” he said.

“The AMA is supportive of some co-payments, but not the one proposed by the government.”

This is the AMA leading the fight against a co-payment, an organisation that fought Medicare for decades.

Then business is reconsidering their relations with government finding Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen “are open to talking and that there are some Labor policies that are actually more pro-business than those of the government.”

Then there are all the welfare bludgers, the people Joe Hockey refers to as parasitic “leaners”. Tingle continues:

Liberal MPs report the outrage of aged voters who will lose their $800 seniors supplement.

But what is striking is that these voters aren’t angry about losing the $800 as much as they are about feeling they have been portrayed as welfare bludgers.

The feedback about an anger that is not going away is it is very different to what MPs have felt before because it isn’t just about hip pockets but a sense the budget has broken something at a community level, particularly universal healthcare and access to education.

What causes despair on the Coalition backbench is that the senior ranks of the government don’t seem to recognise that something has been genuinely broken that the Coalition team will never be able to get back. That an electorate that never quite got a handle on Tony Abbott has one it will now never let go.

You will recall back in May the fearsome grilling Abbott suffered from ABC talkback radio callers who accused him of lying, fearmongering and endangering the health of pensioners. Photographers can be cruel. This was the occasion of Abbott’s famous wink, but take a look at this shot by Penny Stephens:

Abbott_ac-pm2-thumb-20140521102128242961-300x0

This post can serve open thread on politics.

Saturday salon 21/6

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.