Darkening times


The Australian Parliament recently passed legislation giving ‘law enforcement’ agencies considerably greater powers that are claimed to be necessary to combat the ‘Islamic State’ terrorism threat. Prime Minister Abbott also addressed the United Nations General Assembly late in September on the threat to humanity posed by the rise of the group and pledged Australia’s assistance in a united effort to control the threat. Mark Kenny, reporting for Fairfax, reported Abbott’s speech, on how Australia would shoulder its proportion of the burden in these ‘darkening times’, as being ‘workman like’ and ‘pedestrian’. This could be considered to be high praise for the organisational and communication abilities of a prime minister who flew to London to talk to his UK counterpart on the phone, who mangled a set piece in a foreign language and invented a new name for a country while standing beside its prime minister.

John Birmingham, writing on The Brisbane Times website suggests the sudden and urgent need to pass legislation and deploy security forces is primarily ‘theatre’. Civil libertarian Bret Walker SC is reported in The Saturday Paper as suggesting:

Indeed, by accepting the suggestion that terrorists are something other than ordinary murderers, we have “bought their propaganda” and given them the “glamour of being extraordinary”

While not minimising the inhumanity that the ‘Islamic State’ is reported to be capable of, could this action be seen to be an attempt to wrap Australia in khaki to distract us from other ‘elephants in the room’ — such as climate change perhaps?

The US Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a webpage that lists answers to a number of frequently asked questions in relation to climate change. It does acknowledge that temperatures on earth vary over time but points out the current rise is faster and more pronounced that what has occurred naturally in the past. It also suggests that the consensus of expert opinion is that human activities are actively contributing to the problem. The response to the question on potential effects of the global average temperature rising by 2° Fahrenheit gives some graphic examples, for the USA, on the extent of change to civilisation as we know it.

Changing the average global temperature by even a degree or two can lead to serious consequences around the globe. For about every 2°F of warming, we can expect to see:

  • 5 ‒15% reductions in the yields of crops as currently grown
  • 3 ‒10% increases in the amount of rain falling during the heaviest precipitation events, which can increase flooding risks
  • 5 ‒10% decreases in stream flow in some river basins, including the Arkansas and the Rio Grande
  • 200% ‒ 400% increases in the area burned by wildfire in parts of the western United States
As these effects are predicated on an average rise in global temperature, it stands to reason that similar changes would be experienced worldwide.

The day before Abbott addressed the United Nations, he chose not to attend an international conference on climate change — also held in New York. Abbott did, however, find the time while in New York to dine with Rupert Murdoch.

The conference was ‘sponsored’ by the United Nations and the attendees included David Cameron (prime minister of the United Kingdom and the PM that Abbott flew to London to ring) and Barack Obama (president of the United States). To be fair, Foreign Minister Bishop did attend the conference and the leaders of China and India also chose to send an apology.

European Union commissioner for climate action, Connie Hegedaard, commented:

I do not know what the reasons would be behind it, but, of course, the world will interpret who is showing up and who will not be showing up.

So that's for your Prime Minister and your government to decide, what kind of profile they want in this.

One of the outcomes of the conference was there seems to be a consensus that the use of coal for various industrial processes has a limited future. The Australian Government and the International Energy Agency disagree, stating that growth will come from newly industrialised countries such as China and India. In fact:

the Pulitzer Prize-winning climate change news website Inside Climate News published a story about the "Canada-Australia axis of carbon". It suggested that not only were the two nations not willing to pull their weight, but that they were seeking to derail the binding agreement on emissions reductions at next year's talks in Paris that many view as the world's last best hope to prevent catastrophic climate change.

"Neither the prime ministers of Canada nor Australia will speak at the summit, and the subordinates they have sent will not be offering the kind of ‘bold’ new steps that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seeking on the way to a treaty in Paris late next year," it reported.

China, the largest consumer of coal in the world has announced that it will use 50 million tonnes less coal annually in the near future. China also is increasing the use of wind power technology in the next few years, to twice the capacity of the entire European Union.

The name Rockefeller has been associated with wealth, power and influence for decades. The ‘founder’ of the dynasty made a lot of his money in pumping oil out of the ground, processing it and selling the products. The Rockefeller family still has significant financial clout, with billions invested in industry. On the eve of the UN’s climate change conference the head of the family trust announced that it would be selling its USD56 billion of fossil fuel assets and reinvesting it into ‘clean energy’. The Rockefeller Trust is a member of a group known as ‘Global Divest-Invest Coalition’. Other members include Stanford University who have announced its USD21 billion endowments will no longer be invested in coal assets.

The Australian Government commissioned a report this year into the renewable energy industry and its funding. In a classic example of not asking the question until you know the answer, the panel was led by Dick Warbuton who is reputably no friend of renewable energy. Abbott has also claimed in the past that renewables don’t work because there is no potential for 24 hours a day, seven days a week generation of electricity. A report in Crikey from early this year discusses Dick Warbuton’s contribution as well as Abbott’s claims. The Crikey article also discusses the switch within Germany and South Australia to using considerable quantities of renewable power, refuting the argument that renewable power cannot be used as ‘baseload’ (generating the consistent demand for power day or night) as well as the experience in Germany where coal fired power stations are being mothballed as uneconomic soon after commissioning.

Spain has a reputation for bad waiters, economic problems and bull fighting. It also has a number of power plants that use renewable energy. At least one of the plants near Seville can generate power from sunlight 24 hours a day as it stores some of the heat generated by the mirrors as molten salt — which is then returned to the system when the sun isn’t shining to generate steam and turn the power turbines. Another Spanish solar plant has been immortalised by James May (of Topgear fame) in this YouTube clip.

There are a number of large solar power generators located in the USA, some of which also store heat to allow generation when the sun isn’t shining. One of the largest, located at Ivanpah in California’s Mojave Desert covers 1600 hectares and will eliminate 13.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the estimated 30 year lifespan of the facility.

If, despite the large area of desert and abundant sunlight across Australia, there really are problems with generating baseload solar power in Australia, as claimed by Abbott and others with what seem to be vested interests in the status quo, there is also promising technology generating power from the waves on the seashore. The waves never stop. The big issue would be the engineering to ensure that the infrastructure is not sucked out to sea or washed up on the beach. This engineering problem has been looked at by a number of different researchers. One firm that is trying to commercialise its solution is Australian: Carnegie Wave Energy, based in Fremantle. It has demonstration energy production plants in operation in Perth, Western Australia, and in Ireland. An added bonus is that they can operate a desalination plant, that doesn’t contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, using parts of the same infrastructure. While the Federal Government has provided a grant for the proving of the concept, the funding was provided in May 2012 — and, in any event, the WA government provided a larger sum.

Worldometers is a free resource on the internet that has contributions from a number of experts that calculates various statistics including the volume of greenhouse gases emitted, the end of oil and the end of coal. As the numbers are constantly changing it is pointless listing their estimates here — however, the number is less than 40 years in the case of oil.

Abbott went to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly on a significant threat to our way of life. While the ‘Islamic State’ could conceivably be a threat to us, the end of fossil fuels and irreversible change to the environment is certainly a threat, caused by the continual pumping of carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals into the air. Even if the Australian Government is correct that, as a nation, we are responsible for only 1.5% of the world’s total, Australia has the resources, technical capacity and ability to generate considerable quantities of power from either large solar plants or harnessing the energy of waves to again ‘lift above our weight’ and assist others. Currently we don’t — and our current leadership doesn’t seem to be inclined to acknowledge the problem.

Australia’s prime minister misrepresented an emissions trading scheme as a tax and didn’t have the courage to attend a climate change conference in New York the day prior to his address to the United Nations General Assembly (while finding the time to dine with Murdoch). His review of alternative energy solutions is led by a person who has a long history of denial of climate change. He has removed an emissions trading scheme that was showing positive benefits to both the environment and the economy, all the time claiming that issues such as renewable energy have too many insurmountable problems to be considered as permanent solutions to energy supply. Clearly he is wrong but the recent actions by Abbott and his ministers would suggest that only some of the real problems facing humanity are important. The worst possible result of addressing climate change is that fossil fuels last considerably longer — which isn’t a bad alternative anyway.

While no one here is attempting to justify the actions of a small group that seemingly wish to inflict their fundamentalist views on others, which is worse, the ones that address an environmental problem that will affect everyone by doing nothing or the ones that address centuries of political unrest using an incorrect interpretation of a religious text?

Twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week generation of power can be achieved by use of solar, wind or wave power as well as coal and gas. The entire east coast of Australia is on the same electricity grid. Clearly technical or logistical issues aren’t the issue — what is?

What do you think?



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TPS Team

9/11/2014This week 2353 tackles the ever-present problem of climate change and what our intrepid government is doing to avoid being part of the solution. He poses some interesting questions - have a read and let us know what you think in comments below.

Ad astra

9/11/20142353 How right you are to highlight the contrast between our Prime Minister’s utterances on the threat of Islamic State and those he makes about climate change. He presents the IS menace as an extreme threat to our way of life, yet airily dismisses the threat of climate change with both his words and his actions, which you catalogue so well. The IS threat is here and now, similar to the danger of nuclear conflagration during the Cold War, yet one the world has come through unscathed. The IS danger will likely be similar. The climate change threat is here and now as evidenced by the escalation of extreme weather events, but will steadily worsen over the rest of the century unless radical action is taken to substantially reduce CO2 emissions and slow global warming. It is a threat to our very existence. All life on this planet is in jeopardy. Yet our PM is dismissive of it. [b]How can it be that this man can put so much emphasis on an evanescent threat that will likely affect but a few in this nation, while downplaying a threat that affects us all?[/b] Postulating about another’s motives is always problematic, but in this case essential if we are to understand Abbott’s mindset. It is a precursor to any attempt to change it. Each of us can but guess his motivation, yet even guesses can be well informed. Here are mine. Recall how Abbott came to be the Coalition leader. His chief backer was Nick Minchin, a Senator at the time. Minchin was vehemently opposed to an ETS, and to both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull for agreeing to one. Given that the Minchin family has had coal-mining interests in the past, it is unsurprising that Minchin heatedly attacked a 2011 report that declared the world is in imminent danger from human-induced climate change as “offensive nonsense from known global warming alarmists”. It is not surprising that Abbott feels he owes Minchin for his prime ministerial position, and not unexpected that he recently extolled the virtues of coal, declaring it as ‘good for the economy’ and even ‘good for humanity’. He is repaying his debt to Minchin. Abbott has not really moved from his ‘climate change is crap’ utterance, despite his declaration that climate change is real and due to human activity. No doubt the gradual trajectory of the climate change threat over several decades gives Abbott the false reassurance that time is on his side, time sufficient for him to extract the most political capital he can. With Canadian PM Harper, he has formed an alliance against action on climate change. Both are conservatives with a keen eye for political games playing. Neither is it surprising that Abbott has jumped with both feet onto the terrorist threat bandwagon. John Howard showed how exaggerating a threat is politically advantageous, all the more so when promising the electorate that he would protect them from it. Abbott is simply channelling Howard, and of course George W Bush. A bonus for Abbott is that terror threats divert attention from domestic politics where his government is floundering, and attracts kudos from the electorate to boot. Assuming these motivations, Abbott’s actions, although reprehensible in the eyes of those who know global warming is an existential threat to all life on this planet, whereas Islamic State is but a passing and debatable threat, are understandable given his viewpoint, his antediluvian beliefs, and his political intent. Thank you 2353 for another piece that will stimulate lively debate.

Ken

9/11/20142353 Yes, the LNP are past masters at 'diversions', deflecting the interest of the electorate from a major issue on which the LNP may trail to one on which they will lead. And they have been very good at creating security issues from minor threats (recall the Tampa, anyone?). Abbott knows he is on a loser when it comes to climate change so it is best to give it a low profile and give the electorate something else to worry about. But, as both you and Ad point out, climate change is a global threat to all of humanity. ISIS (or IS) maybe guilty of war crimes but those who deny climate change and take no action may well be guilty of genocide on a massive scale. Unfortunately, most of the deniers will be long gone before the worst effects of climate change become apparent. It also goes back to your piece on 'short term expediency'. When our governments are mainly concerned about the next election in three years time, it takes a massive shift in thinking to consider changes 10, 20 or even a 100 years down the track. In that sense, there is a need for a bipartisan approach which we almost had with Rudd and Turnbull but which Minchin and Abbott tossed out the window. Bipartisanship is necessary for long term planning but I am pessimistic we will see it any time soon.

2353`

10/11/2014Wayne Goss - Premier of Queensland from 1989 to 1996 died this morning at the age of 63. Another political leader with foresight has left the planet. RIP Wayne - you'll be missed.

Casablanca

10/11/20142353 The assessment of the Abbott government's credentials as a good world citizen doesn't improve does it. There is a Guardian article today by Tim Flannery whose headline still errs on the optimistic side. It is titled [b]On climate change, Australia will be left behind by China, the US and the EU.[/b] I would have said [b]'has been'[/b] left behind... According to Tim Flannery 'Thirty-nine countries are putting a price on carbon. The EU and China (now with seven pilot schemes up and running) are home to the two largest carbon markets in the world, together covering over 3,000m tonnes (MtCO2) of carbon dioxide emissions. There’s also plenty of action in the US: 10 states with a combined population of 79 million are now using carbon pricing to drive down emissions, including California, the world’s ninth largest economy. Yet, here in Australia, we now hold the dubious distinction of being the first country to repeal an operating and effective carbon price. In September a solar farm was officially opened at Royalla, south of Canberra. I guess that some impetus came from the Federal Labor government but it is disappointing that the project was undertaken by a Spanish and not an Australian company. [i]'The project is owned by Spanish company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and the opening was attended by the Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo'. [/i] Spain may have a reputation for bad waiters, economic problems and bull fighting but it is still engaging with the ideas of the future, unlike our Prime Denialist. [b]'Australia's largest' solar farm opens at Royalla south of Canberra[/b] Jonathon Gul and Kathleen Dyett The 20 megawatt Royalla Solar Farm is made up of 83,000 solar panels and has the capacity to power more than 4,500 ACT homes. The ACT Government said it was the first large-scale solar farm to be connected to the national electricity grid. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-03/royalla-solar-farm-opens-south-of-canberra/5716500 [b]On climate change, Australia will be left behind by China, the US and the EU.[/b] Tim Flannery. 10 November 2014 Australia should be showing leadership on climate at the G20. Instead, as 39 countries put a price on carbon, we’ve just repealed ours http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/10/on-climate-change-australia-will-be-left-behind-by-china-the-us-and-the-eu?CMP=ema_632

Casablanca

10/11/2014 CU Your comment 'I could be wrong, but in the Central West, as a child, I seem to recall, small towns had their own small power plants' reminded me that I saw a TV report in the last week or so about the moves by a non-profit group to buy the Berlin power supplier. Apparently, there are a number of local authorities in Germany where the power company is owned by not-for-profits.

2353

11/11/2014Casablanca, thanks for the current links - they are relevant. I too wonder how the Spanish can see the social, environmental and economic benefits of large scale solar power generation and Australian companies (where a lot of the solar technology was 'invented') can't. Says a lot about the mindset of the respective countries and goes someway towards demonstrating my point in the 'short term expediency' piece I wrote some time ago - as pointed out by Ken. Frankly I'd prefer to have the reputation for bad waiters, economic problems and bull fighting but with a large emphasis on looking to the future as Spain has - rather than hosting the G20, me-too ism and vindictiveness - the path our current federal government seems to be choosing.

Casablanca

12/11/2014[b]Renewable energy target thrown into confusion as negotiations collapse[/b] Lenore Taylor. 12 November 2014 00.01 AEST Labor walks away from RET talks, saying it cannot accept ‘deep and devastating cut to the sector’ being proposed by Coalition http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/11/renewable-energy-target-in-confusion-as-negotiations-collapse?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

TalkTurkey

12/11/2014Vale Wayne Goss. Dead too young at 63. The man who fixed up Joh Bjelke Petersen. [i]Don't you worry about that! [/i]

Ken

12/11/2014TT According to Barnaby Joyce, we are not allowed to use Wayne Goss's death as an opportunity to attack Joh. The world according to Barnaby was that Joh made Queensland a great state, an economic powerhouse.

Ken

12/11/2014Casablanca Thank you for The Guardian link. Yes, it's not just about climate change any more but another attack by this government on Australian industry. This government seems to believe that the only industries worth looking after are the agricultural/grazing and the extractive industries. So Australia is returning to the days of being a farm and a quarry -- nothing else seems to matter!!

TalkTurkey

12/11/2014Greetings Comrades Urgh, back on Dial-Up speed today. Won't get back on 4G wireless until 23rd, glum. We are all on a 24-hour cycle these days - and even that is far too long now. We got Twitter, we got Broadband, local supermarket bread baked instore, instant everything, and motor cars guzzling petrol and air, and jet aircraft that can get you anywhere in the world in the space of a weekend. Did you think we could go on like this forever? I never did. Our species is Planet Earth's perfect storm. Poor Gaia. It's because of the way I feel about what humans have done and are doing to her that I find it hard to write - that I find it hard to say anything encouraging or upbeat, when my heart fails within me as I contemplate the state of the oceans and the atmosphere, the rivers and woodlands, the tundras and glaciers of the world, juxtaposed with our astounding, burgeoning population. But worse still, I look in dread upon the torpid acceptance by this huge world population of our continuing accelerating race towards total ecological collapse. Not by the end of the century. Not by 2060. I reckon 2034. I have reckoned that for many years, just by rough extrapolations of darkening clouds that have been gathering ever since "civilization" began - but especially, since the last half-century. Though extreme global freaking~out might happen well before then imo. I look at the detergent shelves in supermarkets, the insecticides and weedicides, the irreplaceable minerals (phosphates particularly) that we add to soil to make ever-more highly-bred, intensively-cultivated plants grow. I look at weather trends, global drying and hotting, extinctions and scarcities, algorithms predicting population growth and distributions, water availability, fish stocks, timber supplies, everything. I have always known that the future makes no sense, simply because we are living far, far beyond the planet's means, and destroying what means it did have. I have never really revealed to the Comrades here the depth of my despair and the darkness of my future view for the World, predictions which I so wish my reason did not command. All the time Labor was in power we have been able to shelve our worst predictions while trying to fight off the horror that is the Abborrrrttian Government. Now that it is here, and worse than we ever though it could be at that, it is very hard to see The Light at the end of the tunnel, let alone on the Hill. Most people have children, a mixed blessing which has neither occupied my best energies nor encumbered my thinking. Parents tend to have the attitude that "It can't be true that the world is on a short fuse, I've got kids!" And I am very sorry, Folks, but that is a dreadful [i]non sequitur[/i]. While 85 people own half the world's wealth, while half the world's people own around 1%, there is no hope for change for the better. Desperate people will make war on each other with the munitions made by the super-rich, will kill the last elephants for ivory to sell to planet-criminals, the last gorillas for meat if need be. I have always seen it coming. And now that Abborrrtt is so disastrously in power, the reality cannot longer been denied. We must confront the super-rich-and-powerful by whatever force we can muster, or lose the planet. 2353 Your article has prompted me to speak my mind ... but I do so regret the need for it to be said, a whole worldful of regret. But I think it needs saying, because unless a feeling of panic galvanises the whole world to extreme action, (and that includes severe limits on consumption of power and resources, and - probably too late already - absolute restrictions on birth rates)- it is my belief that there is no possible future for Life on Earth. Not for Man or Mouse, nor Fly nor Flea nor Fungus.

Casablanca

12/11/2014[b]Abbott’s lost credibility: no surprises, no excuses[/b] Ross McMullin*. November 10, 2014 Australia's most successful federal opposition leaders since 1950 - in fact, probably since Federation - have been Tony Abbott and Gough Whitlam. They could hardly have been more different in how they went about it. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/abbott8217s-lost-credibility-no-surprises-no-excuses-20141107-11i82t.html#ixzz3IouH0SjM *Ross McMullin is a historian whose books include the ALP centenary history The Light on the Hill.

Casablanca

12/11/2014[b]Fact check: Can clean coal technology halve emissions within 5 years?[/b] ABC 12 November, 2014 More than half a billion tonnes of coal is mined in Australia each year from national reserves that are the fourth largest in the world, behind the United States, Russia and China.Whatever the technological developments, forecast demand for coal-fired electricity in Australia is not expected to make implementation of the new clean coal technologies economically viable domestically.[b] Mr Hunt's statement [on Q&A] is highly ambitious.[/b] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-12/greg-hunt-clean-coal-technology-highly-ambitious-fact-check/5587040

Ken

12/11/2014TT You forget that cockroaches can survive almost anything, including nuclear holocaust (so they say). So something will survive. I partly accept your pessimism but have always taken the view that the planet will survive without us. We are not necessarily 'damaging' the planet but certainly making it unliveable for our own species. The dinosaurs ruled for 200-300 million years (forget exactly as I write). Humankind certainly won't last that long unless there are major changes. What I fear most is what we, as humans, will do to each other as conditions deteriorate. If there is famine and mass displacement of people, will there be constant wars? Will we be fighting over access to fresh water? Will we need even stronger border security to keep out the millions that may seek refuge here and threaten to overwhelm what resources (in this case, mainly food and water) we have left? Already the American military establishment is considering such scenarios and factoring them into future military planning. It is a scary future, not for the planet, but for us and how we react to the changes. Governments around the world are so wedded to big business and economic rationalist thinking that they can't yet see that for humans to survive for even thousand years more (let alone a million), there must be totally new approaches. I think it will come, but will it be too late? We are perhaps facing an apocalypse before those who are left come out on the other side and create a new human order, more caring and sharing, for the smaller, more stable population that emerges. It doesn't have to be that way but governments like Abbott's are driving us towards that scenario, looking in the rear-view mirror, not on the road ahead. It doesn't concern them because they don't think it will happen in their lifetime. But I am concerned for my grandchildren and especially their grandchildren.

Catching up

12/11/2014This government's attitude to industry, especially those that have a big unionised workforce is puzzling. I know this is far out, even for this mob but could they be happy to see all go to the wall. Could they believe that new industry with no union connections will rise from the ashes. They have even cut the money promised for retraining of auto workers. Are they cutting unions out of any planned retraining schemes.

Casablanca

12/11/2014[b]Australia upstaged in its global leadership moment[/b] Tim Mayfield. 12 Nov 2014, 4:47pm A "provincial reflex" is getting in the way of Australia's ability to take full advantage of global leadership position, as the new US-China climate deal just reminded us...Indeed, the stultifying effects of this reflex are on full display as China and the United States announce a landmark joint plan to curb carbon emissions in an effort to prompt laggard nations such as ours into action. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-12/mayfield-australia-upstaged-in-its-global-leadership-moment/5886110 [b]The blurred vision in Australia's energy policy[/b] Robert Pritchard. 12 November, 2014 An Australian energy vision is necessary, but the federal government has so far failed to articulate any hint of the country's role in the global transition to a low-carbon society. Ahead of the release of the energy White Paper, expected before the end of the year, the government's green paper said there is no ‘silver bullet’ to reform the energy industry and emphasised the need to drive productivity throughout the sector. This could mean anything, and does not provide helpful guidance to investors. There are massive global funds available for investment, but investors are risk averse and will not allocate funds to countries that do not offer policy certainty. http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/11/12/resources-and-energy/blurred-vision-australias-energy-policy

Casablanca

13/11/2014[b]US-China climate deal: at last, a real game-changer on emissions[/b] Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne The new US-China climate deal is a game-changer. The United States, the world’s biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels, while… http://theconversation.com/us-china-climate-deal-at-last-a-real-game-changer-on-emissions-34148 [b]Abbott’s blindsided by US-China climate deal[/b] Michelle Grattan.12 November 2014, 8.53pm AEDT After Tony Abbott did everything he could to keep discussion of climate change out of the G20, he has been ambushed almost on the eve of the weekend meeting. Abbott did not have forewarning of the US-China agreement on post-2020 emissions reductions, according to government sources. This is despite a meeting with Barack Obama on Monday – at which Obama made it clear he wanted a greater Australian commitment in Iraq. This climate deal is a big deal. http://theconversation.com/abbotts-blindsided-by-us-china-climate-deal-34151 [b]Paul Keating. Lateline (Transcript & Video 20m38s)[/b] Former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, discusses what the climate deal between China and the US means for Australia's role in international negotiations on carbon emissions and the announcement will impact on the G20's economic agenda. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s4127349.htm [b]Stephen Howes on the US-China climate deal. (Video 7m)[/b] Julia Baird talks with the ANU's Professor Stephen Howes on the new US-China plan to curb emissions. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-12/stephen-howes-on-the-us-china-climate-deal/5886764

Casablanca

13/11/2014[b]US-China climate deal: at last, a real game-changer on emissions[/b] Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne The new US-China climate deal is a game-changer. The United States, the world’s biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels, while… http://theconversation.com/us-china-climate-deal-at-last-a-real-game-changer-on-emissions-34148 [b]Abbott’s blindsided by US-China climate deal[/b] Michelle Grattan.12 November 2014, 8.53pm AEDT After Tony Abbott did everything he could to keep discussion of climate change out of the G20, he has been ambushed almost on the eve of the weekend meeting. Abbott did not have forewarning of the US-China agreement on post-2020 emissions reductions, according to government sources. This is despite a meeting with Barack Obama on Monday – at which Obama made it clear he wanted a greater Australian commitment in Iraq. This climate deal is a big deal. http://theconversation.com/abbotts-blindsided-by-us-china-climate-deal-34151 [b]Paul Keating. Lateline (Transcript & Video 20m38s)[/b] Former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, discusses what the climate deal between China and the US means for Australia's role in international negotiations on carbon emissions and the announcement will impact on the G20's economic agenda. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s4127349.htm [b]Stephen Howes on the US-China climate deal. (Video 7m)[/b] Julia Baird talks with the ANU's Professor Stephen Howes on the new US-China plan to curb emissions. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-12/stephen-howes-on-the-us-china-climate-deal/5886764

Catching up

13/11/2014Abbott took himself on that world tour which included Canada where he challenged Obama that only pure economics would be on the G20 agenda. He was calling on the world to dump any action taken on climate change, especially ETA and carbon taxes. Later hen he visited NY for security forums, he continued his campaign. Ignored Obama when he said that carbon missions and Obelo were greater threat than Putin, even Iraq. One could say that China has put a little pip squeak in his place. One does not lecture others Cannot see Abbott's extreme austere answers for the world economy being adopted by any. One were you seek growth by first taking from unemployed any support to survive. I believe that Abbott has been shown how adults operate. Abbott told the world, that Obama was a lame duck President. Maybe he will learn to keep the gob shut, as adults do.

TalkTurkey

13/11/2014O that this G20 Summit was being hosted by the beautiful redhaired intelligent mannerly nontheistic altruistic woman whose charm and vision for the world was such that she won the event for Australia, instead of the lizard-faced baldheaded stupid boorish religiomanic megalomanic man who jeered her attempt while in Government to have it held here, and who attacked the previous Labor Governments for trying for a seat on the Security Council! Now this fool postures like a tinpot Mussolini upon the world stage Labor won for its wisdom and practices, while undoing all the reasons Rudd and Gillard were held in such esteem. We have gone from first to last in world decency. Poor *J*U*L*I*A*! All True Believers are dying inside for the Australia we all so wanted, that you and your lovely Ministry worked so hard for - how much more excruciating it must be for you, to watch this thug and his henchthugs undoing all your good! ! But we will have the last laugh yet, Comrades. We can't just die now just to please Abborrrtt. Die in the attempt maybe, but not just acquiesce* instead of refining our fighting skills and screwing up our determination to do him down ... But I do wish we didn't have to wait so long for an election. And I do wish that my fellow Australians had a lot more GINGER in their makeup! Extend your rage Comrades!

TalkTurkey

13/11/2014*Oh yes! I would guess Half or less Could spell *acquiesce*! Great word for spelling quizzes!

2353

13/11/2014TT - I'm sorry I have to disagree with your requested host for the G20. As a resident of Brisbane I wish the entire G20 was somewhere else (the other side of the earth would be close enough). :-) Although I do get a day off tomorrow - so its not all bad!

Ken

13/11/2014The security arrangements at the G20 reflect the sad state we've come to. I remember when LBJ visited Sydney. There were plenty of anti-war demonstrators who were simply dragged away by the police (even though Premier Askin did say 'run over the bastards'). There were plenty of police around but no closed off areas. LBJ did a cruise on the harbour and, while they did keep an area of about 50-100 metre radius clear of other boats, there were hundreds of boats on the harbour following along. I was on an island in the middle of the harbour and there was one lone policeman sitting atop its small hill with his radio. I know the world has changed but Australia hasn't changed as much as the current security precautions would indicate. Yes, there are a few who may like to assassinate a politician or two (and we may not miss one or two :-)) but, if they are intent on their own suicide, it is next to impossible to stop them. (I do know that from a security expert, who has probably been involved in the Brisbane security.) Rambling a bit, but I do find it sad and somewhat disheartening that we go to this level of security in Australia.

DoodlePoodle

13/11/2014Ken, I too remember the visit to Australia by LBJ. I had recently moved to Canberra and lived at Gowrie Hostel, one of the Commonwealth Hostels built to house the many public servants moving to Canberra at the time. LBJ actually stayed at the Rex Hotel which was just across the road. As you say not a lot of security. Quite a lot of us were awaiting his arrival at the Rex but he entered through a back door.

Ken Fabian

14/11/2014I suspect that, on the climate front, Tony Abbott may actually feel buoyed - and his methods vindicated - by the Republican Senate victory in the US. And feel some pride in being the template for the resurgent crusade against the insidious paganistic eco-socialists that others emulate. Just as nothing of Gillard's or Rudd's climate policies will survive Abbott's term as more than hollow examples of Green-Labor 'folly', nothing Obama does will survive the cleansing that an 'adult' Congress and Senate will begin and an 'adult' Republican President will finish. And with the support of the world's most farseeing as well as influential media magnate, a climate science denying President, with a climate action obstructing Congress has to look tantalisingly near. Abbott may feel it is his ordained role to hold the line - even at the risk of premature political martyrdom. If the consequences were not so serious and long lasting - literally the fate of the world as we know it, for millennia to come - I could almost feel sorry for the fate of these deluded Crusaders and their reputations as 'adults' when the climate oscillations that should have been causing surface cooling over the last decade and a half turn, and the accelerations that follow take global climate into uncharted territory. Science based reality is going to deprive their 'noble' cause of that essential ingredient of being in the right. They may not be fully cognizant of it - deluding themselves being an essential ingredient - but Abbott and his ilk are betting it all on them being right and all the world's climate scientists being dead wrong - and that's a bet with very bad odds.

Catchimg up

14/11/2014If Abbott believes Obama cannot do what he says, he is in for big disappointment. Obama can do as he likes, under legalisation that already exists. In fact, legalisation that has been tested in court on many occasions. Yes, the Republicans can attempt to rescind the legalisation but needs to thirds vote in both houses. Unlikely to occur. Without such a vote, Obama has he power to veto any attempt. Yes, the next President can undo all that Obama puts in place Oh my god, Abbott has got me cringing with first sentence. Telling us Australians what we should think. Will have to turn off sound,. Just too much.

Catchimg up

14/11/2014Ken, did you have family at Punchbowl

Ken

14/11/2014Ken Fabian You may well be right but as I pointed out in my comment on Wednesday (@ 2:57), the American military is already planning for 'doomsday' scenarios where climate change has displaced millions of people, created famines and water shortages, leading to constant conflict over basic resources. I think, if the military are aleady preparing for the 'what if' scenarios, then government may be forced to follow. Some of the biggest global corporations are also already beginning to factor climate change into their future 'business' models (as evidence at the World Economic Forum back in January). Again governments may be forced to follow. The main problem is that it may not happen quickly enough and then we will be faced with the even higher cost of reacting after the event (many economists have also warned of the higher cost of not acting now). As others have pointed out, even if some people and governments remain sceptical of 'man-made' climate change, changing to a fossil-fuel free economy will have pollution benefits, and hence health benefits that will benefit the economy (a healthier labour force). I think whichever way the sceptics turn, logic is against them. But I know that won't convince them -- at least in the short term.

Ken Fabian

14/11/2014No family at Punchbowl, Catchimg Up. Someone else? Ken, I don't like being so pessimistic, but mainstream, well connected and influential climate science deniers are still capable of impeding and deeply compromising the minimum efforts needed. Ultimately Abbott and leaders like him will be proven wrong by science based reality - but the power of widespread misinformation can keep keep people like them in power long enough to do great damage. Especially when carried with strong conviction that resists self reflection and considers it clever and effective politics to mislead and deceive. The prospect of Obama's successor in the White House, with the support of both Houses, acting to prevent and impede local and global climate action does not look too far fetched to me; Republicans already get the kinds of expert advice the US Military and others produce and provide and seem to be getting no real backlash from that sector. Abbott certainly doesn't take the expert advice that treats climate change seriously... seriously. Not even strategic security type advice. I expect every Australian and US policy effort - and international as well - will need to be redone several times before we see anything like the minimum that is appropriate.

Ken

14/11/2014Ken Fabian If you actually are a Fabian, you will see the irony of your last statement. Bu I do agree, that the politics will interfere with the science and the economics and delay meaningful action - as it already is.

Ken Fabian

15/11/2014I think Obama is, on one hand, making a genuine attempt at pushing the political envelope on climate in the direction it needs to go, and on the other hand it's deliberately provocative, perhaps with the hope that the Republicans will overplay their hand and make idiots of themselves in their efforts to undo what he has done. But I suspect the collapse of climate science denial as a mainstream political force is still several election cycles and major climate catastrophes away - US or Australian. And then it will go under cover and persist with delaying and spoiling tactics. Ken, I haven't really followed the history and achievements of the Fabian Society. On the face of it I find their basic tenets ones I agree with. Certainly climate is an issue that is never going to go away - persistence that revisits it is essential. But, on the other hand the climate obstructors have a lot invested in Fabius style delaying tactics. It will probably be climate catastrophes rather than the valuable foresight from a science based understanding of climate that tip the balance.

Casablanca

16/11/2014[b]Self-interest trumps friendship when it comes to supporting foreign allies[/b] Jack Waterford. November 14, 2014 - 11:45PM Tony Abbott, an apostle of doing nothing, or nothing much, about climate change, must have felt the McMahon tingle when he discovered that the US and China had been secretly negotiating a pact by which the two biggest world polluters would act jointly to cut their carbon emissions. For nine months, without telling Australia, a country that Barak Obama often goes out of his way to assure us, is one of his (and America's) deepest friends. One of the few countries, with one of the few leaders, in Tony Abbott, who didn't ask for favours or exemptions but which offered itself up, simply and on a plate to help the US when it became clear that things were going to hell in Iraq and Syria. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/selfinterest-trumps-friendship-when-it-comes-to-supporting-foreign-allies-20141114-11kaqu.html#ixzz3J9KtUUWP

TalkTurkey

16/11/2014Greetings Comrades I am SEETHING at what this Government is doing to our country. Chronically so furious I can hardly speak or write my rage. This is a first for me, I was never at a loss for words until Abborrrrtt came to power, even under the Lying Rodent. And Abborrrtt's rotten Government could never alone have got me to this point, I'm tougher than that, but the point about this point is Abborrrrrttt is [i]never[/i] alone, he has the undivided support - or non-criticism which is the same thing - of the sycophantic mainstream media, unless you count poor little NITV, and they are too scared of these thugs to speak right out. As I write the female @ABCNews24 announcer, in the main 8.30 AM bulletin, comments only on the G20 to say that Abborrrrtt has been described as the perfect host. This on the day when he is now known around the world as the most idiotic of all world leaders. Murdoch. Catholics. Rinehart et al. Jews. Religiomanes generally, except Moslems, yes crazy OK but in Australia the least offensive imo of the 3 Judaic religions. AND the bloody ABC. NEVER ANY hard criticism. NEVER. NONE. I can't bear to watch QT any more, nor Q&A, and I'm nearly screaming at the TV looking at Onesiders right now. Please Comrades be on deck in any way you might to give 100% to get this maniac Abborrrrttt kicked out as soon as possible, and his pretend Government at the next election. VENCEREMOS!

Ken

16/11/2014TT Yes, unbelievable that they report the 'perfect host' when he has managed to embarrass Australia yet again by going on about his election promises in an international forum. I think all he has managed to do is show that he is not in the same league as the other leaders, that he doesn't even belong in that forum.

Ad astra

16/11/2014TT I empathize with your feelings of frustration with our PM. What an embarrassment he is to us. He is so limited in his grasp of international politics and protocol. In his introductory remarks to the G20 forum the best he could offer was a nauseating regurgitation of his pre and post-election slogans – we’ve got rid of the carbon tax, we’ve stopped the boats, and we’re trying to fix the budget – he even mentioned a doctor co-payment and deregulating university fees - but went on to say that this “has proven massively difficult”. What a pathetically introspective mantra it was, one described as a whinge by one of the tabloids. He continues to deny the impact of climate change on the global economy although it is profound; he continues to deny its importance, perhaps even its existence. His global vision is stunted; his focus continues to be on domestic politics, even when the world’s leaders are at his elbow. He is simply not up to the job. The neoliberal ideological straightjacket he wears dwarfs his thinking and constrains his actions, and his climate change scepticism continue to surface to the astonishment of the world leaders among which he mixes. When giants on the world stage like Barack Obama and David Cameron make pointed public remarks that make our PM look grossly out of touch, and major economies such as the US and China make pacts to tackle climate change aggressively, it make us, as an intermediate nation, look weak, self-centred, incompetent, out of touch with the global reality, and a poor global citizen. Like you, I believe he must be replaced before he causes us more shame.

Catchimg up

16/11/2014Will we be better served if he is replaced. I suspect not.

Catchimg up

16/11/2014We now have the MYEFO to come. That should be indeed interesting. Some environment meeting next month. Also parliament resitting. Does not, cannot get any better for this mob. Do not want to see Abbott go, until he has been humiliated completely.

Catchimg up

16/11/2014Love the way, libs cannot even get candidates to the finishing line. Now happening in Victoria.
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?