Tuesday 19th of November 2019

of drought, floods and fire in kanbra...

of drought, floods and fire in kanbra...

Mr Mullins is one of 23 former senior emergency figures trying to get the Australian Government to listen to their concerns about climate change and the missing capacity to fight fires in a new era.

"It's up to the retired fire chiefs who are unconstrained to tell it like it is and say this is really dangerous," he said.

"People are at risk, we need a game changer in how we deal with these catastrophes because they're going to get worse and worse."

However, his written requests for a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison have failed.

"We were fobbed off to Minister [Angus] Taylor who is not the right minister to speak to," Mr Mullins said.

"We wanted to speak to the Natural Disasters Minister and the PM. We asked for help with that, we never got a reply.

"You had 23 experts willing to sit down with a PM and come up with solutions, but he's just fobbed us off.

"What does it take to wake these people up in Canberra? I don't know."

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-06/former-fire-chief-worried-about-f...

not wrong, possibly incomplete...

Of the 10 variables, the scientists explored, “none were as significantly significant… as the anthropogenic variables.”

I asked Keeley if the media’s focus on climate change frustrated him.

“Oh, yes, very much,” he said, laughing. “Climate captures attention. I can even see it in the scientific literature. Some of our most high-profile journals will publish papers that I think are marginal. But because they find climate to be an important driver of some change, they give preference to them. It captures attention.”

 

Read more:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/11/04/why-everyth...

 

The heading from this article is misleading: "Why Everything They Say About California Fires — Including That Climate Matters Most — Is Wrong"...

Anthropogenic variables are many, including global warming which can lead to hotter winds and less rain. Yes, the fact that people "live in the forests" has changed the way the forests should be managed. In the past, such forest fires would have burned unstopped, until a change of weather. With humans living in the forests, there is little one can do except try to stop the burning, especially near housing. The electricity grid in the USA is of poor quality as it delivers 110 volts to housing, demanding more copper in wires. But as we've seen in Australia and other parts of the world, storms can damage pylons bringing down high voltage cables. Fires can do this as well.

Managing bushfires (Australia) or wild fires (USA) is "getting more difficult". In Australia, there are "back-burning" operations during the winter months, but this isn't foolproof, as winter temperatures in winter can be warmer than in the past, as well as wind being less predictable. Too many "back-burning" have gone out of control, despite previous back-burning. Long spells of dry weather will encourage fuel availability.

The sun pierces through back-burning smoke near Perth, Australia (picture by Gus Leonisky):

back-burning


Please note that he author of the article "Why Everything They Say About California Fires — Including That Climate Matters Most — Is Wrong" for Forbes magazine is the nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger. He is often portrayed as an 'environmental activist' by the public and media. But Michael Shellenberger is 'a radioactive wolf in green clothing, supporting the latest pro-nuclear spin'. He is sometimes describe as the nuclear travelling salesman.


 

conflicting policy mandates within and across governance levels.

Collaborations and capacities to transform fire management.


Courtney A. Schultz, Cassandra Moseley


Science  04 Oct 2019:

Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 38-40


Wildfires bring stark attention to interactions among climate change, fire, forests, and livelihoods, prompting urgent calls for change from policy-makers and the public. Management options vary, but in many fire-adapted forests, the message from the scientific community is clear: Adapt to living with fire, reduce fuels and homes in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), and strategically restore fire to ecosystems (1–4). Yet, changes to fire management outcomes have been elusive. For example, across the primarily public forestlands of the U.S. West, prescribed fires (intentionally lighted fires) constitute a small, inadequate fraction of forest treatments (5), and fire managers rapidly contain over 95% of ignitions (2). Meanwhile, the WUI is the fastest growing U.S. land-use type (6). Substantial land-use changes that remove people and infrastructure from fire-prone areas are unlikely, making forest management a critical piece of the puzzle. To inform the global challenge of living with fire, we discuss promising developments in U.S. federal fire management that rely on collaborative governance, which is essential for grappling with complex environmental management challenges to leverage diverse capacities, work across jurisdictions, and support collective action to plan for the long term in the face of pressures to focus on short-term risks and objectives.


In the western United States and globally, fire seasons have grown longer; fire size, severity, and frequency have increased; and there has been an increase in costs and losses of human life and infrastructure (1, 2). Scientists say that we must restore fire to fire-adapted forest ecosystems in order to reduce fire hazard, promote resilience, and support climate adaptation (2–4). U.S. forest restoration in fire-prone ecosystems typically involves mechanical fuel reduction (thinning of trees and clearing of brush), prescribed fire (see the photo), and/or the management of natural ignitions to reintroduce fire. Although fires historically burned under a range of conditions, they have been mostly suppressed when possible in the U.S. West for the past century, excluding low- to moderate-severity fire and perpetuating a fire debt on the landscape. Understandably, there is social and political pressure to put fires out quickly to minimize risks to human health and economic well-being (such as for the tourism industry) and to protect homes and other infrastructure. Risks of allowing fire to burn are apparent in the short term, whereas benefits of supporting fire (and downsides of exacerbating fire hazard by suppressing fire or failing to conduct prescribed fire) often accrue after the tenure of any given politician or land manager.


This situation is exacerbated by conflicting policy mandates within and across governance levels and jurisdictions. For example, the Oregon Department of Forestry has a policy of putting out fires as quickly as possible to protect timber resources. This is at odds, partially, with federal policy, which emphasizes both restoring fire to ecosystems and suppressing fire when necessary (7). The complexity of both our political system and the fire problem make it unlikely that policy conflicts will be resolved, although some policy reform has occurred. The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (mandated by Congress in 2009 and finalized in 2014) and 2012 revisions of the National Forest Management Act regulations both emphasize the importance of restoring fire (7). In 2016, Clean Air Act regulations were revised through collaboration among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and federal land management agencies to create more opportunity for prescribed fire by increasing flexibility around air-quality permitting, something that scientists have suggested is necessary to support more prescribed fire, although evidence is mixed (3, 8). But simply having facilitative policies in place is not enough. Progress requires coordination across sectors (such as air quality and land management), diverse actors, and multiple levels and jurisdictions.


...


Agencies have opportunities for internal adjustments. The U.S. Forest Service is the largest forest and fire management organization in the country and faces steadily declining resources, increased fire costs, and greater expectations for land management. These expectations are not commensurate with funding or staffing structures, necessitating a new model. The agency could consider, for example, whether seasonal hiring practices need to be adjusted to capitalize on burn windows throughout the year; address whether there is need for a dedicated prescribed fire workforce; and limit leadership turnover and vacancies, which are problematic for long-term collaboration. Scientists have made other suggestions: Integrate strategic fire management planning more thoroughly into land-management planning (3, 7, 11); create national agreements between land-management agencies to streamline resource sharing (8); and improve leadership direction and performance measurement to incentivize the application of fire, improve accountability during fire response, focus efforts on high-priority acres for restoration treatments, and ensure that multiple-entry treatments (such as following mechanical thinning with prescribed fire) take place to capitalize on prior investments (3, 7, 11).


Lessons from the U.S. West can be extended to other contexts and inform the global challenge of living with fire. Multiyear funding commitments and laws and policies that support collaboration within and across governance levels, facilitate capacity building and resource sharing, and include objectives that can be adapted to local conditions through participatory processes are all policy approaches that can promote collective action in a multilevel system. Collaborative governance is important at all system levels and for all aspects of fire management, including building fire-adapted communities, given the implications of fire for health, safety, housing, and growth and collaboration's central role in promoting effective community response to disturbances and disasters (14, 15). Solutions that embrace and navigate this complexity have the potential to improve fire management by building the governance processes and capacities necessary to translate policy goals into action.

 

Read more:

Science  04 Oct 2019:

Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 38-40

 

 

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a symbolic gesture from angus taylor...

More than 11,000 scientists around the world have signed a scientific paper declaring a climate emergency, backing protesters across the world demanding action.

Key points:
  • The 11,000 scientists who put their name to the paper say they have a "moral obligation" to humanity
  • The scientists, from 153 countries, have backed governments across the world that made similar declarations
  • The group of scientists say there needs to be greater emphasis on human activities that can change the climate such as fertility rate, air travel and meat production  

 

The paper, published in the journal BioScience, declares the climate crisis "has arrived" and is "accelerating faster than most scientists expect". 

"Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat," the paper said.

The UK, Scotland and Ireland are among the countries that have declared a "climate change emergency", along with more than 1,000 subnational jurisdictions, including many in Australia, such as the ACT, the City of Sydney and the City of Melbourne.

Last month, the Federal Government voted down an attempt to declare a climate emergency across the country, with the Morrison Government's Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, labelling it a "symbolic" gesture.

More than 400,000 Australians have signed a petition, now presented to Parliament, urging the Government to make the call.

 

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-06/climate-change-emergency-11000-sc...

 

Read from top.

symbolic gesture


 

the aussie CONsensus...

CONsensus

 


buggering the nation's carbon emission reduction...

...

Act One begins in 2009, when the Rudd government commenced negotiations on the centrepiece of its climate strategy, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Prime Minister Rudd figured he didn’t need the Greens’ five Senate votes to pass the bill and had no interest in playing us into the conversation anyway. He froze us out of negotiations and designed a scheme that would instead persuade the Coalition and their coal and gas patrons that the bill was no threat to business as usual. The scheme that emerged locked in steep emissions growth, as you’d expect of a bill designed to appease the fossil-fuel sector and its parliamentary proxies. At the time, Greenpeace described it as “a monumental fraud being perpetrated on the Australian people”. Nonetheless it was still too much for Tony Abbott, who seized the moment to depose the then Opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull. To this day, the Greens’ refusal to vote for Rudd’s “monumental fraud” still embitters a small cohort of Labor folks, but in a curious twist they wouldn’t have to wait long for Act Two.

The stage was set poorly. Julia Gillard, new to the prime ministership, made the widely panned decision to abdicate climate policy in favour of a vaguely titled “citizens assembly”. The landscape changed yet again after the dead-heat 2010 federal election. Gillard’s government, hanging by a thread in the House of Representatives and contending with Greens MP Adam Bandt’s presence in a shared balance of power, accepted a proposal by Greens senators Brown and Milne for a novel circuit-breaker: a multi-party committee representing MPs from across the parliament and a small panel of experts in climate science, economics, industry and social policy. Abbott, predictably, boycotted the whole process, leaving the committee to function as intended: to come up with a workable scheme that could actually be debated, amended and passed by parliament. By the end of 2011, Australia had a world-leading carbon price scheme. It was designed to hit the largest industrial polluters hardest and raise enough revenue for a fairer tax system for people on low incomes, a biodiversity fund, energy efficiency schemes, and assistance for clean-energy projects.

It is hard to overstate the importance of the model of cross-party consensus-building, and expert and community input, to come up with something workable. The executive, and most of the parliament, worked collaboratively for a few months on one of the most daunting issues facing us, and it delivered. On the night the bills went through, you could feel the ship turn, perceptibly, away from the looming iceberg.

The awful rending sound coming from below decks was, of course, Tony Abbott and the Minerals Council of Australia setting up Act Three.

You know how this one ends: with the perfection of a crude and highly gendered attack on Prime Minister Gillard and the numbing repetition of the “great big new tax” mantra, amplified out of all proportion by a section of the media that had cast aside all pretence of neutral reportage. Most of the Clean Energy Act 2011 was repealed by Abbott’s government in 2014, leaving only the hugely important renewable energy funds stubbornly investing billions of dollars a year in clean technology despite all attempts to demolish them.

The whole campaign was pure bullshit, of course. The promised $550 household savings never materialised – sorry if you were led to believe that someone was going to send you a cheque. Abbott’s former chief of staff, Peta Credlin, caused a minor stir early last year when she admitted that mis-labelling the Clean Energy Act as a carbon tax was no more than “brutal retail politics”. By then, the damage had been done.

We’ll need every megawatt of policy smarts, movement building and political rat-cunning to write a triumphant Act Four, because the theatre is starting to smell of smoke.

What the hell kind of lesson should we draw from these dismal episodes? Smarter people have attempted to answer that question: for me, it is the most important recent example of how deeply industry incumbents have infected the machinery of democracy, using the hollowed-out shell of the Coalition in concert with commercial media platforms to delete an unwanted cost to business while attempting to break the spine of federal Labor.

 

Read more:

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/march/1519822800/scott-ludlam/h...

 

Read from top.

unprecedented...

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) says they have received multiple reports of people being trapped in their homes at several locations, as an unprecedented bushfire emergency grips the state.

Fire crews have been unable to reach these locations due to the intensity of the blazes.

The RFS said firefighters were in "uncharted territory" with a record 17 fires simultaneously burning at emergency level.

A further 50 blazes across NSW are out of control.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-08/nsw-rfs-issues-emergency-warnings...

 

 

Gus: what I venture to say despite some experts trying to minimise the influence of global warming on these fires, global warming is going to increase the potential gradients between hot and cold — therefore increase wind speed by an appreciable factor.  Go back to your boiling kettle if you don't understand this...

 

 

at least 100 homes have been destroyed...

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) says at least 100 homes have been destroyed, as an unprecedented bushfire emergency grips the state.

The RFS also said three people were unaccounted for, but that there were no confirmed fatalities yet.

More to come.

Topics: disasters-and-accidentsfiresnswlismore-2480forster-2428

taree-2430bobin-2429harrington-2427,

mount-seaview-2446carrai-2440toorooka-2440willawarrin-2440kempsey-2440

port-macquarie-2444armidale-2350,tenterfield-2372

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-09/nsw-fires-emergency-day-leads-to-injury-and-damage-assessment/11688620

meanwhile in CONservative BS-land...

Greenhouse gas emissions, and whether they are going up or down, is once more at the centre of debate.

Liberal MP Katie Allen entered the fray when she told ABC TV that the Coalition Government had "done a great job" reducing emissions.

Dr Allen was immediately accused of lying by Labor's Pat Conroy, who said she was "factually wrong" because emissions had, he claimed, risen every year since 2014.

"They have fallen since 2005," she said in response. "They are the lowest they have ever been."

Is Dr Allen correct in claiming emissions have fallen since 2005, and that they are the lowest they have ever been? RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict

Dr Allen's first claim, that emissions have fallen since 2005, is misleading and her second claim, that emissions are the lowest they have ever been, is incorrect.

In the year to June 2005, Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions were 610.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent, according to the latest government data available. (The Australian Government uses financial years when reporting emissions under its international agreements).

Since then, annual emissions have fluctuated, reaching 537.8 million tonnes in the year to June 2018 (the latest comparable full year).

By the March quarter of 2019, annual emissions had risen to 538.9 million tonnes.

While emissions are now lower than they were in 2005, they are nonetheless at their highest annual rate since the year to June 2012.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-08/fact-check-carbon-emissions-under...

 

What is Dr Allen a doctor in? Bullshit? Fake News? False Diagnostic? Opiate for the Volkes? Ah, she's a Liberal (CONservative) member of Parliament... She must be a Doctor in cultivated Ignorance and possibly a believer that Scummo is a god incarnate...