Monday 6th of April 2020

the happy clappies support the happy coalies..


Climate change rallies have been held in most capital cities around Australia in the wake of the bushfire crisis, with thousands of protesters criticising Prime Minister Scott Morrison's handling of the fire emergencies in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Key points:
  • Organisers want to "sack Scomo", and secure compensation for volunteer firefighters
  • A number of people attending the Sydney rally were bushfire victims or had family who had lost homes
  • Some people said it was the first protest they had ever attended because they were so upset


Protesters were criticised by politicians and police, who said resources had to be diverted from bushfire fronts to manage the crowds at the rallies.

The Uni Students for Climate Justice organised the protests that were intended to shut down parts of the CBD during peak hour in those capital cities.

Rallies were also held in a number of regional cities.

Organisers said they wanted to "sack Scomo", and secure compensation for volunteer firefighters, as well as emergency housing and compensation for those paying for accommodation after their houses burnt down.

They also demanded the Federal Government end the multi-billion-dollar fossil fuel subsidy.


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global warming...

Australia’s fire season normally peaks in late January — but as of January 2020, wildfires have already been raging in the country for four months, especially in the east. So far, the fires have destroyed more than 1,300 homes, burned about 6 million hectares and killed at least 24 people. 

Those wildfires are being fueled by a combination of record high temperatures, long-term drought, very low air and soil moisture going into the normal fire season, and human negligence. But climate change, scientists say, could make such extreme, deadly blazes three times as common by the end of the century.

It’s difficult to directly identify the fingerprints of climate change in the blazes. But for years, Australia’s fire managers have kept an eye on one culprit that’s behind particularly hot, dry years in eastern Australia and that may be affected by global warming: an oscillating El Niño–like ocean-atmosphere weather pattern that begins in the Indian Ocean. 

Like El Niño, this “Indian Ocean dipole” pattern has positive, negative and neutral phases, depending on whether eastern or western Indian Ocean waters are warmer than average. The more extreme the temperature difference between the ocean’s eastern and western regions, the stronger the phase. When the Indian Ocean dipole is in a particularly strong positive phase — as it was in 2019 — it correlates to some of Australia’s worst fire seasons, says climate scientist Wenju Cai of CSIRO who is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Global warming is likely to make such extreme positive phases much more common, Cai says. In a 2014 study in Nature, he and colleagues simulated future sea-surface temperature changes in the Indian Ocean in a world where greenhouse gas emissions continue on a “business-as-usual” track (SN: 1/7/20). The team found that, under that scenario, the frequency of extreme positive-phase events could increase from about once every 17 years to about once every six years. 

Science News talked with Cai about the historical link between the Indian Ocean dipole and Australian fires, and the outlook for the current fire season. His responses are edited for brevity and clarity.


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These are "normal weather" influences which are modified by the trends of global warming, which includes the melting of the ice on both poles and on mountainous areas, as well as increases in temperature. Just imagine that should there be no ice to absorb "a lot of global warming", the temperature would shoot through the roof...

See also:

framing crises in economic terms or in people being FIXATED...


We are leaving aside, for a moment, the human trauma and loss in fire grounds, and the latest estimate from Australian Academy of Science Fellow, Professor Chris Dickman, that 1 billion animals have now been killed in the bushfires — a figure that includes mammals, birds and reptiles, but not bats, frogs, insects or other invertebrates.

Our political leaders are, so often, so much more comfortable framing crises in economic or national security terms, particularly when traumatised people don't want to shake their hands.

If it was sabotage that had closed our major arterial highways — like the Eyre or even the Princes Highway down the east coast (as it was in multiple locations for many days) — you can imagine the sort of political rhetoric and hysteria that would have been going on at the moment.

But instead, we continue to have this bizarre situation continuing where a few belligerent types in politics — and very noisy ones in the media — seem to set the limits of our conversation.

It is apparently OK to canvas the misleading idea that the fires have been primarily caused by arson, or deliberately insufficient hazard reduction — which experts including NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons have rejected.

But it apparently isn't OK to simply say that clearly the climate has changed (even to say that without saying because it's due to, you know, climate change).


The Prime Minister hit the airwaves on Thursday night and Friday morning, talking about the various measures the Government has put in place in the last week or so, including calling out Defence Force reservists and $2 billion of funding (various) for bushfire relief.

It's hard not to listen to these interviews though, and get the sense that he is rattling off an alibi; that he remains on the defensive.

On Melbourne radio on Friday, for example, he was asked whether this might be the new normal — very long fire seasons, affecting many different parts of the country — which might require a new permanent mechanism to deal with it

These were obviously issues to be considered, Scott Morrison said.

"I mean, we stood this [the ADF reservists] up last Saturday," he responded.


The Prime Minister has suggested there might be a royal commission into all we can learn from these fires, including their causes, though of course he has not actually locked into calling one.

Excuse the cynicism, but doesn't a possible royal commission — whatever its ultimate virtues — provide the perfect response in the short term for any question you don't want to answer? 

For example, "well that will be a matter for the royal commission to determine".

A Government that has held on, at great cost to rational policy making, to a budget surplus now stuck together with sticky tape, will at least have an honourable reason to not meet its surplus target if it does actually start spending money because of our burning summer.

But the sort of ripple effects we are talking about here on the economy suggest very tough times ahead for the country as a whole — with the only really obvious positive a fire-led building boom.

The economy and national security are supposed to be the Coalition's strong points. 

Yet even in the face of a catastrophe that shows our infrastructure vulnerable, and the economy under threat, we are still overwhelmed with political management.

Laura Tingle is 7.30's chief political correspondent.



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See also:

framing the debate...


Indeed, the Prime Minister made sure to repeat the well-worn lines about tackling emissions "without a carbon tax, without putting up electricity prices and without shutting down traditional industries upon which regional Australians depend for their very livelihood".


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Did Gus' ears hear Scott say "we'll fight emissions with god on our side..."? Or did he say: "we don't believe in global warming but we've got to play the game to stay in power"? Is Gus imagining stuff? Why is the subtext so obvious? Read also: cynical Gus needs a bit more burley to take the bait...


start building a noah's ark in darwin...

Torrential rain was greeted like an old friend in Northern Territory communities this weekend after a tropical weather system induced record-breaking deluges across the Top End.

Key points:
  • Wagait Beach, a short ferry ride from Darwin, copped 515mm of rain in a 24-hour period
  • The rain has been heralded by locals after a brutally dry 2019
  • The island of Dum In Mirrie received 562mm in 24 hours — a new NT record 


Colossal downpours drenched the Northern Territory on Friday, with the small island of Dum In Mirrie south-west of Darwin receiving 562mm in 24 hours — an amount the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) confirmed is a new Northern Territory record.

The rains came as part of a tropical low system stalked the North Australian cost and threatened to hit Darwin as a tropical cyclone.

With little more than a weather station and tidal flats on the tiny island of Dum In Mirrie, the ABC has yet to hear local testimony of the day's unprecedented rains.


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Please note that record-breaking weather events, say droughts, downpours, cold, heat, etc — that is to say extremes in weather patterns ARE TYPICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF GLOBAL WARMING. Like Olympic or athletic world records, these records are temporary until the next wacky wave of extreme weather as the trend of temperature goes up on the planetary scale. "The climates of the planet are on steroids". In this case these record inducing substances are CO2, methane and NOx.

I won't say that Scott Morrison is an imbecile. I will say he is misguided and he is trying to misguide us.



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the charitable enterprises...

Best known for their worship songs sung around the globe, Hillsong Church is spearheading a relief effort for the bushfires that have besieged the nation and has announced they have raised over $1 million.

The blazes, which began last fall, has resulted in the death of 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes, the church noted on their website Friday in an update about their relief efforts; it is estimated that approximately 12 million hectacres [sic] have burned thus far.

"The outpouring of love, care and concern and generosity from people from all walks of life both here and overseas, has been staggering and humbling," Hillsong Church explained.


Read more:


Thank you Hillsong, now tell Scott Morrison that global warming isn't a godsend or punishment but a human activity(ies) gone rogue: burning fossil fuels



It has to be noted that a few netizens have also raised moneys for the "bushfire appeals". One young lady sold her naked pictures and raised also more than 1 million bux, while another, a female comedian raise something like 40 million bux. The Red Cross has raised more than 80 million bux, but apparently "does not know what to do with it" say some competing charitable enterprises... 

The Aussie government has earmarked a few millions to help people with trauma and one wonders if some of this cash isn't going to flow-back to "churchable" (church charitable) enterprises, such as Hillsong, where the "god will help you" mantra will be distributed by paid pastors, like free hot cross buns.

Some people who have lost everything have gone directly to the public to get financial help, rather than go through the "organisations"... Give generously but beware of fake solicitations...

See picture at top.