Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

aussie, aussie, aussie, oi, oi oi...

coltonite   I love Australia.

It’s not a thing you hear too often from progressives. Mostly this is because we don’t go in for the pathetic jingo-nationalist, quasi-militaristic “love it or leave it”-style patriotism that John Howard attempted to link with a love of country.

But I do love Australia. I get an absurd amount of irrational pride when I hear of Australians doing well.

When I read stories that Indigenous rock art might be among the oldest in the world I get excited and think, yeah suck it, caves of Cantabria!

I can still remember where I was when John Aloisi scored the winning penalty against Uruguay (jumping up in my home in Cairns and cutting my hand on the overhead fan), and like all sensible Australians I let out a deep groan whenever I hear someone start yet again an “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” chant at the tennis.

But my love has nothing to do with Australian Day and no, this is not an article about Australia Day.

I mean, of course we should change the date. As one who grew up in country South Australia from German ancestors, the English landing in Sydney has never resonated for me as anything more than New South Wales Proclamation Day. Thanks for the holiday and the cricket at Adelaide Oval, but otherwise ...

Keep the public holiday – make it the last Monday in January – it is nicely timed to signal an end to the summer holidays. Call it “Summer Day” or some such and then find another day to actually celebrate the nation. Better still, become a republic and make it that day. But I digress.

This is not about Australia Day, but climate change.


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advance bogania...

On January 26, Alison Pennington reflects on the history of a nation defined by resistance and determination, but diverted by elite self-interest.

On this day a couple hundred years ago, Governor Arthur Philip placed a flag in the ground in Botany Bay and declared it a fitting place for a giant prison. Behind him, 10 more ships sardine-packed with convicts in derelict condition, military and civil officers, and some food stocks approach the shores. The arrival of the First Fleet was the arrival of an Ikea flatpack “do it yourself” prison colony. 

January 26 – ‘Australia Day’ – is a political project forced upon the nation by born-to-rulers. They want consensus for the wealth amassed through theft of Aboriginal peoples’ land and resources, and through the convict transportation system of slave labour. We will hear stories of triumphant ‘discovery’, and ‘progress’, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

So decrepit was the first New South Wales colony that the military controlled all economic activity (the Rum Corps) – a beacon of reaction against even liberal capitalists across the world.

Why on earth did the flatpack colony set up here? Eight years prior to the Fleet’s arrival Captain Cook (the bloke we have memorials for across the country) was given urgent orders by London to find suitable land to establish a penal colony. After hundreds of years of wreaking absolute havoc on the peoples of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, British prisons were bursting at the seams.

Crime was a construction of the empire – a new and experimental time for creating systems of control. Political dissidents, peasants and workers attempting to defend themselves since the Enclosures and now facing violent industrialisation, were locked up in their thousands for crimes of theft, treason, riot, incitement, seditious libel and more. 

Many crimes were punishable by death. But with mass democratic movements for suffrage and political independence in full swing, the empire preferred transportation to avoid creating martyrs.


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And should you be bored with the buckets on the head of people watching the cricket, here is something about climate change from 12 years ago... Unfortunately the satire was far too good and the MSM/TV would have been too afraid to publish it. Sadly, it only attracted 260 viewers since 2007 so far...

Yes, the MSM only promotes Bogania-ville, in Bogania, with serious programs such as "I'm a Celeb, Get Me Our of Here!" by the million viewer loads...

Note, Richard Neville died in 2016 from dementia... We've already mentioned him on this site...



winemakers and coalminers...

POKOLBIN winemaker Alisdair Tulloch won't directly support teenagers campaigning against a major expansion of Glencore's Glendell coal mine at Singleton until 2044 because of climate change.

He has friends who are Hunter coal miners, who feel "beaten up" by climate change protests.


But that doesn't mean he supports Hunter mine expansions. After years of directly experiencing the impact of record-breaking warmer average annual temperatures on vineyards where some vines were planted in the 1920s, Mr Tulloch knows better than most the costs and impacts of a warming planet on industry.

He offers a nuanced response to the teenagers' call in the hope that in 2020, after the past few weeks' catastrophic bushfires and a decade's toxic climate change "debate", Australians can talk about the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and prepare the nation for what's ahead.


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The Hunter Region is one of Australia’s oldest wine producing areas and a principal winemaking area of NSW.  The region produces semillon, shiraz, chardonnay, verdelho and many other wine varieties which are said to have unique regional characteristics.  The Hunter semillon is acclaimed as the world's finest. 

Over 39 million litres of premium wine is produced in the Hunter Valley annually and it is sold to over 50 countries worldwide with an estimated value of $270 million in sales.  There are over 6,000 hectares of vineyards, 125 wineries and 75 cellar doors in the region.  Tourism associated with the wine-growing area is estimated at 2.8 million visitors annually who generate over $560 million in business in the region. 

It is also internationally renowned as Australia's horse breeding capital, being one of only three international centres of excellence in the world.  The Hunter is a breeding ground of champion racehorses, and thoroughbreds from the region frequently dominate world race rankings.  This is an iconic, heritage industry - quintessentially Australian - that  is also a significant employer in the region.  Some of the world famous studs that are located in the Hunter include Darley, Coolmore, Arrowfield, Vinery, Yarraman Park and Widden.


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This should explain the cartoon at top, for those who "did not get it"...

the death of coal...

...Global banks are aware of the dangers

For decades, sceptics have disputed the science of climate change. Now they want to ignore the economics. 

The reason global financiers are rapidly turning their backs on coal is because there's no longer a buck to be made from it.

Last week, that message was rammed home rather forcefully by the Bank of International Settlements, the governing body of the world's central banks, including our own Reserve Bank. 

In a paper entitled Green Swan, the BIS warned central banks that bad loans on power stations and mines could spark the next financial crisis. 

Should that occur, central banks could be forced to pick up the tab, just as they had to wade into mortgage markets during the global financial crisis. 

Most global banks already are acutely aware of the dangers. That's why no-one will commit to financing the Adani mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin. 

Coal mines and coal fired power stations are projects with very long life spans that require huge amounts of capital. 

Many now deem the risk of committing vast billions over decades to be too high. Not surprisingly, it was ANZ's Credit and Market Risk Committee that advocated the retreat from coal. 

Renewable energy is no longer just a cleaner alternative

There's a personal aspect too. Committing vast sums to coal-fired generation — when the financial and environmental risks have been evident — leaves executives and directors open to legal action.

Renewable energy is now no longer just a cleaner alternative to coal.

It's also cheaper and costs continue to fall. According to the Federal Government's energy market operator and the CSIRO, "wind and solar are clearly the cheapest new form of electricity generation".

In a joint report last year, the pair found that while existing coal plants remained the lowest cost, when it came to building new plants, coal could not keep pace. And that's even without the introduction of a carbon price.

"Our data confirms that while existing fossil fuel power plants are competitive due to their sunk capital costs, solar and wind generation technologies are currently the lowest cost ways to generate electricity for Australia, compared to any other new build technology," CSIRO chief energy economist Paul Graham said.

The rapid improvements in renewable energy generation technology now are being matched by advances in energy storage, particularly batteries, tilting the economics further towards the future and away from the past. 

Ideology versus economics

How is it that often intelligent, high achievers, some of whom hold office, can argue so forcefully against the overwhelming weight of evidence? 

Since 2000, Australia has suffered a series of once-in-a-century droughts, a challenging prospect for anyone with even a fleeting acquaintance with mathematics. From one in a hundred to one in six.

Rather than an evidence-based quest for answers, climate has become an ideological battle framed around politics instead of science. 

In most facets of their lives, climate sceptics rejoice in scientific advancement and technological breakthrough. 

There's never any debate about Einstein's theory of special relativity. They never question the revolution wrought by electronics. They revel in high-speed travel. And when it comes to health, they demand the latest and the very best.

But with climate — or more specifically electricity generation — they blanch at the idea of moving much beyond 1776, the year James Watt improved Thomas Newcomen's steam engine. 

Setting fire to coal and boiling up a big pot of water so the steam can turn a machine is apparently the pinnacle of modern electricity generation and a point beyond which we shouldn't venture, regardless of cost.

Climate change costs

It isn't easy to measure the cost of the current fires although much of the "analysis" you are likely to see in the next few months will be inaccurate. 

The loss of innocent lives, the devastation of our wildlife and the heartbreak of losing your home can't be measured on a balance sheet.


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excess co2 pollution sanctified by scomo...

Mining and heavy industry companies, including BHP and Alcoa, have again been allowed to lift their greenhouse gas emissions without penalty under a climate change policy that the Australian government promised would prevent national pollution increasing.

Under changes posted online on Thursday, BHP coalmines in Western Australia and Queensland, Alcoa’s Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria and a Boggabri coalmine in New South Wales were each given the green light to emit more under the scheme known as the “safeguard mechanism”.

Of those made public, the allowed increases ranged between 3% to 33% above previous emissions limits. Not all the increases were published. Two of three BHP mines moved from annual to multi-year emissions limits, which means they promised to emit less over the next two years to make up for excess emissions last year.


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