Sunday 23rd of January 2022



Labor and the Greens have blasted new annual emissions projections, and the Turnbull government’s review of its climate policies, characterising the Coalition’s action on climate change as woefully inadequate.

In the shadow of a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, the government released a long-anticipated review of its climate policies that foreshadows loosening the current safeguard mechanism that sets limits on pollution.

At the same time, the government released official emissions data projecting that Australia will increase its emissions all the way to 2030 and beyond.

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carbon dioxide drives this thingy...


When the global temperature readings are in for 2017, it’s going to be a very hard sell for climate-science deniers: 2017 will likely be ranked either side of 2015 as the second or third hottest year on record, with 2016 still in top spot.

The hottest five-year period recorded in the modern era will be the one we’ve just had.

Communities around the world, and the flora and fauna we share it with, feel the effects of that steady rise through extreme weather, droughts, heatwaves, shifting rains, melting ice and rising sea levels.

Levels of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, deforestation and land clearing keep climbing.


But some remain convinced that the whole thing is an elaborate hoax and readily find a home for their conspiracy theories and pseudoscience in conservative media outlets and, too often, on publicly funded ones too.

Climate-science deniers love to fling around accusations that climate change models are massively over-egging the global warming pudding and should not be trusted (climate scientist Zeke Hausfather has a great technical explainer on this).

While many pseudo-sceptics are quick with an unfounded criticism, it’s rare for them to put their own alchemy to the test by making firm projections about what’s to come.

But sometimes they do and the results are often spectacularly and comically bad. Let’s have a look at a few.

The $10,000 bet

In 2005, two Russian solar physicists, Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev, accepted a $10,000 bet with the British climate modeller James Annan that will be concluded in a couple of weeks.

At the time, Annan had been looking around for sceptics willing to put money behind their predictive prowess.

He bet the two Russians $10,000 that the six years between 2012 and 2017 would be warmer than the six years between 1998 and 2003.

Temperature data from the US National Climatic Data Centre – since renamed the National Centres for Environmental Information – would be used.

Annan thought human-caused global warming would keep pushing temperatures higher. The Russian pair thought solar activity would drop away and this effect would be enough to cause global temperatures to fall.

With only one month of data to go, you don’t need a maths degree to see who is rubbing their hands.

So far, only two years between 1998 and 2003 rank in the top 10 warmest years, compared with at least five years between 2012 and 2017.

Annan told me: “Yes I am confident of winning the bet, even the threatened eruption of Agung couldn’t matter … even if it had happened earlier this year. With only a few weeks to go, there is no chance of sufficient cooling for me to lose.”

El Niño enough?

In 2011, a group of Australian and New Zealand “sceptics” predicted that temperatures were about to plummet. The year 2011, they said, would likely be “the coolest year globally since 1956 or even earlier”.

Largely ignoring the role of increasing levels of greenhouse gases, the group, led by Australian John McLean, thought instead that the cycle of warming El Niño and cooling La Niña weather patterns would be enough to explain what would happen that year. This natural cycle had entered its cooler phase in late 2010.

You might have guessed it, but the group was wildly wrong.

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xmas prezzies for the rich...

It’s heartening to see that trickle-down economics is being given another determined go, this time courtesy of the trillion-dollar-plus Trump tax cuts. This branch of economic theory has never worked before but that’s no reason to give up on it.

Poor demented Ronnie Reagan grabbed hold of supply-side economics, as did the horrible Milk-Snatcher in the Old Dart. It worked just splendidly to the extent that a lot more money was distributed to the top 1 per cent, and there the trickle stopped. 

Business handbook Forbes Magazine said Trump’s tax cuts were just the latest iteration of voodoo economics “in which the laws of supply and demand are suspended and replaced with ideological rhetoric to justify channeling even more wealth to the uber-wealthy”. 

Trump’s bill was, unusually, accompanied by a campaign of some well-endowed billionaires urging congress not to pass the legislation.  Why would anyone listen to them? Having been technically bankrupt three or four times, the Pussy-Grabber knows more than a thing or two about supply and demand and he thinks, like Trumble Down Under, that less tax for corporations is good for everyone.  

And Merry Christmas to that.

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It should be noted that the tickets for the Xmas party at Trump's Florida Golf Club have gone up heftily... After having been given an early Xmas prezzie from Trump the rich dudes who go there can afford to fork out more cash for the selective Xmas party of a lifetime with Trump and Melania on the dance floor... and Tomahawk missiling fireworks somewhere on the planet.

our aussie nightmare...

Ever since the Copenhagen summit in 2009, climate change conferences have suffered from the tyranny of low expectations. But COP23 produced some moments that deserve to be put up in lights. For Cantley-Smith, the single biggest outcome of Bonn was the formation of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a coalition of 19 countries that committed to phasing out coal-fired power altogether. Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Mexico were among the nations that committed to abolishing coal power. “Coal is clearly on the way out. Global energy trends are indicating an unmistakable shift the energy mix away from fossil fuels, and greater investment in renewables and clean energy” Cantley-Smith says. “It’s probably something we won’t hear about in Australia so much, but for the international community at COP23, coal is clearly not king.”

Australia’s decade of policy paralysis on climate change makes it easy to think the situation is hopeless. But far from the Canberra circus, the rest of the world is quietly building a future where sayings like “climate change is crap” and “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead” will be nothing but bad memories.

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going above...

Australia's posted its third-warmest year on record in 2017, with the eastern half including NSW and Queensland notching their hottest annual readings.

The Bureau of Meteorology's annual report showed the nation's area-averaged mean temperatures – taking in daily highs and lows – were 0.95 degrees above its 1961-90 baseline at 22.75 degrees.

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A colony of poor animals lost their lives to New South Wales’ severe temperatures, which are high enough to melt even asphalt.

While some parts of the northern hemisphere are drowning in snow (not even the Sahara Desert is an exception), Australia is suffering a heatwave, with temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius in Campbelltown in New South Wales. The extreme weather is having an impact on a local colony of fruit bats, also known as flying foxes.

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trumble's troubled temperatures...

As the Bureau of Meteorology confirms another record-breaking year for temperatures in Australia, we should expect a sense of urgency to be creeping into Australia's climate policy.

Instead, we're seeing the opposite.

While 2015-17 were all within the hottest six years on record, our carbon emissions also continued to increase during the same period, including an all-time peak in 2017, when unreliable land-use data was excluded from the analysis.

This is despite signing up to the Paris Agreement in 2015, which outlined a plan to reduce our carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030.

Government data pushed out under the cloak of Christmas indicates that we will be about 140 million tonnes — or about 30 per cent — above that target based on current growth.

And this is under the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull, who in 2010 warned that "the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic."

At the time, he argued that effective action on climate change required moving to "zero, or very near zero emissions [energy] sources.

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trump's bullshit...

Trump suggested the climate had been cooling as well as warming and asserted – wrongly – that ice at the poles has not been shrinking as predicted.

“The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records,” he said.

That assessment remarks does not match what data shows and scientists say. 

The world has not been cooling except for normal day-to-day weather variations; it has been just the opposite. And there have been far more records for shrinking ice on the top and the bottom of the world than growing, despite what the president claimed.

Earlier this month Trump said the US could “conceivably” return to the deal under more favourable terms, raising questions about whether he was bluffing about pulling out of the Paris deal in a bid for easier emissions targets.

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dimmed sins, trumbled eggs and trumpdonald's hamburgers...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China is trying to gain access to sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual properties through telecommunications companies, academia and joint business ventures, U.S. senators and spy chiefs warned on Tuesday at a Senate hearing.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he worried about the spread in the United States of what he called "counterintelligence and information security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain overseas vendors."

"The focus of my concern today is China, and specifically Chinese telecoms (companies) like Huawei (Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL]) and ZTE Corp, that are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government," Burr said.

Chinese firms have come under greater scrutiny in the United States in recent years over fears they may be conduits for spying, something they have consistently denied.

A Huawei spokesman said the company is aware of "U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei's business in the U.S. market." He also said the firm is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries and poses no greater cyber security risk than other vendors.

ZTE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Burr said he worried that foreign commercial investment and acquisitions might jeopardize sensitive technologies and that U.S. academic research and laboratories may be at risk of infiltration by China's spies.

Several of the U.S. spy agency chiefs who testified at the committee's annual worldwide threats hearing cited concerns raised by what they called China's "all of society" approach toward gaining access to technology and intellectual property.


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See also: 

Turnbull reveals what he gave to Donald Trump and Melania 

the negative Neg...

For folks who aren’t hardcore climate and energy policy tragics, it might be hard to stay on top of the various twists and turns in the debate about the national energy guarantee. This is a good weekend to take stock.

If you were watching events on Friday, you’ll know the federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has persuaded the states and territories to keep going with the Neg, but just hold that thought. To understand all the dimensions of this debate properly, and I think there’s value in laying it all out – we’ll need a brief recap, then we’ll need to look over the horizon to chart where it’s all going.

The Neg is supposed to deal with two problems. The policy’s reliability and emissions framework is aimed at ensuring the lights stay on at something like an affordable price for energy users, and emissions decrease in the electricity sector so we have some vague hope of meeting our international climate commitments.


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religious illegal land clearing...


Hawkesbury City Council has launched civil action against Dr Mustapha Kara-Ali and Diaa Kara-Ali in the Land and Environment Court, alleging they carried out illegal land clearing, earthworks and built gates, fences and driveways without seeking any of the relevant development approvals at a property in Colo, in Sydney's north west.

Mustapha Kara-Ali, a former member of then Prime Minister John Howard's Muslim Community Reference Group and past postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, is the Imam of religious guild Diwan Al Dawla.

A letter he wrote to a council staff member, filed in the court documents, says the members of the guild live "separated from secular lifestyles to pursue a religious mode of worship and an ascetic lifestyle under an oath of self-sacrifice and dedication to the purposes of Diwan Al Dawla".

The Colo property was owned by the members of Diwan Al Dawla and used "for the carrying out of religious activities of devotion, self-discipline, ritual baptism, inter-community prayers, contemplation and religious study," the letter said.

A council compliance officer visited the property in October last year following an anonymous complaint to find land clearing, including a number of large native trees and the removal of metal waste, according to court documents.


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Religions are not above the secular laws.