Scott Morrison claims Australia is on track to meet its Paris Agreement emission targets. So how does he explain this graph?

It is part of the government mantra that Australia is on track to meet the hopelessly inadequate targets of the Paris agreement.

Morrison is it pains to point this out at every opportunity as it repeating it is going to make it true.

Last week, the Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham was rejecting attempts by the European Union to include meeting Paris climate agreement targets as part of any trade agreement. His argument was that this was unnecessary because Australia was on track to meet it’s targets.

Unfortunately, both Morrison and Birmingham’s position is contradicted by the the government own Department of Environment and Energy.

The Department of Environment and Energy projections released in December show Australia is not on track to meet its current target. 

This is a quote from a recent report from the Department

“The 2018 projections show Australia continues to make good progress to its emissions reduction targets. Australia will surpass its 2020 target and the task to meet the 2030 target has declined.

The Government disagrees, insisting it is on track to meet the Paris target “in a canter”. It would be interesting to know where the government is getting the data the bases these ridiculous claims on.

The Climate Council also believes that Australia is not on track to meet its Paris climate targets.

The tragic aspect of this debate is that ignores the fact that the Paris agreement targets were woefully inadequate to meet the problem as it existed then, let alone the ever deepening crisis that exists now.

Why Australia’s 1.3% carbon emissions are an important contribution to the causes of bushfires.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison continued to deny that Australia’s contribution to carbon emissions was a factor in the bushfires.

What difference does a 1.3% contribution make?

This is an argument for never doing anything and it was contradicted by number of scientists.

Global carbon project executive director and CSIRO research scientist Pep Canadell said, ” It’s the tragedy of the commons. Because all the individual contributions are small, no one feels responsible.”

Source: http://www.simulace.info/index.php/Tragedy_of_the_commons

The tragedy of the commons is a systems archetype. Systems archetypes are patterns of behaviour that occur regularly in social, environmental and organisational systems. Tragedy of the commons is one of them and can be summarised “All for one and none for all.”

The fundamental dynamic is that individuals act in their own interests and those individual activities act as a feedback loop that begins to drive the activities of the entire group who, in acting in their own self-interest ultimately act against interests of the whole group.

Usually, this archetype applies to the exploitation of a resource such as fishing grounds where each individual seeks to maximise their returns at the expense of others and ultimately the common resource is exhausted.

In the case of carbon emissions, the effect of each nation with low levels of carbon emissions, ( between !% and 2%) ignoring their contribution means that the overall effect of their individual actions is equal to that of a large polluter, such as China or the US.

In other words, each small polluter looks at what their neighbours are doing and says “Why should I change, if they do not?” and the effect is cumulative so that none of the small polluters change their behaviours.

Their combined impact on the “commons” (the global environment) is, in effect, the same as one of the large polluters.

An act of leadership which establishes a changed dynamic amongst the small polluters may be sufficient to make a huge difference to global pollution levels.

Part of the tragedy the commons is that it is clear that this act of leadership is not going to come from Australia.

The chickens come home to roost for the privatisation of Victoria’s power supply.

THE AGE reports “Jurors on Wednesday found the operator of the Latrobe Valley’s Hazelwood Power Station guilty of 10 WorkSafe breaches, including failing to do an adequate risk assessment and failing to have a reticulated water pipe system for worked-out mines.”

The massive open-cut mine fire at the Hazelwood plant in Morwell, February 2014. CREDIT: KEITH PAKENHAM

Wednesday’s decision in the Supreme Court also removes the suppression order on details of an earlier trial, which found four companies behind the mine guilty of three charges of breaching the Environment Protection Act.

Geoff Dyke, the CFMMEU mining and energy branch secretary,  said fire protection measures were removed from the mine since privatisation, despite a history of coal mine fires in the district.

This is the price of privatisation. In the biD to drive down costs, the operator of the Latrobe Valley’s Hazelwood Power Station, Hazelwood Power Corporation, a subsidiary of Engie, introduced to series of cost-cutting measures that could possibly have avoided this expensive and disastrous fire.

And where does the ultimate responsibility for the privatisation of our power supplies supplies lie?

With the disastrously misguided policies of the Kennett government which thought that introducing competition into the supply of water and power in the state of Victoria was going to drive down prices through the mechanism of competition.

A double whammy failure.

And these are the two men responsible for that disastrous set of public policies: Alan Stockdale and Jeff Kennett.

Did God cause the bushfires? For some Christians it is not a stupid question.

if you’re a scientist and an atheist, then it is a stupid question. But, Christians have struggled with the question of the existence of evil for a long time.

There is also a long tradition of fire and brimstone preachers using natural disasters, particularly plagues, as examples of God’s displeasure with humanity for it’s sinful ways.

Israel has unfortunately taken what has always been a serious theological debate to the point of absurdity and exposed himself to ridicule.

The nation’s most powerful Christian group, the Australian Christian Lobby, has refused to condemn Israel Folau for his claim over comments he made linking bushfires to same-sex marriage and abortion thereby exposing themselves to ridicule as well.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Martyn Iles with Israel Folau in 2012.

The Prime MinisterHas seen fit to weigh into the debate saying that Folau has overstepped the mark. But going no further than that. He didn’t say, “No, God does not cause bushfires. That Is stupid, Israel.” which would have been really helpful.

Folau is a preacher in a tradition that uses natural disaster as a sign of God’s displeasure to call people back to True Religion. Usually, it was the black plague that God sent to punish people. It was widespread, rather than specific like bushfires, so everybody felt threatened. So everybody had to repent.

The difficulty with Israel’s approach is that he attributes God’s wrath to his favourite causes of same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

And this is where the problems begin. Israel must have a direct link to God and to know that this is what God is really pissed off about. So why have the poor folk of Queensland and New South Wales been singled out?

And God must have known that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are disproportionately represented in the areas of the bushfires where his wrath has descended.

Because this is the logical conclusion from Israel’s rantings during his sermon.

The Frydenberg theory of economic success: if you don’t nail it the first time, use a bigger hammer.

The AGE reports The Morrison government is looking at ways to deliver tax relief to middle income earners as a much-needed boost to the economy after the nation suffered its biggest one-month fall in jobs in more than three years.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government was “always looking” at ways to cut taxes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported total employment fell by 19,000 in October. It was the largest drop in employment since August 2016 and only the second monthly drop since then.

Having already delivered tax cuts to stimulate the economy with no notable success in terms of stimulating retail sales or stimulating the job market, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is considering another round of tax cuts.

The reason why the last lot of tax cuts didn’t work was that the recipients put the money in the bank and used It to offset their mortgages rather than spend. It is called the Rainy Day syndrome.

So clearly the thinking in government circles is that another round of tax cuts will surely do the trick this time. 

But the evidence would suggest that if it didn’t work last time it probably isn’t going to work this time because nothing much has changed since then.

Well, if the bigger hammer theory is correct, then the tax cuts just need to be much bigger.

Remember this is the government that has produced a succession of treasurers who have demonstrated a spectacular grasp of the functioning of the economy particularly in the relation to the accumulation of debt.

This can be seen by the growth in the Australian government debt where the Coalition has doubled the total amount of debt accumulated since Federation in a mere six years.


The Frydenberg theory of economic success: if you don’t nail it the first time, use a bigger hammer.

The AGE reports The Morrison government is looking at ways to deliver tax relief to middle income earners as a much-needed boost to the economy after the nation suffered its biggest one-month fall in jobs in more than three years.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government was “always looking” at ways to cut taxes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported total employment fell by 19,000 in October. It was the largest drop in employment since August 2016 and only the second monthly drop since then.

Having already delivered tax cuts to stimulate the economy with no notable success in terms of stimulating retail sales or stimulating the job market, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is considering another round of tax cuts.

The reason why the last lot of tax cuts didn’t work was that the recipients put the money in the bank and used It to offset their mortgages rather than spend. It is called the Rainy Day syndrome.

So clearly the thinking in government circles is that another round of tax cuts will surely do the trick this time.

But the evidence would suggest that if it didn’t work last time it probably isn’t going to work this time because nothing much has changed since then.

Well, if the bigger hammer theory is correct, then the tax cuts just need to be much bigger.

Remember this is the government that has produced a succession of treasurers who have demonstrated a spectacular grasp of the functioning of the economy particularly in the relation to the accumulation of debt.

This can be seen by the growth in the Australian government debt where the Coalition has doubled the total amount of debt accumulated since Federation in a mere six years.

We are not just missing the targets of the Paris agreement, we are increasing our emissions

This is a brief summary of an article by TIM COLEBATCH entitled We’re way off course for Paris, says World Energy Outlook

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that energy policy is way off course around the world. At the Paris climate conference, governments committed to reducing emissions to try to hold the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. Four years later, global emissions are increasing — and if nations’ energy policies are any guide, they will end up driving temperatures far above the Paris goal.

The IEA’s annual flagship review, World Energy Outlook 2019, puts it bluntly. On current policies, the world is on track for a “relentless upward march in energy-related emissions, as well as growing strains on almost all aspects of energy security.” Even governments’ stated policies, including promised changes in future, would merely slow that growth a little, leaving the world far short of meeting its goals in 2040.

The key messages from the Outlook:

 1 On governments’ stated policies, energy use will continue rising by 1 per cent a year for the next two decades.

2 Global emissions from energy use fell earlier in the decade, but rebounded in 2017 and 2018

3The two biggest influences on future emissions are developing Asia — where coal, gas and solar will battle for market dominance over the next twenty years — and Africa

4 Currently the second-biggest source of growth in global emissions is the replacement of cars by SUVs.In Australia and the United States, 60 per cent of non-commercial vehicle sales are SUVs 

5 The pace of gains in energy efficiency is slowing.

 6 The cheapest sources of new power vary widely from country to country. The IEA estimates that solar is now the cheapest option in India, and gas in the United States (thanks to the shale industry) and Europe, but that coal remains the cheapest energy source in China. 

7 The Outlook highlights the massive potential emission reductions from developing offshore wind resources, especially in Europe

But achieving gains in energy efficiency can also be politically difficult, as we saw in the May election, when the Coalition saw political advantage in campaigning against the widespread use of electric vehicles — and got away with it.

Indeed, with the country’s annual emissions from energy use having risen by 34.6 million tonnes or 8.5 per cent in the five years since the Coalition axed the carbon tax, there is no evidence that the government seriously intends to reduce carbon emissions full stop.

The outlook for Australian gas is seriously worrying. In case you’ve yawned through this saga, the Rudd government in 2010 gave the three gas exporters permission to export (and hence, make contracts for) gas they did not have.

The exporters had to buy the extra gas from the domestic market. That drove up gas prices, massively, and because of the swing role gas played in the national electricity market, electricity prices went up with them. It was one of the worst policy disasters Australia has seen.

Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions will be a watershed for victims of child sexual abuse.

Cardinal George Pel has been convicted of child sexual abuse in the County Court of Victoria. He has appealed his sentence and lost. He has now successfully applied for the right to appeal to the High Court.

At the heart of Pell’s appeal to the High Court is the question of whether the evidence of a complainant in a sexual abuse case, no matter how compelling and believable, can eliminate all reasonable doubt raised by other witnesses.

In August Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Court of Appeal President Chris Maxwell found Pell’s accuser was neither a liar nor a fantasist, but a compelling witness of truth.

They dismissed his appeal.

But in a dissenting judgement, Justice Weinberg argued that Ferguson and Maxwell had not given sufficient credence to the witnesses who said it was impossible for Pell to be alone with the two choristers he was convicted of raping. In Weinberg’s opinion this raised sufficient doubt to acquit him.

This meant that Pell’s appeal was lost 2-1.

It appears to me that the important principle that will be decided is whether “a compelling witness of truth” in child sex abuse cases, who in many instances, will be the only witness to the crime, will have their first-hand testimony believed ahead of a group of people who testify that the crime could not have taken place for a range of reasons.

Central to this specific situation is the vivid memory of the child victim set against the recollections of a group of adults remembering the likelihood of the cardinal being able to commit the crime had the normal routines of the parish Sunday church service been followed on the specific day.

There does not seem to have been any evidence that witnesses remember the specific day of the crime, it is simply that in general, had the normal procedures and routines of Sunday morning been followed, it would have been difficult or almost impossible for the Cardinal to have committed crimes.

If this proves to be sufficient to overturn George Pell’s conviction then it will not augur well for the chances of future victims of child sexual abuse.

How not to stimulate the economy: Josh Frydenberg delivers a masterclass with the tax returns.

Having delivered $7.8 billion in tax cuts Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has not seen an upswing in retail sales, a key indicator of increased economic activity. Instead, there has been an ncrease in bank deposits as taxpayers have put their money into mortgage offset accountsTo reduce the even low interest repayments on their mortgage.

“We are working to a plan,” said Finance Minister Senator Cormann “The last thing that Australians need is for the government to get distracted by, quite frankly, premature and uninformed commentary.”

Well, the CBA reporting that their deposits are up by 10% for the last quarter is not “premature and uninformed commentary.” and the fact that company tax revenue was $2 million lower by August of this year is also not “premature and uninformed commentary.” and the fact that returned to budget surplus is $664 million off track is also not “premature and uninformed commentary.”.

So one wonders exactly what “the plan” is because things don’t seem to be going to well from some of the early indicatorsFor the final quarter of 2019.

Did no one tell the PM and the Treasurer that there was a very good chance that people would not spend their tax returns. Surely the risk analysis of the strategy would have examined both possibilities: spend or save.

Namely, taxpayers will spend their tax returns on consumer goodies or put them in the bank for a rainy day. And then examine the consequences of these two possibilities for the economy. Scenario planning 101.

Now, had the money been ploughed into Newstart, where people are living off $280 a week, you can be fairly certain they are not going to put the extra money in the bank.

No-brainer really.

.

The bushfire debate: What we need to be talking about is our own fleet of Elvis helicopters.

To begin with there are a lot of things that we don’t need to be talking about. Mostly, everything that is being said in Canberra and most particularly what Barnaby Joyce is saying: that the bushfires are caused by a change in the magnetic field of the sun, that the people who died in the bushfires probably voted for the Greens et cetera.

What we do need to be talking about is when the $40 million that was stripped from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service will be replaced.

We also need to discuss when we start purchasing a large fleet of Elvis firefighting helicopters (Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane) as recommended by Former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins and former Tasmanian Fire Service chief Mike Brown – who together have 90 years’ firefighting experience. Two people who don’t seem to be able to get an appointment to speak with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Elvis is capable of refilling 10,000 liters of water in 45 seconds

Currently Australia leases these helicopters from America during the fire season. But overlapping fire seasons with California, where there are currently severe bushfires, makes the supply of these helicopters problematic.

So Australia needs a large fleet of its own to ensure it has the resources available as quickly as bushfire strike.

It will also need its own fleet of large air tankers and other craft – some possibly operated by the military.

The fire season has started early and catastrophically. The indications are that the situation will get worse in New South Wales and Victoria with unprecedented threats to urban areas.

What is needed is urgent action at the state and federal level to increase the capacity of the firefighting services to mount unprecedentedly effective early intervention against bushfires.

It is increasingly obvious once this new generation of bushfires take hold, they are impossible to control without significant rainfall.

And in the midst of long-term droughts that is something where even thoughts and prayers have proved inadequate.