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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Australians choose a rocky road

Sou | 9:49 AM Go to the first of 45 comments. Add a comment
Australians voted yesterday and, against the odds, decided to opt for speeding up climate change and destroying our wonderful land.

We had two main choices: a plan to invest in a "fair go" future setting the tone for the difficult years ahead; and a choice to defer that investment, wreck our agriculture, and transfer more wealth to the high end of town.

Australians chose the latter.

Don't get me wrong. The Australian Labor Party is far from perfect. It, too, doesn't fully appreciate the damage we are doing to our world. Nor does it fully appreciate the fragility of Australia and the dangers we face. Nevertheless, overall the choices it offered were a lesser evil than those of the Liberal National coalition.

The question is, should Australians and the world suffer because a slim majority voted against the well-being of farmers, fishers, foresters and everyone in our towns and cities? Should we stand by and allow the destruction of our rivers, grasslands, forests and precious seas because that's what slightly more than half the population voted for?

The answer is a partial yes. That's democracy. That's how our society works.

We chose to elect a government that promises continuing economic mismanagement, increasing the divide between rich and poor, delaying technological advances, depriving Australians of modern transport, and ruining our rivers and seas.

The part that is not "yes" is that we don't have to see this election as the "final nail in the coffin" of Australia. It is tempting to fall into the despair trap and believe our fate is sealed forever. It is understandable but unproductive to lie down and accept that we chose to wreck our world and continue on a path of destruction - and that's the end of that.

Now is the time to get up, dust ourselves off, and continue to push for responsible government and responsible action.

Remember that about half the country did vote for a fairer, more compassionate country. Half of us want to repair our damaged rivers, look after our farmland and forests, protect our remaining wildlife, and do what we can to save the reef. Around one in two Australians know that we will sooner rather than later need to work with the rest of the world to deal with climate migration. We will need to continue to produce food, feed and fibre for more people despite the worsening weather. To survive if not thrive we will need to work as a cohesive society, not the divided nation that people like the execrable Peter Dutton want.

That means we must continue to do what we can, but do it better. We need to continue to push for businesses and industries to take the lead where our federal government won't. We need to support the efforts of state governments to expand renewable energy and get off the fossil fuel train. And we need to demand accountability and openness from our politicians. We need to make sure everyone can see the impact of making the rich richer, the poor poorer, and the land and water degraded.

We might not succeed. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Australians yesterday chose a rocky road, maybe confusing it with the sweet. We could have chosen a slightly smoother (though still rough) path, but we didn't. Let's do what we can to show the world Australia can be better.

45 comments:

  1. Not perfect from my perspective either Sou, though overall I'm happy with the result.

    Labor might have won if they hadn't smacked that Queensland coal mine. Turns out jobs are more important than climate crusades. And Malcolm Roberts will help keep climate legislation from getting more onerous.

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    1. Worral, Forget the climate crisis for the moment. The world is rapidly depleting crude oil supplies. Australia also has no crude oil but is apparently willing to aid China to pollute with bituminous and lignite. That's the climate crisis -- brown skies.

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    2. I don’t think hydrocarbons are going to run out anytime soon. Even if liquid hydrocarbons run short, Fischer-Tropsch (coal to oil) becomes economically viable at around $140 / barrel from memory

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    3. This is the world that people like Eric (and his wacko mate Malcolm Roberts) are wishing upon their descendants:
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/18/climate-crisis-heat-is-on-global-heating-four-degrees-2100-change-way-we-live

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    4. That one reminds me of the ten years to save the world warning the United Nations issued in 1989.

      https://www.apnews.com/bd45c372caf118ec99964ea547880cd0

      30 year anniversary of the 1989 ten year climate warning this June. Should be a good opportunity to try to collate a collection of scary climate warnings which didn't happen.

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    5. The main question that article raises is: have we started the stabilisation process in time? And in time for what?

      It is likely that because we have not been doing enough quickly enough, a lot of the things that were said back then will come to pass; some are already.

      The world is not acting quickly enough for things like melting ice, sea level rise and rapidly changing climates.

      The then Climate Commission (now Climate Council) warned that this current decade was the Critical Decade, and here in Australia we've blown it. We've gone backward, reversing any gains we were making.

      I get that you care more about sticking to your denial than doing anything about climate change. You'll gleefully profit from denial, do everything you can to make things worse, and then complain about all the people who are trying to understand and minimise the awful effects of global warming.

      It's not funny. It's evil.

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    6. No it's funny. There is a way, right now, that the green movement could capture the world, and achieve an overwhelming victory against opponents of climate action. But you can't see it, because you are a green - your limited outlook blinds you to the obvious.

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    7. Does Eric's "funny" comment make you think of adolescents who regard torturing animals as a fun way to spend their time? Or the WUWT-ers who delight in reading about poor communities decimated by cyclones?

      There are some sick people in the world, aren't there.

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    8. "There is a way, right now ... But you can't see it"

      Delusions of grandeur and omnipotence?

      Did you forget to take your pills today?

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    9. From his history he has this vision of the Australian government suddenly deciding to spend zillions of taxpayer dollars on nuclear power plants (what's left of them after they've been returned to taxpayers or spent on the latest barrels of pork).

      Why he would think that's a way "right now" I haven't a clue. I'm not aware of any serious discussion about nuclear investment at the moment.

      Where he thinks they'll go I don't have a clue. How he thinks this hot, dry land that's prone to flooding suits them is similarly obscure. Whether he thinks there'd be enough people who'd want one in their backyard - I don't know but he must think there are communities "right now" who can't wait to be near a potential Chernobyl or Three Mile Island.

      Who will pay for them? I expect Eric is willing to become a socialist to save civilisation after all.

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    10. If we are going back to past climate change claims Eric, did global warming stop in 1998?

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    11. Silence. Has Eric's mummy told him to stop annoying the adults?

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    12. Eric sneers we had ten years to save the world back in 1989 according to the UN...having blithely burnt as much FFs again as we had up to that point, we've actually failed to save that world, but he doesn't understand the scale, future or pace of climate change so it's little surprise he doesn't understand the implications of that warning.
      In the thirty years of AGHG accumulation since 1989, we've locked in 2C rise, and metres of sea level rise over the next two centuries...that's what they were warning you about in 1989, Eric.

      You are oblivious.

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  2. Stopping franking credit refunds fundamentally hits very low income people with shares.
    Labor got what it deserved.

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    1. Jeff, leaving aside your implied accusation that half of Australian adults are driven by greed much more than social responsibility (which may or may not be a fair assessment); and leaving aside the fact that most Australians wouldn't know what a franking credit is, I wouldn't be surprised if the current government implements this idea. They are going to be very short of cash, especially if they want to meet all their pork-barreling commitments. They'll need to push for all the revenue they can get and even so, are unlikely to achieve their promised budget surplus.

      Many retirees on "very low incomes" would be eligible for the pension, and therefore would have been unaffected under Labor's proposal. I can't say the same if the current government goes ahead with it. (I expect you're old enough to remember the "No GST" broken promise.)

      https://www.alp.org.au/other/dividend-imputation-credits/

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    2. It's probably not necessary to point out that if a person were substantially affected by this policy (ie not eligible for a pension), they'd probably have a lot of wealth in shares. They would not be considered "poor". Plus they could always change their portfolio mix to their advantage, if they chose.

      https://www.commsec.com.au/support/learn/managing-investments/how-do-franking-credits-work.html

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. It appears, from studying the demographics, that the FC issue was not as significant as you claim...IOW, many recipients of FC income voted against their narrow self-interest.
      The reasons for labor's loss lie mainly in Queensland where Palmer spent millions on scares, and where Murdoch's malignant media hold particular sway.
      Central Queensland wants another few holes in the ground, despite the non-viability of Carmichael Basin mines. Hope you're prepared to pay for it, Jeff.

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  3. Evidence would suggest that yes, a large proportion of the population is driven by greed and just goes la-la-la when confronted with climate change. To go with that, they wildly believe that climate change is free and fixing it is expensive. Hard not to hope they personally suffer the consequences of their collective actions instead just the future generations.

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    1. I don't really think most people are driven by greed. Self-interest for them (and in some cases their families) is probably more accurate. A lot of people live on the edge financially, no matter how poor or how well off they are. The higher their income the more they spend (private schools, more expensive homes, nicer and newer cars, fancy food, new clothes, eating out, holidays, expensive hair treatments, etc).

      Most people are also generous to a greater or lesser degree and are willing to look out for other people and society. They'll donate to charities, support their children and parents. They will grudgingly agree that taxes are necessary but don't want the government to be wasteful.

      It is likely that the message of how climate change will affect the world still has a long way to go before the majority understand it. When and if they do, in Australia, they'll mostly regard it as something that should be "fixed" by government action.


      They'll still be drawn to promises of lower taxes more than promises that food and water won't be priced out of their reach, supermarkets and greengrocers won't be empty, floods will be managed, and drought is for farmers only. Most people can't envisage the problems that climate change brings, while they live with an appearance the world is a land of plenty if not a limitless supply, and droughts, floods, heat waves and sea level rises are something that doesn't affect them personally.

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  4. Oh, and welcome back. Sad that such an event has been the cause.

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  5. I do not worry too much about Labor, they have shown little commitment to AGW remediation in the past. And all these new "young" voters in this election made not the slightest bit of difference.

    The only positive thing I saw was people and the media talking about Climate Change at levels I have not seen before. So give it time, maybe a few more decades.

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    1. A lot of people blame the oldies for the swing to the right, yet younger voters outnumber oldies by a large margin.

      In a few more decades we oldies won't be around to help anymore. I hope, with time, the young gain more wisdom and knowledge than many of them show at present.

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    2. I do not know what the "younger" generation thinks, and I don't trust how the media portrays them. In some parts of the world the politicians are getting younger.

      I was hoping for a change in the voting demographic after a lot of new voters enrolled for the same sex marriage plebiscite. It turns out nothing has changed, the result in the Lower House is almost identical to the last election.

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  6. I see two roads in humankind's future. The easy road and the hard road. The easy road is to work on AGW remediation now while the world is still rich and the costs of remediation are relatively low.

    The hard road is to let the problem slip decade after decade and then be forced by Nature to do something. There will be more people, less money and a lot more urgency. It's a pity they people are choosing the hard road.

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    1. We've already been forced by nature to pay for damage - more severe fires, floods, drought, storms and heat waves.

      It's strange that the current Australian government is cutting its revenue at a time it should probably be shoring it up. What will happen in the next recession (probably exacerbated by climate change) when the coffers are even emptier than they are now?

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  7. The reason the ALP lost the vote in the area of Rockhampton to Townsville is simple.
    Besides the working area of the mines for coal.
    They feel threatened by any idea that coal is not good for humanity.

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  8. Apparently building replacement renewable generation wont create any jobs. If jobs are more important than the harm they create, then why dont invest in methanphimine and ophoids? Sure it completely stuffs the users but legalizing it would create so many jobs. That's the important thing right?

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  9. WAY off topic, but Jim Steele has issued a fraudulent "challenge". I've archived it here:
    https://tinyurl.com/y52f2x4d

    He's pretending to over $1000 to any student under 21 who can prove to him, in 5000 words or less, that CO2 causes the Earth to warm and that the effects will be catastrophic. He is the judge of this fake contest, and he will "report on" the submissions.

    His "rules" require more evidence than can be fit into 5000 words, and (since he forbids arguments about "consensus" or "appeals to authority") will allow him to dismiss any data or peer-reviewed footnotes he wants to.

    At least he warns potential participants that he's a science denier and so won't be tempted to actually give the prize to anyone.

    He's now descended into farce.

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    1. That clown? I think he is just an irresponsible fraud who wants to self-promote his book or something.

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    2. That's so funny. If the efforts of the world's scientific community cannot convince him then, obviously, a comment on his blog has no chance. But he's going to be kidding himself that he took on the whole world and he won. Jonathon Swift couldn't write funnier material.

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    3. It may be significant that he's pretend-offering the prize to only students under 21. He thinks it's easier to blow them off than to be humiliated by actual scientists.

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  10. Sou, I feel for you there in Australia. Science denial is only one piece of the larger picture, of course. We in the USA are struggling with the gobsmackingly bad decision made in 2016. The UK wrestles with Brexit. The EU is under assault. All democracies are under siege from know-nothing far-right demagoguery proud of its ignorance and nationalist hate.

    It's all related. It's all the same syndrome.

    The world has been through dark ages before, but never with the technological capacity to destroy civilization for good. This is worse than the threat of nuclear annihilation, because its gradual, it's already ongoing, and we're doing it to ourselves.

    Our only chance for survival is to hold together across the continents, form alliances, and never, ever sit down.

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  11. I'd reckon Shorten stuck his chin out a bit far when he refused to put a cost on his climate policies as "... it didn't matter, we just have to do it..."

    It is an idealistic and practically pointless approach: destroy your own manufacturing and farming by hiking up energy costs and concocting vegetation laws, then import the nation's requirements from places like China which are paying lip service to the ideals, while still forging ahead. And by the time we export raw materials,and import their production, the transport alone will negate our savings. But the big cost will come in their increased carbon emissions from manufacturing our requirements in their less energy efficient and transport heavy systems. Chinese produced steel comes at 4 times the carbon output of Australian steel, and polyethylene product may increase the output by 80 times over efficient manufacturing.

    Meanwhile China forges ahead with massive infrastructure projects; https://www.quora.com/If-China-has-so-much-money-to-invest-in-other-countries-why-dont-they-develop-the-poor-parts-of-China/answer/Janus-Dongye-Qimeng?ch=1&share=2b33adef&srid=uu5iZ&fbclid=IwAR2IjL3-jMtph5AMj665NI0BqFQ205001TciUguHU7HbmuiqIUFBeq3Dm1g

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    1. Not sure what point you are trying to make here, unless it is "don't do anything because China".

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    2. Yeah. I'm not keen on empty'feel good' gestures that make no difference. There needs to be a lot more careful thought and planning go into these actions, when it is clear the current proposals will have no measurable effect .... except economically, where the effects will be strongly negative. Will failing economies be a plus or a minus in the carbon game?

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    3. If you can see some positives in exporting/outsourcing our manufacturing and farming, while others carry on business as usual, I'd appreciate it if you could list them.

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    4. marke, you'd be much more comfortable at WUWT or Infowars, or watching Tucker Carlson or that strange chap with the weird hair on Sky News who keeps cropping up on Twitter. What's his name? Rowan something or other.

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    5. Ah yes, those naughty Chinese with their 7.45 tonnes of CO2 per capita ought to cut back on emissions before Australians emitting 17.22 tonnes of CO2 per capita, or Americans with 15.56 tonnes per capita. ref: https://knoema.com/atlas/ranks/CO2-emissions-per-capita

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    6. Hi Andy.
      Well noted. I do agree that Chinese have a great need for, and deserve to have improved distributed power systems, and I feel they will provide it in full as I think they will not allow anything to stand in their way.

      But I ask:

      Are you seeking a practical solution to a problem?
      Or, are you simply embarking on a punitive campaign which will have no measurable effect, other than to provide some with a righteous and noble feeling?

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    7. I see the Chinese industrial complex as a threat to the West: ever since the industrial revolution, military power has been proportional to industrial power. That was the basis for the British Empire and then the American Hegemony.

      But the way to counter it is to invest in low cost energy supplies: green energies, and leave China unable to compete because of its reliance on expensive coal. That only leaves the problem of labour costs, but increased use of automation in the age of AI should eliminate that issue.

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  12. Th climate change narrative got more complicated since that 1989 UN article:

    1989 UN prediction

    Shifting climate patterns would bring back 1930s Dust Bowl conditions to Canadian and U.S. wheatlands, while the Soviet Union could reap bumper crops if it adapts its agriculture in time, according to a study by UNEP and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    https://www.apnews.com/bd45c372caf118ec99964ea547880cd0

    As the climate crisis heats up, flooded farms in the Midwest can’t plant corn

    On May 28 2019, the USDA announced that US farmers have just 58% of their corn crop in the ground (versus a five-year average of 90% by this time) and 29% of the soybean crop (compared to 66%). Those are among the lowest rates in history.
    https://qz.com/1631469/midwest-floods-linked-to-climate-change-are-devastating-us-farms/

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  13. Just vote Green. Keep up the great work, Sou!

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    1. Hi Steve. Thanks. Hope all is going well with you.

      BTW - Maybe you meant "get back to it, Sou", which I will - as I keep promising :D

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