Sunday, February 08, 2015

Climate change drove Australia's record hot year, unofficial report claims

The usual suspects (Steffen, Flannery) are at it again.  Since there is no statistically significant evidence that there has been ANY global warming for 18 years, the claims of change below are simply false.  Steffen is a long-time Warmist extremist. A while back he  described the debate in the media over the basics of climate change science as ”almost infantile”, equating it to an argument about the existence of gravity.

Australia's hottest year on record would not have happened without climate change, according to a new report.

The country experienced its hottest day, month, season and calendar year in 2013, registering a mean temperature 1.2C above the 1961-90 average.

The Climate Council says recent studies show those heat events would have occurred only once every 12,300 years without greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

"In fact, we can say the 2013 record year was virtually impossible without climate change; it wouldn't have happened," Will Steffen, the author of Quantifying the Strong Influence of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia, told AAP. "I mean, no one would bet on odds of one in nearly 13,000."

Based on analyses of data and model outputs, the report says climate change triples the odds that heatwaves of the 2012-13 Australian summer will happen as frequently as they do.

It also doubles the chances of them being as intense. "We're looking at pretty hard numbers on the odds of those things happening without the underlying warming trend due to greenhouse gases," Mr Steffen said.

"In my view, it's extremely powerful, conclusive evidence that not only is there a link between climate change and extreme heat, climate change is the main driver of it."

Mr Steffen found record hot days have doubled in Australia the last 50 years, and that during the past decade heat weather records were set three times more often than cold ones.

The report also claims heatwaves across Australia are becoming hotter, lasting longer, occurring more often and starting earlier.

2014 was Australia's third-warmest year on record behind 2013 and 2005, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.


Formerly militant TWU eats humble pie

They went close to destroying Qantas before the CEO grounded the fleet and showed them how close they went to losing all their jobs with the airline

Qantas Airways has won a significant victory as part of its quest for all employees to agree to an 18-month pay freeze after workers represented by the Transport Workers Union voted in favour of a new deal that includes the wage freeze.

The enterprise bargaining agreement with the TWU represents 2600 employees, making it the largest single agreement covering part of Qantas's unionised workforce. In total, 70.32 per cent of TWU workers, which include airport, catering and freight employees, voted in favour of the deal. The ballot closed on Friday.

The victory for Qantas means 7000 staff in 11 employee groups have now agreed to the wage freeze, including licensed engineers, short-haul pilots and Jetstar and UK cabin crew. Qantas is implementing the pay freeze as each EBA comes up for negotiation.

"We're really pleased with this result, which came after good faith discussions with the union," a Qantas spokeswoman said. "This is a fair and reasonable agreement which provides both the business and our employees with certainty."

The 18-month wage freeze in the three-year TWU agreement will apply from July 2014 and end on December 31 this year. In 2016 and 2017, the employees will receive a 3 per cent pay rise.

In return for the TWU leadership agreeing to put the deal to a vote of its members, Qantas gave undertakings to improve superannuation and training provisions and better access to long-service leave. It also gave a guarantee that if Qantas splits its international operations to allow a foreign investor to take up to a 49 per cent stake, TWU employees would continue under their existing arrangements.

"The onus is on Qantas to honour their commitment to engage with the workforce," TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said after the vote. "We will be seeking to establish full-time secure jobs during the life of the agreement in return for the acceptance of wage restraint."

He said Qantas's recent financial turnaround would be factored into the TWU's next pay and job security claim. UBS last week said Qantas could report a $1 billion pretax underlying profit this financial year, which compares with a $646 million underlying pretax loss last year.

Under Mr Sheldon's leadership, the TWU has been viewed as one of the most militant unions representing Qantas employees. Mr Sheldon has made harsh critiques of the Qantas management team, including chief executive Alan Joyce. After Qantas last year announced plans to cut 5000 jobs over a three-year period as part of a $2 billion cost-cutting exercise, Mr Sheldon threatened to launch a campaign of "civil disobedience" against the airline. He said he would be willing to be arrested, but in the end, such action never eventuated.

Jetstar pilots represented by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots will next week conclude a vote that would open the door for them to take industrial action against the airline. Jetstar pilots last year voted overwhelmingly against a new EBA which included the 18-month pay freeze, with 95 per cent rejecting the deal. If taken, the industrial action has the potential to disrupt flights.


Abbott ridicule just a distraction from Labor’s economic mess

IN the great sum of political stuff-ups, Tony Abbott’s captain’s calls to reintroduce dames and knights and giving Prince Philip an Australian award, just don’t make the cut.

They might attract ridicule, justly, but they’re not going to stop the building of a new hospital or a new airport.

That’s precisely why Labor’s mocking mountebanks and media proxies have concentrated their commentary on these inconsequentialities — they remain hellbent on their true task, which is to divert attention from the squalid state of Labor’s stinking legacy.

In addressing the National Press Club yesterday, the prime minister went to themes which the Coalition must constantly repeat from now until the next election.

The economy IS the fundamental concern of the nation. Without a sound economy, there would be no environment for the Greens to infest, no national security for them to undermine, no social benefits for the Labor Party to whinge about, no dole for their supporters to bludge on.

While it is absolutely deplorable that Labor cowardly ransacked the national estate, it would be inexcusable for the Coalition not to try to restore the economy to a sound footing. Abbott is focused on the future as he faces the slings and arrows of an economically delinquent opposition and barbs from a handful of disloyal colleagues.

He dumped his unpopular PPL — not that it was ever going to be passed — which is more than either of his predecessors did with their reeking failures, the catastrophic unwinding of the Howard government’s effective border protection policy and the disastrous carbon dioxide tax.

Rudd and Gillard did nothing but deliver chaotic government and when their failures were reported the Labor Party tried to censor the press.

Abbott addressed the nation not with soaring words and visionary rhetoric but with plain and honest talk about our kids’ future and our grandchildren’s future. He mentioned tax cuts for small businesses, a families and jobs package, a crackdown on supporters of terrorism and he made it clear that in future he won’t be handing out any gongs.

But the core message is about responsibility. Sooner or later, he said, all responsible MPs have to put the long-term national interest ahead of their short-term political interest and there’s no better time to start than now.

He might have added that responsible Australians should be prepared to put the long-term interests ahead of their selfish short-term gains but that may well have offended those who are more interested in a hand-out than a hand up.

The address was a first step in regaining the debate ceded to the sniggering classes. His cabinet needs to pick up these themes and run hard with them.


Paid parental leave scheme levy without the Paid parental leave scheme?

Tony Abbott has abandoned his enhanced PPL scheme, but word is that the tax earmarked to pay for it (a 1.5% levy on larger company profits) may be kept anyway. This would be bad policy and cynical politics.

The levy came from the book of budgetary smoke and mirrors. It enabled Abbott to appear to deliver on a promise to cut company tax from 30% to 28.5%, while giving up little revenue. In reality, the levy was a company income tax by another name, and would have left company tax at 30% for the larger companies that pay most of the tax. The result would have been a messy two-tier company income tax, with rates of 28.5% and 30%.

The proposal had a particularly nasty twist - denial of dividend franking credits for the levy. This would supercharge the revenue yield from the levy at the expense of shareholders, and quite possibly mark the beginning of the end of the dividend imputation system.

The logic behind the PPL levy was always spurious, but without the PPL it is even more so. I have never liked tax levies for specific purposes because they facilitate higher taxation by drawing bogus links between components of general revenue and expenditure. The link between the PPL levy and PPL was spurious, and the link between the levy and son-of-PPL will be even more bogus.

Making large company profits the target for additional taxation looks more like populist contempt for 'big business' than rational tax policy. There is no economic case for tax policy to distinguish between large and small companies. Policy should focus on the reality that among all taxes, company income tax on firms of all sizes is one of the most harmful to investment and economic growth.

Australia's 30% rate needs to be reduced to a more internationally competitive level, but it may have to wait. The right thing to do now is to set a single company tax rate at the lowest level the budget can afford in the current circumstances.


No comments: