Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Climate change will allegedly make food TASTE bad: Global warming will lead to tougher meat and flavourless carrots

It's all Warmist theory-based prophecy.  Karoly is an old shell-backed Warmist. And we know how good Warmist prophecies are 

But let me mention some facts instead.  If warming is bad for flavour, fruit from the Tropics should be insipid.  But I grew up in the tropics and I can assure you that tropical fruit are yummy:  Pawpaws and mangoes are of course well-known but there are also Granadillas, Soursops, Custard apples and other fruit which are little known because they do not travel well -- but which are very tasty indeed.  If you've never eaten Granadilla and ice-cream, you  haven't lived.  And the sad things called pawpaws outside the tropics are nowhere nearly as good as  pawpaws straight off the tree.

As for any overall shortage of food being caused by warming, that is utter nonsense.  Plantlife flourishes in warm climates like nowhere else.  It almost leaps out and grabs you at times in the tropics

For those hoping global warming will bring more opportunities for a summer barbecue, there may be disappointment ahead - climate change is likely to make steaks and burgers far less appetising.

In a major report on the impact of global warming on food, scientists have concluded that the quality of many meats and vegetables is due to decline at temperatures increase.

The researchers predict that as heatwaves become more common, steaks and other meats are likely to become stringier and tougher - putting the traditional barbecue at risk.

Popular vegetables like carrots are also likely to become less flavoursome and have a less pleasant texture.

Potatoes are likely to suffer far more from blight, which rots the tubers and makes them inedible.

Onions could get smaller if temperatures early in the season increase while fruit and nut trees in some regions may not get cold enough to signal fruit development.

The report, produced by scientists at the University of Melbourne, also warned that milk yields could decrease by up to 10-25 per cent as heatwaves grow more common.

Lower levels of grain production could also hit dairy cattle, meaning their milk contains less protein, which would result in poorer quality cheese.

Professor Richard Eckard, director of the primary industries climate challenges centre at the University of Melbourne, said: 'It’s definitely a wake up call when you hear that the toast and raspberry jam you have for breakfast, for example, might not be as readily available in 50 years time.

'Or that there may be changes to the cost and taste of food items we love and take for granted like avocado and vegemite, spaghetti bolognaise and even beer, wine and chocolate.

'It makes you appreciate that global warming is not a distant phenomenon but a very real occurrence that is already affecting the things we enjoy in our everyday lives, including the most common of foods we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.'

The scientists assessed the impact of the changing climate on 55 foods grown in Australia and other parts of the world.

It predicted that as weather conditions get warmer, with heatwaves and other extreme events increasing in frequency, agricultural production will be hit hard.

The cost of apples could rise as farmers try to combat damage from extreme temperatures on fruits like apples by using shade cloths.

Heat stress will have a particular impact on meat production with cattle and chickens suffering in higher temperatures and affecting their appetite.

This will mean meat is likely to be be tougher and more stingy.

Pigs could have particular problems in the heat as they do not possess sweat glands.

Avocados are also likely to get smaller in warmer temperatures as the plants get stressed while the trees themselves will flower far less.

Temperatures above 27 degrees can cause beetroot flowering stems to grow early and result in smaller bulbs, while the vegetable can also lose some of its distinctive red colouring in warmer temperatures.

Professor David Karoly, an atmospheric scientists at the University of Melbourne and one of the co-authors of the report, said countries like Australia, where drought is already a major problem, are likely to be worse hit.

He said: 'Global warming is increasing the frequency and intensity of heatwaves and bushfires affecting farms across southern and eastern Australia, and this will get much worse in the future if we don’t act.

'It’s a daunting thought when you consider that Australian farms produce 93% of the food we eat.'


Historic workplace deal cuts penalty rates

Penalty rates in South Australia were savage and so greatly inhibited weekend trading, cutting off an important income source for workers, among other things

The Australian this morning revealed the country’s largest union has agreed to slash weekend penalty rates for the retail sector in a breakthrough deal in South Australia that could affect up to 40,000 workers and be replicated across the nation.

In the first agreement of its kind for small business in Australia, penalty rates will be abolished on Saturdays and halved on Sundays in exchange for a higher base rate of pay and other improved conditions.

Mr Butler, a senior South Australian frontbencher and candidate for Labor national president, said the bargaining process used to reach the deal between employers and the shoppies union is what Labor has supported for more than 20 years.

“This is what we envisaged when Paul Keating’s government put together the enterprise bargaining model,” Mr Butler, who worked for 15 years as a union official, said in Canberra.

“This is exactly the model that we envisaged and it’s in stark contrast to the idea that you would go up to the industrial commission and try to change – unilaterally – the penalty rates across the country.”

Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said the template agreement, signed between the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association and Business SA, highlighted “the flexibility that’s in the current law”.

“There are mechanisms in the current law. Whether they are adequate, whether they’re responsive, whether one can navigate them, they’re important discussions for the Productivity Commission review,” Mr Billson told Sky News.

“Even this quite constructive and encouraging step forward, it still required a big industry association to navigate the procedural requirements and get to the point where there is a template agreement that a retailer in South Australia can discuss with their employees and see if it works well for all of them.

“How friendly is it to a smaller enterprise to navigate this machinery, which seems designed more for big organisations and representative organisations rather than for a small, nimble, agile smaller enterprise looking just to get ahead to create opportunities for themselves and their communities?”

“What’s Bill Shorten’s position? He sort of thinks we live in this nine-to-five, back-to-the-50s kind of economy; that’s not the case.”

Employment Minister Eric Abetz said the South Australian negotiators “should be applauded for taking a constructive approach”.

“It highlights the benefits of encouraging workplaces to sit down and negotiate terms and conditions that suit their specific needs,” Senator Abetz told The Australian.

“Setting penalty rates is a matter for the Fair Work Commission, but if workplaces can arrange a better deal on which they agree that complies with the law, they should be encouraged to do so.”

“The question is — will Bill Shorten and Labor support this deal?”

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said: “I’m not going to start commentating on individual agreements that employees and employers strike in particular workplaces or in particular industries. I think that this shows that there’s flexibility in the system but I’m not going to comment on it beyond that.”

Labor parliamentary secretary Matt Thistlethwaite said the South Australian deal was “by all accounts, a win-win for the employees and the businesses involved”.

“This deal proves that you can reach arrangements with them but you need to consult with employees and you need to make sure they’re better off over all. That’s the test in the system: they need to be better off overall,” he said.

Assistant Infrastucture Minister Jamie Briggs, a South Australian, said the deal vindicated the coalition’s position that penalty rates were a matter for the Fair Work Commission.

“If employers and employees work together for their best interests then we’ll get a better result,” he said.

Independent SA senator Nick Xenophon says Saturday and Sunday are now regarded as ordinary trading days for the hospitality and retail sectors.

“It’s always been my position that there needs to be greater flexibility for small employers,” he said.

South Australian Family First senator Bob Day said the deal marked “the long overdue fall of one of many remaining barriers to getting a job”.

NSW Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm said Australians who wanted to work weekends had been priced out of the market by penalty rates. He also described South Australia as an economic basket case.

“Maybe somebody there has finally woken up to the fact that they do need to change if they’re going to turn it around.”


Some worthwhile immigration reforms

Apart from the ever-present issue of asylum seeker and refugee policies, and stoushes over 457 visas, immigration policy largely flies under the radar. This a positive by-product of a relatively bipartisan consensus on immigration benefits, but also means creative thinking in this area is lacking.

There has been a largely unremarked shift in the government's rhetoric. Michael Pezzullo, secretary of the Department of Immigration, Customs, and Border Protection, (the delineation of these three functions is indicative) has said mass migration is a mission "long accomplished", describing the department as a "gateway", and emphasising the border.

The Howard era approach - where a deterrence narrative for asylum seekers sat comfortably alongside a welcoming attitude to immigrants - appears to be going out of fashion.

Due to the budget pressures outlined in the Intergenerational Report, which can be ameliorated by higher levels of immigration, a substantial restriction in immigration policy is unlikely. But it's also worth asking why, then, scant attention is being paid to it outside the government's latest plan to crack down on 457 visas.

Given the government has had much success in negotiating freer movement of goods across borders, it could also be successful in negotiating freer movement of labour, particularly with countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and United States, in a manner similar to the arrangement with New Zealand. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has expressed interest in the idea.

The Productivity Commission has suggested changes to visa conditions to make it easier for live-in au pairs to stay with a family longer than six months, and another suggestion involves allowing Indonesian women to live and work in Australia as nannies, as a partial solution to the problems plaguing childcare.

These are the kind of innovations that could revitalise discussion around immigration policy. It shouldn't continue to fly under the radar.


Higher education reform is not simply all about universities
The drive to improve equity and choice in higher education must continue        

The Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE) has applauded the Federal Government's continued pursuit of higher education reforms despite the second rejection of the Bill in the Senate.

COPHE CEO Adrian McComb said although the defeat of the bill was disappointing, it is clear from Education Minister Christopher Pyne that it was not all over.

"For the sake of all Australian students, the process of reform must continue. Reform is vital to ensuring Australia's higher education system is well placed to face the avalanche of change facing the sector globally," he said. "Maintaining the status quo takes us nowhere and frankly no one opposed has proposed any workable alternative."

The reforms announced in the Budget last year promised equitable treatment of students in the private sector. Under the current arrangements, students at private institutions are penalised.

"We applaud Minister Pyne for his tenacity in declaring he will continue to pursue the reforms. The sector needs to overcome the misleading scare campaign around $100,000 degrees," Mr McComb said. "And as we noted in our Senate submissions, the CEOs of our member institutions have indicated that they would pass on Commonwealth support received to their students. That and the removal of the 25% loan administration fee would make a big difference to non-university higher education students’ debt."

"Capping prices without any means of capping costs can only exacerbate decline in universities. Deregulation can deliver a top quality, resilient higher education system which better meets the needs of students," he said. "An independent oversight body can curb excesses."

The independent and minor party Senators that make up the cross benches have expressed continuing concerns in a deregulated environment about the possibility of universities charging excessive student fees for cross-subsidy of activity that is unrelated to teaching. Further policy approaches that would mitigate this have emerged and need to be considered in the revised legislation.

Senators have expressed concern about the process followed in introducing the reforms. We believe that a deregulated environment in the sector was always going to be difficult to pull off and 20/20 hindsight is easy.

“It is also disheartening to see that measures that would help the disadvantaged are now set aside particularly the higher education initiative that would have provided 80,000 CGS funded places for sub-degrees and pathways diplomas,” Mr McComb said. There is solid evidence that students with poorer school results, or those who are returning to study some years after school, who would struggle in their first year of a bachelor degree, can still achieve progression on par with students with much higher ATARS, if they have access to such pathways diplomas into the second year of bachelor degrees.

"There is too much at stake for this to be the end of any chance of change," Mr McComb said.

Press release

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