Sunday, May 22, 2016
Warmists just LOVE the Great Barrier Reef
It enables them to tell SO many lies. That coral "bleaching" (expulsion of symbiotic algae) has been happening for millions of years goes unmentioned below -- as is the fact that corals have in the past coped with far greater temperature variations than anything we have seen recently. And corals are still with us, funnily enough.
They do respond to temperature, among other things, but the "bleaching" is mainly in order to recruit different varieties of symbiotic algae. And corals are hardier than they look. In "bleached" form they can survive for quite a while on just their normal filter feeding. "Bleached" corals are NOT dead.
And the present ocean warming is clearly due to El Nino, a temporary warming that is part of a natural cycle. It's actually the La Nina that normally follows El Nino that is the biggest concern. Corals are more likely to "bleach" in response to cooling than they are to warming.
And let me again mention my favourite fact about coral: In 1954 the USA exploded a 15 megaton thermonuclear device over Bikini atoll. And Bikini atoll had lots of coral. So there is no coral there at all now? Far from it. The corals there now are huge, abundant and thriving. So if coral reefs can recover from an H-bomb blast, why is a pissy one degree temperature rise in GBR waters of concern?
Corals at Bikini atoll today
Strange that all that goes unmentioned below, isn't it? You would not suspect any of it from the screeches below. The words below are "an orchestrated litany of lies", to quote a distinguished judge on another matter. The Waremists just want more funding and are prepared to lie and deceive to get it. Global warming is a global racket dreamt up by scientists for the benefit of scientists
The Federal Government’s plan to save the Great Barrier Reef is “totally inadequate,” and if whoever forms government doesn’t commit at least $10 billion this election the natural wonder is likely to be doomed, scientists at James Cook University have said.
This extraordinary warning comes from leading water quality expert Jon Brodie and Emeritus Professor Richard Pearson, who are speaking out after they published a paper this week. In an interview this morning, Brodie said the Reef “will never be in its full gory again, we can’t expect that, [but]it’s going to get worse unless we do something”.
The Scientists said the twin threats of poor water quality and climate change could put the Reef in “terminal” decline within five years, unless whoever forms government comes to office with a comprehensive, cohesive, and adequately-funded rescue plan.
The Coalition Government has released a plan, known as Reef 2050, but it scarcely mentions climate change and Brodie said it is “totally inadequate”. “I’m probably the leading water quality expert for the Great Barrier Reef over the last 30 years and I’m saying the water quality [aspect of the plan]is absolutely inadequate,” he said.
“It was meant to be a comprehensive plan, of course, but as has been pointed out by everyone, and particularly the Australian Academy of Science, it’s totally inadequate,” he said.
The James Cook University scientists said catchment and coastal management programs need to be funded in the order of $1 billion per year over the next ten years. “We need a plan to fix up water quality as best we can, to provide some resilience against the oncoming climate change impacts,” Brodie said.
The Great Barrier Reef has made headlines over recent months as 93 per cent of the Reef, which is the only living structure that can be seen from space, has been affected by coral bleaching.
Fuelled by warming waters, the coral bleaching event was the worst in recorded history. The uncompromising heat was a result of an El Nino climate system, superimposed over baseline temperatures already pushed up by climate change.
“Before climate change kicked in we simply never saw bleaching,” Professor Terry Hughes has previously told New Matilda. “It’s quite confronting that we’ve now got to the stage that every El Nino event – and they happen every few years – is a threat to the Great Barrier Reef,” said Hughes, the Director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
The threats posed by climate change are exacerbated by plague-like outbreaks of Crown of Thorns Starfish, which are triggered by poor water quality. According to the James Cook University Scientists, the next outbreak is most likely to occur around 2025.
If we don’t make serious inroads at improving water quality by then, the fate of the Reef looks grim.
Brodie and Emeritus Professor Pearson are calling for management of the Reef to be extended beyond the bounds of the World Heritage Area, north to the Torres Strait, south to Hervey Bay, and inland to include the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
This would of course come at a cost. But Brodie points out that while $10 billion over ten years “may seem like a lot of money, we know that amount would be effective and it’s small by comparison to the economic worth of the Reef, which is around $20 billion per year”.
Current Federal funding, he said, “is almost nothing”. And that doesn’t look likely to change. “So far in the election campaign, we’ve seen no major commitments about the Great Barrier Reef at all from anybody really,” Brodie said.
The Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Imogen Zethoven said “the massive coral bleaching taking place right now on the Reef and the latest science over recent months all point in one direction: The outlook for the Reef is dire and we must act now.
“Things are worse than we thought for the Reef’s future, we are close to the brink of what this fragile ecosystem can tolerate without a credible plan for restoring it to good health,” she said.
“Australia’s current plans to protect the Reef are inadequate, short-sighted, lack appropriate funding and will not prevent its decline.”
Beneath the black mask: inside Australia's Fascist "anti-fascists"
The Anarchist drinks rose petal tea. He likes its delicate floral notes and dreamy bouquet. It's a treat, he says, giggling.
He's normally more of a masochist, taking his coffee strong, short and black, hold the sugar. But today we're sitting on plush chairs in a tea room in Sydney's Queen Victoria Building, by thick drapes and a crystal chandelier. The Anarchist sips from a dainty cup painted with a red carnation. He speaks in a loud, shaky voice about smashing the state, about Hitler and imperialism and a "monopoly of violence" – utterly oblivious to the unsettling effect this has on other diners.
He's 28 years old, with neat fingernails, unbrushed brown hair and puffy cheeks. He wants a revolution. He's gluten intolerant. He advocates the overthrow of capitalism. He's studying at the University of Sydney and expects to work in IT.
He's among Australia's ranks of extreme anti-fascists – who have clashed violently with far-right groups at recent street protests in Sydney and Melbourne. They rally under the red-and-black flag of anti-fascist group "Antifa" – an umbrella term covering a loose collection of socialists, anarchists, anti-racists and small-l liberals.
While anyone opposed to an authoritarian or totalitarian state might be considered anti-fascist, Antifa tends to be associated with the militant left wing. There's no leader or executive committee. Members are identified by their all-black clothes (known as a "black bloc") and often angry confrontations with opponents and police.
Antifaschistische Aktion started as an anti-fascist organisation in Germany in the lead-up to World War II. Exactly who's in Antifa in Australia in 2016 is hard to say, because many members don black masks as a form of anonymity and intimidation.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane last month accused extremists on both sides of promoting a "mob mentality" – after a bloody clash at a Halal Expo in Melbourne left one anti-Islam protester bleeding heavily from the head and others injured from being punched, kicked and beaten with flag poles.
NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart similarly tells Fairfax Media that while everyone has a right to protest – regardless of their political views – "there is no place for criminal, anti-social, or dangerous behaviour".
I first met the Anarchist one Saturday in Sydney's CBD, where he was protesting against the Australian Christian Lobby in a balaclava and black-rimmed reading glasses. We agreed to meet later at the QVB, where we continued on to The Palace Tea Room, a fancy cafe on the first floor.
He doesn't want to be identified, in case fascists come after him. He's attended four Antifa rallies, including an ugly fracas with anti-Islam protesters in Cronulla last December, on the 10th anniversary of race riots there.
The Anarchist admits he has never laid a finger on an opponent. But he insists that any form of violence is legitimate against racists, bigots, nationalists or Nazis. "If someone beats up a racist it doesn't worry me. These people are heinous, so I don't really have any sympathy for them."
He grew up in a family of Liberal voters, in the wealthy suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne. At university, while studying science and arts, he started reading Karl Marx and was swayed by the notion of a working-class revolution. Later, he embraced anarchy – but admits it's hard to follow in practice, while studying IT in Sydney.
"You can't escape capitalism. You can't live on an island. You can't just magically declare yourself not part of the system," he says, sipping his tea. "To radicalise people is not easy. You can't just walk up to someone and say 'smash the system' – they will think you're a loony. That's why people have to be mobilised."
Dr Troy Whitford, a lecturer in Australian history and politics at Charles Sturt University, says Antifa members tend to be disaffected male university students. Many have joined the cause in recent years to counter far-right groups, such as the United Patriots Front (UPF). "Whenever you see a rise in radical nationalism, you see a rise in counter groups as well," he says.
Such groups tend to be loosely organised, with a tendency to splinter, he says. He plots Antifa on the radical left-wing fringe of the mainstream debate on multiculturalism. While most Australians sympathise with anti-fascism generally, relatively few support Antifa's more aggressive methods, he says. "Look at some of the demonstrations between Reclaim Australia and anti-fascists, and you actually find anti-fascists are the ones throwing the first punch," he says.
"It becomes difficult to know which ones are the fascists. To quash someone else's view is fascism. To hit someone over the head because they don't agree with you is fascism. To lay the boot into another person to get what you want is fascism. You can be an anti-fascist and hold a placard but the minute you start imposing your will on someone else, you become a fascist as well."
Melbourne-based Antifa organiser Blake (not his real name) says the level of violence by anti-fascists is overstated. "I have seen worse brawls among people at the pub than I have at some of these rallies."
He's 27 years old and a tradesman for a residential building company. He admits punching and kicking right-wing protesters at street rallies but insists that it was in defence of his comrades. "I was standing at one rally and saw someone from UPF punch a woman's face. I got really angry and tried to shove him off and it turned into a brawl," he says. "To be honest, it felt quite scary. I half expected them to pull out a weapon."
He admits to also feeling a "macho adrenaline rush" and "indignant rage" during such stoushes. Antifa members adopt the term "no platform" when confronting far-right groups – meaning that their aim is to shut down entirely their rallies, protests and propaganda.
But he rejects the argument that quashing their right to protest is akin to fascism. "We are not trying to control what people in their everyday lives are allowed to do and say, we are only trying to shut down one tiny element of society," he says.
'Violence is usually a last resort'
At a bustling cafe in Newtown, near Sydney University, I meet a young anti-fascist who wants to be called Alison. She's wearing a black T-shirt with the pro-Indigenous slogan "Sovereignty never ceded" and a bright pink cap, which she sits on the table. Her lank black hair hangs over her face as she talks.
When she's not screaming at fascists, she works as a mathematician – but won't say where. She says she knows anti-fascist doctors, pilots, scientists, tradespeople, students and fire fighters.
She calls herself a Marxist and makes vague claims to have organised several rallies against Reclaim Australia in Brisbane, before moving south in late 2015. At the Cronulla riots anniversary, she held aloft the Antifa flag while marching behind a banner reading: "The only good fascist is a dead one!"
Anti-fascists outnumbered anti-Islam protesters on the day. A woman draped in an Australian flag was surrounded by 20 to 30 masked Antifa, shouting at her to "take that fascist flag off now". "Burn that flag and burn that woman," yelled a man in the crowd.
Alison argues that such abuse is usually in self-defence. "It's a bit weird, because 70 years ago people were celebrated for shooting fascists – but now when you just push one over on the street you get vilified," she says.
"Violence is usually a last resort but it is certainly not one we are apprehensive about. Obviously, converting someone is better than beating the shit out of them. But if you can't reason with people and you can't ignore them, you have to confront them."
Posts on the Antifa Australia Facebook page adopt an equally hard line: "We will not be afraid to use force"; "We need to F---ing shut down the fascists"; "Violence is the language of the unheard"; "We take policing into our own hands"; "If they plan a riot, we plan a riot. We must not be afraid to use force to defeat the enemy and instill (sic) fear in the racists."
But such bluster is not embraced by all anti-fascists. Anti-fascism advocate Andy Fleming (the pseudonym of a Melbourne blogger who tracks far-right groups) describes such posts as "quasi-hysterical". "It is not like you are fighting the battle of Stalingrad. To the extent that it is exaggerated, I think it undermines the seriousness of the purpose."
Antifa in Australia lacks the history and organisational capacity of its peers in Europe, where such groups attract thousands of supporters, he says. In a funny way, Antifa here is not dissimilar to Reclaim Australia – it's not terribly well-established or organised, and tends to be hijacked by self-appointed spokespeople.
Fascism and anti-fascism remain relatively marginal in Australia, Fleming says. But he argues that large rallies by groups such as the UPF in recent years illustrate the need for vigilance. "Anti-fascism will remain small for so long as fascism is small," he says.
"But we may be witnessing the first few sparks of a fascist movement emerging in Australia. So it makes sense to monitor and keep track of what is going on."
The real cost of welcoming refugees to Australia
This year Australia will select 13,750 "humanitarian" refugees (the intake will rise to 18,750 by 2018-19), some from camps across Africa. From the vast numbers of Syrians and Iraqis forced to flee their war-torn homelands, there will be a one-off additional intake of 12,000 people, costed at more than $700 million.
This week the cost of welcoming such refugees here and resettling them was thrust into public debate when the Greens called for our humanitarian quota to be raised to 50,000. The issue then exploded in the middle of the election campaign when Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that “large percentages of them (refugees) have no English skills at all” and would “languish” in unemployment and on Medicare. Dutton added that, under the Greens’ policy, such people “would be taking Australian jobs”.
Cue outrage far and wide. Others, such as Malcolm Turnbull, emphasised Dutton was telling the truth and that the government was happy to meet the costs of resettling its intake.
Labor, meanwhile, wants to increase the annual humanitarian intake to 37,000. Dutton says Labor’s and the Greens’ policies would be hugely expensive. The government estimates that, across four years, the Greens’ policy would cost $7 billion and Labor’s proposal about $2.3bn.
This contrasts with the costs involved in settling asylum-seekers who landed in Christmas Island during the sustained wave of boat arrivals under Labor. Many of those granted protection were professionals who required less government assistance.
A 2011 report for the commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship found humanitarian entrants helped meet labour shortages but their contributions took time. The Social and Economic Contributions of First and Second Generation Humanitarian Entrants report found that, among those interviewed as new arrivals in 1994-96, 84 per cent of the refugees were unemployed. Three years later, 33 per cent still did not have jobs.
“This is a function of them on average having less English language ability, less educational experience, different forms of family support, less pre-migration preparation, poorer physical and mental health and greater difficulty in having their qualifications and experience recognised,” the report says. In a 2010 survey of relatively new migrants to Australia, including 8500 refugees, half the respondents said they spoke English not well or not at all. The Australian Survey Research found 24.1 per cent were in paid work.
The federal government is not carrying the cost of humanitarian resettlement on its own. The West Australian Department of Sport and Recreation, for instance, has sunk $405,000 into a program at the Edmund Rice Centre in Perth’s northern suburbs.
Refugee boys and girls flock there after school on Wednesdays and Fridays to play Australian football with African-born youth workers and kids from other backgrounds. The refugee children’s parents come to watch and often end up as helpers.
“They do vital work in getting people new to Western Australia engaged in our community through sport,” says Ron Alexander, director general of the department. “Edmund Rice is special in that it brings the volunteers, families, kids and our existing sports together, ultimately to enjoy and contribute to our way of life.”
Rafferty attributes the devastating beach photograph of drowned three-year-old refugee boy Alan Kurdi, beamed around the world, as prompting much public concern. “For the first time in a long time people have seen something that resonates with them,” Rafferty says.
“We have received about 40 tubs of winter clothing and children’s games which we’ve been able to distribute to refugee families.”
Rafferty acknowledges many refugee families need a lot of help across a long period, but he says the families that his organisation has begun to settle as part of the special intake of 12,000 Syrians and Iraqis are a little different from needier refugees, who have sometimes experienced generations of trauma. “The thing about the Syrians and the Iraqis coming through is that they are well educated, they are very entrepreneurial and they are going to have a really good settlement experience here,” Rafferty says.
All refugees in Australia are provided 510 hours of English lessons, which takes about nine months. Before that time, refugees with poor English find it difficult to get work.
Labor's 'national interest test' restricting gas exports is NOT in Australia's interests
Everyone who understands energy agrees it's in Australia's interests to develop more gas. Good for our economy. Good for jobs. Good for the environment. And it's universally understood that there is an urgent need to develop new gas supply for Australia's eastern market.
We can and should, as a nation, be making the most of this abundant, cleaner-burning energy source. So it's astonishing when a major political party releases an election policy that threatens to do the opposite.
Make no mistake, Labor's so-called "national interest test" on gas exports is not in Australia's interests.
It may satisfy the protectionist cravings of a few union leaders but it's a bad policy that will punish one of our most successful gas export industries while doing nothing to boost domestic supply.
Australia's gas industry is a global success story. Thanks to an unprecedented $200 billion of investment, we are on the verge of becoming the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
But the industry has been smashed by the dramatic collapse in international oil prices. Companies are under intense pressure to cut costs, thousands have lost their jobs and new investment is on the line.
To make matters worse, exploration has declined to alarming levels.
Right now, Australia needs policies that will encourage new investment. Labor's policy will scare investment away. The party's solution to east coast supply concerns is to saddle new or expanded projects with additional layers of red tape that duplicate many existing processes and will add time and cost. Our competitors must be laughing.
The ACCC's recent report on its inquiry into the east coast gas market is the latest in a series of independent studies and reviews that have rejected a national interest test along with other forms of gas reservation.
Labor says its national interest test is designed to shield Australian manufacturers from higher gas prices. But according to the ACCC, any relief would be short lived. In the longer term, artificially suppressing prices would simply weaken the economic incentive for further gas exploration and development.
And it gets worse. Projects targeting domestic supply may be knocked out of the market due to poor economic returns. The result is less gas coming to market, less competition and more upward pressure on prices.
The ACCC's concerns were neatly summarised in this warning: "In a market that is facing supply issues arising from LNG, moratoria, and a low oil price, further impediments to gas supply development would be detrimental and so should not be introduced."
Labor's policy is based on the false premise that a successful gas export industry somehow threatens domestic supply. But this ignores the fact that our major gas exporters are also major suppliers to the domestic market.
For example, without Queensland's gas export industry, new gas fields supplying the domestic market would never have been developed and eastern Australia may have been importing gas from Papua New Guinea.
The reality is Australia has more than enough gas to supply its domestic and export markets – if industry is allowed to develop it.
As the ACCC and the COAG Energy Council have noted, the best response to concerns about domestic gas supply and rising prices is to bring more gas to market. More gas, not more regulation, will put downward pressure on prices.
This means removing unnecessary regulatory barriers that discourage the safe and timely development of new gas supply, particularly in Victoria and NSW.
Unfortunately, Labor is a big part of the problem. Apart from South Australia and Queensland, moratoriums on unconventional gas development are now part of the political rhetoric of every Labor state branch in the nation. In Victoria, both sides of politics have effectively banned all forms of onshore gas development. They might as well slap a moratorium on new jobs.
Australia's emergence as a global gas giant is a remarkable achievement that would never have been possible without the bipartisan support of the major parties. Labor needs to think twice before it walks away from market-based policies that have delivered sustained economic growth.
If Labor genuinely wants to support more and cheaper gas for Australia's manufacturers, it doesn't need a national interest test. It just needs to tell its state colleagues to stop standing on the hose.
Aurukun paying guards to keep town safe
I have been saying for some time that the best thing governments could do for Aborigines is to provide better policing for their communities. Good to see that Aborigines themselves agree with me
The Aurukun Shire Council is spending more than a $1 million a year on private security guards and community police in the troubled Queensland town.
And its security bill is set to rise, the council to foot an annual $150,000 bill to operate a new security camera network in the indigenous community.
Chief executive Bernie McCarthy says the council has failed to convince former and current state governments to share security-related costs.
He says it's a big issue for a council that doesn't charge general rates, and relies primarily on government grants for its revenue.
The council has been paying private security guards for at least the last five years to improve community safety and protect council property and staff.
It also employs community police to work alongside sworn officers.
"We don't receive any funding for those activities," Mr McCarthy told AAP on Friday.
"And now we're also going to be hit with the operational costs for the CCTV system."
Mr McCarthy said the state government had helped fund the camera system, but the council needed help with its ongoing security costs.
Public safety in Aurukun is back in the spotlight after 25 teachers were evacuated following an attack on the principal of the town's only school.
It's alleged he was attacked with the blunt end of an axe when he went to the aid of teaching staff who'd reported youths loitering outside their accommodation in the school compound.
Classes have resumed after all but five of the teachers returned, following a security upgrade that included better fencing and the installation of panic buttons in their compound homes.
The Queensland Teachers' Union has downplayed calls by Aurukun Mayor Dereck Walpo for full-time security guards to protect teachers.
"I hope we can positively influence behaviour in the community so that won't be necessary," union president Kevin Bates told AAP on Friday.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here