Thursday, November 05, 2015

Behold a silly little lady who has drunk the Kool-Aid

The article below appeared in "New Matilda" under the heading: "Coal Moratoriums As A ‘Radical War On The Poor’. They’re Only Half Right".  It was written by a piece of furniture named Hilary Bambrick, who is allegedly "Chair" of Population Health at the School of Medicine at Western Sydney University.  Professor Bambrick was one of a group denounced by "The Australian" newspaper after she signed an open letter calling for no more coalmines. The original letter was signed by 61 people and it appears that the criticism of their ideas abashed 60 of them. Hilary is still standing, however so I am pleased to give you her attempt at scholarship below.

It is a curious thing:  100% assertion.  No proof or evidence offered. No links; no references.  She has faith and expects all others to share it.  And she feels no need to address obvious criticisms.  Winter is when most people die but she says it is warming that is bad for your health. She ignores total mortality in judging the effects of warming! 

And she attributes recent bad weather events to global warming when even Warmist climate scientits shrink from doing that.  And the events CANNOT in fact be due to global warming -- because there has been no global warming for 18 years.  The satellites are the only way of obtaining a truly global temperature reading and for the last 18 years they just show random fluctuations around a constant mean. Here's the graph:

And even the terrestrial datasets show no statistically significant global temperature change over the last 18 years. That KoolAid must have tasted great!

She should become a Jehovah's Witness.  You have to have a strong faith to be a JW and her faith is Herculean.  One quails before the thought of her as a medical researcher, however.  Though she would not be the only medical researcher who believes that correlation is causation.

Isn't she a cute-ums?

On Tuesday last week an open letter called for a global moratorium on new coal mines. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hurriedly dismissed the call as ineffective in reducing emissions, and The Australian accused those who signed the letter of waging war on poor people. This could not be further from the truth.

The letter was signed by 61 people, or ‘coal haters’ as The Australian called us. I am one of them, and here is why.

The planet has warmed nearly 1°C and we’re already seeing the effects. We’re heading into a ‘Godzilla’ El Nino; California is suffering unprecedented drought; Mexico just had a narrow escape from the world’s strongest ever hurricane, and the Pacific has had many more super typhoons than is fair.

We’re now having to construct new scales for measuring and reporting the weather because what we are seeing is outside previous human experience. We’ve added a ‘Catastrophic’ level to bushfire danger ratings, and a new colour to weather maps to depict regions over 50°C. And that’s only at 1°C warming – nowhere near the 4°C we are currently on track for by the end of this century.

As humans we’re not isolated from our environment. Through its effects on water, food, and air, climate change alters the relationship between us and our life-support system.

The health consequences of climate change are many, for example: Deaths and injury from heatwaves, flooding and bushfires; mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue; or those arising from food insecurity and conflict.

In Australia, we’re relatively well resourced to deal with climate change. We’re healthy, we have robust emergency response and health systems and we can add a tax levy to rebuild after major flooding, for example.

But climate change is not fair, and other countries are not so lucky. Poverty, poor health, ecosystem degradation, and limited infrastructure and services render some populations extremely vulnerable and diminishes their capacity to adapt.

The worst consequences of climate change fall disproportionately on the world’s poor. Already marginal regions will become decreasingly hospitable, and those living there are least able to adapt.

Climate change acts against economic development, and will keep vulnerable people in poverty and exacerbate existing health and economic inequalities.

The health consequences that are easiest to measure, such as deaths from the recent Middle East ‘heat dome’ or even Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, are not the biggest impacts in terms of numbers of people affected. The biggest impacts will be those that are least direct, and more complex, such as:

Repeated crop failures triggering famine

Sea level rise contaminating water supplies, and even consuming whole countries

Wars and civil unrest over increasingly scarce resources

Forced migration and deaths at sea

As with public health more generally, prevention is far simpler and cheaper than cure. We’ve known for decades what’s causing the earth to warm, and we’ve known for decades what we should do about it.

There is no ‘moral case’ for continuing to dig up, use and export coal, as Australia’s Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg would have you believe. But there is a very strong moral case against it: Coal kills people.

We have healthy energy alternatives, and we don’t have to wait years to reap the benefits. Quitting coal this morning means cleaner air and better health this afternoon. It’s as simple as that.

These are exciting times. There’s real momentum for change. New polling shows six out of 10 voters in Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate support a moratorium on new coal mines. The divestment movement shows us that, ultimately, market forces will prevail and coal and gas will become untenable. But we can’t afford to wait. Some nudging is required now to get investment in renewables happening sooner, to promote faster returns and drive technological development.

Australia is very well placed to lead clean energy technology, but we risk missing the boat on innovation. Instead we seem hell bent on propping up a withering coal industry, de-funding clean energy technology and running interference with endless reviews into wind farms.

Rather than continuing to subsidise the problem, let’s subsidise the solution.

If politicians worried about the health and livelihoods of the people they govern as much as they worry about the ‘health’ of the economy in the coming financial quarter, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

The signatories to the letter have been labelled as radicals, and perhaps that is true. Certainly the decision to place the value of human health and wellbeing – and that of the planet on which we depend – above short-term economic growth requires heretical thinking. But most of all it requires politicians with the vision to lead this great transition.

Coal is so last century. It’s high time we quit.


‘Tis the season for all that global warming folly

Janet Albrechtsen

With the UN climate summit in Paris due to start later this month, the global warming silly season is well under way.

This week France’s popular weatherman Philippe Verdier was sacked by a French TV station for writing a book that challenges some scientists for inflating the effects of global warming. The UN gabfest, or COP21, is aimed at securing agreement from countries with vastly different levels of development, from the prosperous West to fast-growing economies in China and India, to less developed in Africa, to restrict global temperature rises to 2C. It’s a big ask, which may explain why the madness started even before Verdier was sacked by France 2.

Addressing a September conference in London on climate change and international law, Philippe Sands QC called for a ruling from the International Court of Justice to “scotch” claims by “scientifically qualified, know­ledgeable and influential individuals” who challenge the “consensus” on man-made global warming.

Are we re-entering the Middle Ages where you were treated as a traitor if you mentioned that the king might be dying — even if he was?

More recently, the future king of England, Prince Charles, repeated his favourite claim that the Paris conference was our “last chance” to draw up a “Magna Carta for the Earth”. Charles is no King John. But, equally, Charles seems to have scant understanding of the real Magna Carta, a document that aimed to curb the powers of the king. Charles and his global warming enthusiasts now want a treaty that will deny countries such as China and India the ability to do what rich nations have done — use readily accessible and cheap carbon energy to build prosperous economies.

Here in Australia, just as the Prime Minister turned 61, 61 so-called “eminent” people signed an open letter calling on Malcolm Turnbull to put a moratorium on coalmining and new mines. That went nowhere. It was easily demolished when Turnbull said shutting down our coal industry would make zero difference to ­global emissions.

And if every silly season has a Santa, [Leftist leader] Shorten is  it. More and more, the Opposition Leader resembles a second-rate actor who has assiduously studied a set of lines but hasn’t managed to inject any conviction into the role. This week Shorten has been on “a fact-finding mission” to the Pacific ­Islands. Translation: the Opposition Leader thinks he can use global warming to dent Turnbull’s popularity.

Shorten’s core problem begins with his role in past policy. Shorten rode the Kevin ’07 wave into office when Labor’s position was that global warming was the great moral challenge of our time and required an emissions trading system. As a senior minister, he then backed Rudd’s change of heart to dump the ETS. Shorten was a critical backer of Julia Gillard, when Labor’s new position was “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”. He was there too when Labor signed a deal with the Greens to legislate a carbon tax.

Shorten’s shadow boxing was evident as soon as Turnbull became PM. Labor’s attacks on Turnbull’s wealth served only to remind voters we have a PM who was highly successful before he entered politics and understands business. It makes a refreshing change from the career politicians who have never worked in the real world.

With the COP21 summit fast approaching, Shorten is now desperate to make climate change a positive for Labor. But, once again, his problem is one of believability. No one can question that Turnbull genuinely believes in the human drivers of global warming. It drives his critics mad and weakens the knees of his admirers.

Shorten’s history, on the other hand, is replete with stark episodes of him making statements thrust into his hands by spin doctors and pollsters. There’s no detail on the Opposition Leader’s uncosted “aspirational” 50 per cent renewable energy target. Nor has Shorten told us what Labor’s emissions target would be if he were the PM heading to Paris. A four-day visit to our Pacific neighbours does nothing to build Shorten and Labor’s credentials.

The hyperbole around global warming, Magna Cartas, last chances and moratoriums on coal will only ratchet up over the next few weeks. But the hyperbole won’t alter Turnbull’s commitment to take the Abbott government’s policy of a 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction target on 2005 levels by 2030 to Paris.

None of it will alter the fact, while China and India will happily extract money from the West’s promised $US100bn Green Climate Fund, they won’t agree to a deal that curbs their emissions, and therefore their economic growth. China is building a new coal plant every seven to 10 days and has plans to boost its coal power by 50 per cent by 2040; India is intent on doubling its coal production by 2020.

In other words, none of the hype will deliver a meaningful treaty at the Paris gabfest that is legally binding, enforceable and verifiable. Unless you believe in Santa.


Kiwi criminals who won't go home harshly treated

But one must allow for Leftist exaggeration

A Labour MP has told the New Zealand parliament Kiwis are being locked up, beaten and starved in a harrowing account of the way their citizens are being treated in Australia.

Kelvin Davis last month visited detention centres including the notorious Christmas Island facility, where about 40 Kiwis were being held awaiting deportation.

Australian authorities are rounding up and deporting non-citizens who have served more than 12 months in prison.

"These people are being locked up, they're being beaten up and they're being starved," Mr Davis said.

"The conditions are tantamount to torture and it's happening in Australia, a country we say is our closest ally."

Mr Davis said the offences committed by detainees he met were at the lower end of the scale.  "I know they went to prison, they committed crimes, but they ought not to be punished twice," he said.

"They don't deserve to be picked up as they leave prison and detained indefinitely. Some have been detained for longer than they were in prison."

A fortnight ago, Justice Minister Amy Adams said 167 New Zealand nationals had already been sent home and 585 were waiting to be processed.

Prime Minister John Key last month met his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, and discussed the issue.

Mr Turnbull gave an undertaking there would be a more compassionate approach, and said any detainee was free to return to New Zealand while contesting a decision to cancel their visa.


Australia’s fundamentals robust enough to beat the recession odds

The economy is a dangerous place — at least as perceived by some commentators. The list of tripping points that could push the economy into recession tallied by these commentators is long and varied. Some put recession odds as high as one-in-three. Even a Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, has bought into the debate.

The reality is that Australia has clocked up 24 four years of continuous growth. The last recession was in the early 1990s. Events that were widely expected to deliver recession — the Asian financial crisis, the tech wreck, the global ­financial crisis — didn’t.

The old financial adage that past performance is no guarantee of future returns still holds good. But there are factors at work limiting recession risks. And some of the arguments for recession look weak on closer examination.

Policy settings are very accommodative and the automatic stabilisers are working. The Reserve Bank routinely notes that low interest rates are supporting borrowing and spending and that the availability of credit is not a constraint. The Australian dollar may have taken longer to adjust than expected. But monetary conditions overall are very stimulatory and consistent with a sizeable lift in economic growth momentum.

And policy firepower remains. Our interest rates are well above the near-zero settings in the major economies. They can be cut further. The budget is in deficit but debt is low and fiscal policy can be ramped up. The Aussie dollar would move lower still if a major China/global shock emerged.

The immediate growth concern is the mining construction downturn. The biggest construction boom in 150 years is over. And mining capex will drop by between 3.5 and 4 per cent of GDP by the time the cycle is complete. It is at least as big a drag on the economy as the feared US “fiscal cliff” was a few years ago. But the earlier boom will leave a legacy. The expansion in the mining capital stock is driving a new boom in ­resource exports. These exports will provide a cushion at the ­bottom of the mining capex cliff.

There is also a perception the capex cliff still lies in front of us. And that we will be swept off at any moment. The reality is that mining capex peaked at the end of 2012. The decline is about 2 per cent of GDP. On that metric we are about half way down the cliff.

And it is a case of so far, so good. Economic growth may not be as fast as we would like. But it remains comfortably in positive territory. Job losses are occurring. But they are being offset by job gains elsewhere. The unemployment rate looks to be peaking at just over 6 per cent — sooner and lower than many anticipated. Good old-fashioned Australian luck has helped. We have “exported” part of our problems. The capex boom came with a large import bill. As mining projects wind down, part of the pain is being exported to those countries that provided us with the necessary capital goods. On the jobs front, fly-in fly-out workers are losing their jobs in the Pilbara. But they are becoming unemployed in Sydney and Melbourne where they live. And that is where the job creation is occurring. We are also exporting part of the problem as those on 457 visas move on to the next big project and New Zealanders return home.

But we will need more than luck. We must transit to other forms of growth. Construction is the focus. And unfortunately the results are mixed. A residential construction boom is under way. But non-mining construction ­activity has remained limp. And the drop in public infrastructure spending in recent years is nothing less than disappointing.

Non-mining capex and infrastructure spending may have disappointed for now. But some parts of the economic story that weren’t in the transition narrative may surprise on the upside. Non-­resource exports and the consumer may fill in some of the hole.

The number of exporters doesn’t normally vary much from year to year. But there was a ­significant spike in the 2014 financial year. The spike is all the more interesting because it occurred at a time when the Australian dollar was still strong. The larger part of the drop in the currency has ­happened since then and should push the export trend along.

It seems the Australian dollar was not as big a restraint on the economy as policymakers feared. Non-resource exports may surprise on the upside.

Weak income growth and changed household attitudes to spending/saving/borrowing were expected to weigh on consumer spending. But an array of forces is improving the consumer backdrop. There is a spending flow through from building new homes; there is a wealth effect from higher house prices, the lower dollar is redirecting some spending back onshore and lower petrol prices are boosting spending power. Consumer spending may surprise on the upside.

An expanding group of middle-income consumers in Asia is ­providing further opportunities. These new consumers want larger and better quality housing, more and better quality food, consumer durables, education services, and more holidays. Education and tourism already rank in Australia’s top five exports. Asian demographics also involve an ageing population. And older consumers have certain needs: notably health and financial services. These are well developed sectors in the ­Australian economy.

Australia’s experience in these areas means we are well placed to take advantage. The opportunities are there for those who want to take them.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am sure Hilary Bambrick is very nice. But she should do a course in logical thinking and in what constitutes evidence. Do universities still teach rational and critical thinking? or is that as Hilary puts it, "so last century" too?