Friday, January 31, 2020

Victoria power emergency: SA interconnector cut as heat soars

Australia’s power operator called on Victoria to prepare short-term emergency electricity reserves after South Australia was separated from the national grid, cutting a vital source of supply amid sweltering weather conditions.

The Heywood interconnector linking Victoria and South Australia was cut at 1.24pm, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator.

That left South Australia islanded from the rest of the market, triggering a surge in wholesale prices in the state to the $14,700 per megawatt hour market cap.

AEMO then activated the last ditch power mechanism at 1.51pm — known as the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader — in a bid to maintain power system security using reserve supplies and demand management contracts previously agreed with the market.

A level two ‘lack of reserve’ was also declared in Victoria on Friday afternoon as a signal for the market to direct urgent electricity supplies to the grid through either a boost in supplies or large industrial businesses cutting demand.

Shortly after the interconnector was cut, Alcoa’s giant Portland smelter was also understood to have been forced offline potentially helping to ease the tight market in Victoria by reducing about 600 megawatts of demand on the system.

South Australia had been exporting about the same level of supply to Victoria at the time of the separation, consultant GlobalRoam tweeted.

“South Australia was exporting to Victoria at the time. The loss of supply almost exactly matched by a 600MW drop in Victoria, presumably Alcoa’s Portland smelter,” GlobalRoam managing director Paul McArdle said.

Portland’s owner, Alcoa, confirmed the outage.

“At approximately 2:20pm on 31 January, Portland Aluminium smelter lost power to both potlines due to a fault external to the plant. The cause of the fault is currently unknown,” an Alcoa spokeswoman told The Australian.

Portland’s owner, Alcoa, was not immediately available to comment.

The market operator boosted its emergency back-up supplies earlier in December across the nation’s power grid to help avoid potential electricity cuts this summer as extreme heat and the ongoing threat of bushfires place the system under pressure.

Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland gained access to 1500 megawatts of RERT power reserves to cover the risk of high temperatures and unplanned generation outages and ensure compulsory load shedding is avoided during periods of peak demand.

Two-thirds of the supply is for Victoria and South Australia and the remainder covering NSW and Queensland to cover risks to the grid.

‘Cut use urgently’

Earlier on Friday Victorians were asked to urgently cut their electricity use this afternoon to ward off potential blackouts, with soaring heat and humidity tipped to push the state’s power demand to a six-year high.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, which runs the national power grid, called for households to reduce their electricity usage between 1pm and 8pm on Friday in a bid to avert forced outages.

Electricity demand is forecast to hit its highest levels since January 2014 due to the combination of heat and humidity.

Consumers have been urged to use air conditioners only at higher temperatures, avoid running dishwashers and switch off pool pumps.

“While AEMO is not currently forecasting supply shortfalls or the need for involuntary load shedding, heatwave conditions that drive high electricity demand, combined with unplanned generation or transmission outages, could result in electricity disruptions,” the operator said in a statement.

AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A coal plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley suffered a temporary outage at one of its units just after 6pm on Thursday, piling pressure on the state’s fragile grid at a time of peak demand.

The unit has returned to service but Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said ageing coal plants and stress on transmission lines were partly to blame for the tight situation.

“Today Victoria’s power supply will be very tight due to hot weather. There are many variables that can affect power supply including bushfires, stress on transmission lines and ageing coal plants that can fail with no notice, like we saw last night,” Ms D’Ambrosio said in reference to Loy Yang.

Extra electricity reserves have been contracted by AEMO in an attempt to avoid compulsory cuts.

“AEMO has contracted additional electricity reserves, however, should these be insufficient to manage unexpected outages of generation or electricity transmission assets, load shedding may be required as an absolute last resort to avert the risk of system collapse, physical damage to parts of the power system or long-term outages to residents and businesses,” AEMO said.

Victoria and South Australia both endured a tighter than expected power market on Thursday night as hot weather triggered soaring electricity demand.

The Loy Yang outage, along with the powering down of solar for the night and a low contribution from wind farms meant power supplies struggled to meet demand, according to Paul McArdle at consultancy GlobalRoam.

Demand across the national electricity market at 5pm on Friday is forecast to reach within 500 megawatts of the all-time record, according to Mr McArdle.

While the focus remains on Victoria given a forecast high of 40 degrees in Melbourne on Friday, NSW also faces a tight market with coal units out at AGL’s Bayswater and Liddell plants and EnergyAustralia’s Mt Piper facility in the state, GlobalRoam said.

The heatwave is also expected to move north over the weekend, with central and western NSW surpassing 40C.


Row over Bettina Arndt’s honour

Social commentator and men’s rights advocate Bettina Arndt has hit back after Victoria’s attorney-general called for her to be stripped of her Australia Day honour.

Over the weekend, Ms Arndt was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) — Australia’s third-highest civic honour — for striving to achieve “gender equity through advocacy for men”.

The journalist and sex therapist was criticised in 2018 when she interviewed convicted sex offender Nicolaas Bester and has been outspoken against what she believes is a “fake rape crisis” at Australian universities.

In response, Labor’s Jill Hennessy, who is also state minister for workplace safety, has written to Governor-General David Hurley after the Australia Day Honours list was published on Sunday saying she was alarmed at the appointment.

Ms Arndt has blasted the letter as “gobsmacking” and “absolutely hilarious”.

Ms Hennessy’s letter, dated January 28 and posted on her Facebook page, recognises the honours are decided with the recommendation of an independent council but asks why Ms Ardnt was included.

“Taking into account Ms Arndt’s well-documented opinions, public commentary and media appearances — which include sympathising with a convicted paedophile and blaming and shaming victims — this award is an insult to victims of sexual abuse and to those of us who work hard every day to prevent it,” she wrote.

Ms Hennessy also pointed to the issue of family violence.

“I would ask that the Council of the Order of Australia consider cancellation of Ms Arndt’s award given that her public commentary brings the Order into disrepute and in particular that it attaches the Order’s tacit support to her views,” she wrote.

Ms Ardnt said Ms Hennessy should be ashamed.

“Shame on Victoria’s first law officer, Jill Hennessy, the Victorian Attorney-General for responding to muckraking from ideologues rather than seeking proper evidence,” she posted on Twitter.

She posted this morning: “She shows my main crime was defending men and telling the truth about women’s role in family violence.”

This all comes as the New Matilda questioned Ms Arndt’s credentials — writing that she was not a doctor, had never obtained a PhD and nor was she a psychologist or clinical psychologist.

The publication claimed she “has actively participated in the promotion of material which portrays her falsely as a psychologist, clinical psychologist and doctor”.

On Facebook overnight, Ms Arndt hit back at the story, calling it a “hit job”.

“I am not currently a practising psychologist. However, that was certainly my professional training when I started my career in the 1970s. I have postgraduate qualifications in clinical psychology,” she wrote.

“It’s common practice for well-known people to use labels that include their professional background. According to the authorities regulating professional practice for psychologists, I am not doing anything wrong.”

Former Australian of the Year and family violence survivor Rosie Batty, whose young son was murdered by her mentally ill ex-husband, earlier this week questioned the legitimacy of the appointment.

“I cannot help but be appalled that someone who minimised violence towards women who is part of the inevitable push-back and backlash that we all experience as we pioneer a way forward, would be awarded,” Ms Batty told

Upon receiving her honour, Ms Arndt told she had been writing about men’s issues for 30 years.

She said she started off as a feminist and campaigning for women’s rights, but became “increasingly alarmed” by the movement.

“I felt in many areas, women had achieved equality,” she said. “We had a lot to celebrate. But there are many who wanted to extend women’s rights well beyond any notion of equality.

“It’s now all about male bashing, trying to advantage women over men in so many areas. I had enough of that.

“I don’t think it’s fair that a small, noisy minority group in our society closes down discussion on issues that affect half the population.”


Crackdown targets protection visa scam

A crackdown on foreigners trying to enter Australia illegally and ­exploit protection visas has ­resulted in a huge spike in interceptions at overseas airports and passengers being kicked off flights, with the new approach stopping 1730 arrivals in 2018-19.

Australian Border Force has ramped up operations at international flight terminals, targeting individuals carrying fraudulent documents and those who have lied about or obscured their genuine reasons for travel.

Protection claims by Malaysian and Chinese citizens have also declined sharply in the first six months of 2019-20 as the ABF and Department of Home Affairs use intelligence threat assessments, improved alert systems and risk profiles to stop foreigners aiming to prolong their stay.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said Australian authorities were working with ­regional partners, including ­Malaysia, to curb the number of unfounded protection claims.

The Australian can reveal that, in 2018-19, ABF officers intercepted 387 people at international airports around the world who were attempting to travel to Australia without proper documentation. This compared with just 205 in 2017-18, representing an 89 per cent increase.

There were also “significant ­increases” in people offloaded from flights to Australia based on recommendations from ABF officers, amid concerns these individuals had lied about their genuine reasons for travel.

In 2018-19, there were 1343 passengers offloaded by airlines based on advice from Border Force officers compared with 555 passengers in 2017-18 — a 142 per cent increase.

Mr Tudge said Australia had one of the most “generous ­humanitarian programs in the world” but warned that too many people had tried to take advantage of the system by falsely claiming they needed protection.

“We settle thousands of people in desperate need every year,” Mr Tudge said.

“Some people unfortunately seek to exploit our international obligations by lodging protection claims onshore which have no foundation — this issue is not new and is not unique to ­Australia.

“These individuals use our legal system to deliberately prolong their stay in Australia even when they have no prospects of success.”

There was a 19 per cent decline in protection lodgments from Malaysian citizens in the first six months of 2019-20, with 3410 claims being made compared with 4191 in the first six months of 2018-19.

There was also a decline of 16 per cent in protection lodgments from Chinese citizens over the same period, with 2106 claims made in the first six months of 2019-20 compared with 2506 in the first six months of 2018-19.

Other measures implemented by the ABF and the Department of Home Affairs to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s visa and immigration systems included the cancellation of visas of “non-genuine travellers” ahead of ­arrival. The ABF and department are also actively responding to ­increases in fraud and noncompliance by increasing scrutiny of visa applications.

Mr Tudge said co-operation with regional partners combined with border protection measures “before, at and after the Australian border” had reduced the number of claims coming from known international hot spots.

Countering Labor’s claims of a surge in asylum-seekers arriving by air, the government said less than 0.25 per cent of people who arrived in Australia by plane went on to apply for protection and, of them, about 90 per cent were ­refused. Mr Tudge said that, in the last three years of the previous Labor government, 6900 permanent protection visas were granted to people who arrived by air. In the past three years under the ­Coalition, 4780 visas were ­granted.

Protection visas allow holders to live, work and study in Australia permanently and sponsor eligible family members for permanent residency through the offshore humanitarian program.

For permanent visas, asylum-seekers escaping persecution or harm in their home countries must have arrived legally in Australia and meet health, character and security requirements.

Others attempting to secure protection visas are motivated to prolong their stays in Australia, seek employment and a better quality of life.

Analysis of Department of ­Immigration and Border Protection data shows Malaysian and Chinese citizens topped the list of protection visa lodgments ahead of those from India, Thailand, Fiji, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan and The Philippines.

Of the protection visas granted by citizenship, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Libya and China top the list. Only 11 per cent of protection visa cases finalised in 2018-19 were successful.

A monthly update for December released by the department revealed a total of 2219 protection visas were lodged last month. There were 997 refugee status ­determinations made and 75 ­individuals granted a final ­protection visa, with Turkey, Venezuela, Iran and Afghanistan topping the list.

The Coalition last year successfully won Senate crossbench support to repeal the medivac law, which allowed asylum-seekers to be transported to Australia on the advice of doctors. Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally has clashed with the government over her claims that people-smugglers have “changed their business model from boats to planes”.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal continues to be flooded by appeals from people seeking protection visas, who have been rejected, with some still being processed from Labor’s legacy caseload.

In recent cases, many involving Afghan citizens, asylum-seekers have been citing violence and blood feuds in attempts to overturn refusals of their visa ­applications.


Politicized charities

Don't give them a cent

Four of Australia’s leading international aid organisations have urged the Morrison Government to take major climate change action amid the country’s bushfire crisis.

World Vision Australia, Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia and Save the Children Australia have joined forces to issue a plea for stronger climate measures.

The group wants more ambitious emission reduction targets to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C, warning many countries will face unmanageable suffering and devastation if more isn’t done.

“The time for debate about climate change is over, it is now time for action. We cannot afford to waste any more time,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The organisations have called on Australia to demonstrate strong leadership on climate action and transition to a low-emissions global economy, support reforestation programs and build the capacity of vulnerable communities in Australia and overseas to deal with the ravages of climate change.

The four charities have called for the Coalition government to sign the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.

“Our organisations acknowledge that this issue is so pressing, we must advocate in alliance to amplify the voices of the world’s most vulnerable people,” the joint statement says.

The Australian arms of World Vision, Oxfam, Plan and Save the Children describe climate change as a human rights issue impacting on health and an adequate standard of living.

“Every day, our aid workers see the very real and devastating impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable people,” the aid alliance says.

The group pointed to a food crisis in southern African, severe floods in Indonesia and a 2018 deadly cyclone in Mozambique.

“Now the climate emergency has well and truly arrived at home, too,” the alliance continued.

“Australians are suffering through the devastating ongoing fallout from our worst fire season on record, with dozens of lives, thousands of homes and more than a billion creatures lost.

“Fires continue to rage and millions are breathing in hazardous air across three states.” Climate action has been brought into sharp focus by Australia’s deadly bushfires with the issue sparking tensions within the coalition.


Franking credit plan stank

LABOR leader Anthony Albanese has officially dumped the party's election-killing franking credits hit as he embarks on a major policy reset ahead of the next federal poll. Mr Albanese told The Courier Mail the policy — a major contributor to Labor's shock loss under Bill Shorten in May last year — would go. "We won't be taking the same policy to the next election," he said, acknowledging the plan to abolish cash refunds for individuals and super funds deeply worried retirees.

 Mr Albanese said he was determined to be collaborative and ensure proper processes were followed for Labor to develop its policies. But he said the franking credits policy, which would have saved the Budget about $5 billion a year, would go.

It was the first of the Shorten-era policies to be formally junked by Mr Albanese, who took over as leader after Mr Shorten stood down following his defeat by Scott Morrison.

Mr Albanese, who on Monday emerged for the first time as preferred prime minister over Mr Morrison in Newspoll, also said he no longer opposed asylum-seeker boat-turnbacks, because "they worked".

He said economic debates had to be won ahead of environmental and social debates. And he urged fellow progressives to ensure they argued their case and "took people with them" when making the case for change.

The franking credits policy which would have abolished cash refunds for retirees who received dividends which had already incurred company tax — would have saved about $55 billion over 10 years, which Labor intended to spend on other social policies. But it proved the most unpopular of Labor's swath of policies.

"One of the things I've been determined to do is to be collaborative and to have proper processes for decision-making" Mr Albanese said.  "But I've indicated certainly that in my view Labor will not be taking the same policy to the next election.  "We'll work through all of the detail of our tax policies.

But something that I've heard very directly from people is
that they had made arrangements based upon the existing rules that were in place. "And they felt it was unfair that we were proposing to change that. "There are a range of people who weren't impacted by it at all who felt that they would be.

"Pensioners who have never held a share in their 'life felt they were going to be impacted." Mr Albanese said there were "issues with the tax system and fairness that need to be dealt with". "But they need to be dealt with in a way that doesn't add to people's insecurity," he said.

"We had an issue at the election of leaving ourselves vulnerable to attacks that we were adding to people's feeling of insecurity. "And I think that the pace of change in the economy, the nature of work, meant that people are worried about the future."

Mr Albanese pulled ahead of Mr Morrison as preferred prime minister 43-39 after trailing him by 14 points when the Newspoll voter survey was last taken in early December.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 18 January, 2020

 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

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Australia: When a government says a white man is black, dissenters have to be fired

I put up the post below yesterday on my Tongue Tied blog.  It now has a sequel, which I reproduce below it.  The disgrace has got worse.  The truthteller HAS now been fired. Does anybody believe that the pink-skinned guy below is an Aborigine?

WHAT a scandal. Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt now threatens to sack a whistleblower who called out "Aboriginal historian" Bruce Pascoe as a white.

The whistleblower in Wyatt's sights is Josephine Cashman, an Aboriginal businesswoman on his advisory council. That's because Cashman claimed Pascoe, author of the bestseller "Dark Emu" and star of an upcoming MSC series, is a fake Aborigine, and she says she has plenty of evidence.

Genealogical records on suggest all of Pascoe's ancestors are of English descent, and Pascoe refuses to say which is actually Aboriginal.

Indeed, his story keeps changing. Once he identified as white, until a reviewer of his first novel said it would have been better had Pascoe been black.

Once he claimed that one of his mother's grandmothers was Aboriginal, before admitting she was English. Now he claims he's descended from several tribes, including the Boonwurrung of Victoria, Tasmanian Aborigines and the Yuin of NSW.

But his claims have been rejected by the Boonwunrung Land & Sea Council, the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania and members of the Yuin, and now even the Yolngu of Arnhem Land.

Elder Terry Yumbulul says his fellow Yolngu want Wyatt to investigate Pascoe's "claim to Aboriginal ancestry" and what he's gained from an identity "he has been unable to verify".

Yumbulul, like the Boonwurrung and the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, also rejects Pascoe's claims — based on false citations and exaggerations — that Aborigines weren't hunter-gathers but farmers in "towns" of "1000 people".

"There is no evidence of it in our art, languages or songlines," says Yumbulul, who accuses Pascoe of causing "concerns about our ancient cultures, our ancient traditions, our precious stories".

So what's Wyatt's reaction? It's to defend white Pascoe and
seemingly threaten Aboriginal Cashman with the sack. Wyatt told the Guardian Australia that Pascoe's Aboriginality was "being played out publicly" when "we should deal with (it) within communities".

He said he could ask one of his advisers to quit "I have to think of the greater good of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."

Really? Is truth to be sacrificed for the "greater good"? And where's this "greater good" when Aborigines are being stripped of their past and even their right to say who is of their tribe?

No Liberal MP should tolerate what Wyatt seems to have in mind. If Cashman goes, so should he.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 27 January, 2020

Ken Wyatt dumps Josephine Cashman in wake of Dark Emu scandal

Indigenous Australians minister Ken Wyatt has sacked his one-time friend and ally Josephine Cashman amid a furious debate over Aboriginal identity.

Ms Cashman on Tuesday lost her position on the senior advisory group overseeing the design of an indigenous voice to government, seven weeks after she asked Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton for an investigation into acclaimed author Bruce Pascoe for “dishonesty offences”.

Mr Wyatt was said to have been blindsided by Ms Cashman’s email to Mr Dutton on December 11, 2019, in which she alleged Professor Pascoe gained a financial benefit by wrongly claiming to be Aboriginal. Mr Wyatt learned about her complaint in The Weekend Australian on January 11, after Mr Dutton had referred it to the Australian Federal Police.

Since then, The Australian has learned, members of the senior advisory group became increasingly concerned that Ms Cashman’s public criticism of Professor Pascoe was divisive and detracting from their work. Ms Cashman’s push for a national register of indigenous Australians as a way of confirming identity also drew criticism.

“Following recent discussions with the Senior Advisory Group Co-Chairs, Professor Dr Marcia Langton AM and Professor Tom Calma AO, and after careful consideration, I have decided that Ms Cashman’s membership of the Group is no longer tenable,” Mr Wyatt said in an email to reporters on Tuesday.

“Ms Cashman’s actions are not conducive to the constructive and collaborative approach required to progress the important co-design process for an Indigenous voice.”

The Australian has been told Ms Cashman’s future on the senior advisory group was considered untenable last Thursday after the AFP confirmed it had completed its assessment of her complaint against Professor Pascoe and identified no Commonwealth offence. Having identified no financial benefit on the material Ms Cashman provided, the AFP did not probe Professor Pascoe’s ancestry.

The Australian has been told Ms Cashman’s sacking was imminent when a debate erupted on Monday night over the authenticity of a contentious letter that Ms Cashman gave to Sky commentator Andrew Bolt, which he published on his blog. Said to have been from Northern Territory elder Terry Yumbulul, it was critical of the thesis of Professor Pascoe’s bestseller Dark Emu, which draws on the historical accounts of early settlers to call for a rethink of the hunter gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal people. “It would have been impossible for my people to have built wells, silos, houses and yards to pen animals, as Pascoe promotes,” the letter states.

Mr Yumbulul later told NITV: “I did not say anything of the sort to write the letter on behalf of me”.

However Ms Cashman said on Sky on Tuesday that Mr Yumbulul approved a final draft of the letter. Bolt said Mr Yumbulul and his wife Clely were cc’d on several drafts and he published emails which he said showed they had replied with corrections.

Professor Pascoe is described on the back cover of his latest book, Salt, as a Bunurong man. He is accepted as Aboriginal by Mr Wyatt and other prominent indigenous Australians including Professor Langton, the co-chair of the senior advisory group.

On Bolt’s program on Sky on Tuesday night, Ms Cashman claimed: “There is a group of Aboriginal elites that decide who is Aboriginal and who is not and people on the ground have had a gutful of it.”

Professor Pascoe writes about claims he is “not really Aboriginal” in Salt. “What they say has cool logic. Clinical analysis of genes says I’m more Cornish than Koori.” he writes.


Any climate policy change is going to be slow burn

Climate politics is global. This is the ultimate message from the worldwide reaction to Australia’s bushfire tragedy. The backdrop to the demands that Australia do more on climate change is that the world is not doing enough and that the Paris Agreement is in serious trouble and may fail.

The global story is stark: the scientists intensify their alarm but governments are not responding. The gulf between the scientific consensus from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the pledges made by the ­governments of the major emitters grows only larger and soon will verge on gargantuan.

The US, following President Donald Trump’s decision, withdraws from the Paris Agreement on November 4, at the time of the presidential election. If Trump is re-elected it means no American return and that will cast an ominous shadow over the agreement’s structure and credibility. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says “we are still losing the climate race” but then feels obliged to sound an optimistic note: “But we can choose another path.”

The idea that nations will choose another path seems remote. Below the surface you sense the desperation from the architects and champions of a global model that isn’t working and was always a third-best solution. It is now more than 20 years since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated with its binding targets only on rich, industrialised nations. It is ­almost 10 years since the failure of the Copenhagen conference to ­secure a legally binding global agreement, and almost five since the patch-up job in Paris — a weak fallback — asking nations to submit voluntary targets as nationally determined contributions.

Last year’s UN Emissions Gap Report, along with other UN documents, finds a “bleak” picture. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising. There is “no sign” they will peak in the next few years. By 2030 emissions will need to be 25 per cent and 55 per cent lower than in 2018 to limit warming to below 2C and 1.5C, the Paris requirements. The gulf between country pledges and what is needed remains “large” and growing, with countries needing to increase their pledges “threefold” to achieve the temperature goals.

The UN analysis says: “Essentially there has been no real change in the global emissions pathway in the last decade. The ­effects of climate policies have been too small to offset the impact of key drivers of emissions such as economic growth and population growth.” Understand what this means: the already “baked in” ­absence of progress means the steeper scale of adjustment needed in coming years will be so great it “risks seriously damaging the global economy” — decoded that warns about a global recession.

Paris is not a legally binding agreement; it has no compliance mechanism and no penalties for noncompliance. How does such a system work? By political pressure, public, media, peer group pressure and moral suasion. Invoke the Pope or Prince Charles or Greta Thunberg or the better ­angels of our nature. Pivotal to the political pressure is the fear of extinction or Armageddon. Guterres has bet his UN leadership on climate change ­action. Operating as a global politician, he told the General Assem­bly that unless big emitters act “we are doomed”. Big emitters will determine the fate of the Paris Agreement and our trajectory points to failure.

In this situation, the Australian bushfires become a test case, at home and globally. Guterres slotted the fires into “an existential climate crisis” where “our planet is burning” while governments “fiddle” as the globe “is edging closer to the point of no return”.

The raging bushfires, deaths, property destruction and terrifying pictures naturally prompted demands for action. Climate change constitutes a moral challenge for Australia and all nations to take stronger action. But media demands that Australia must now become a world leader on climate action or that more ambition on Australia’s part is a solution in its own right to our bushfire challenge are unrealistic, irrational and misleading.

The contradiction at the heart of the Paris deal now reverberates through the politics of the democracies. National pledges under Paris are utterly insufficient, as judged by the science. Every analysis shows this. In country after country the climate change champions demand greater action but national governments — essentially the big emitters — refuse to act with the urgency the scientists and the UN demand with doomsday scenarios.

The political battle is waged at the national and global level in constant interaction with each other. Guterres, like the ­activists, says the people are demanding “much stronger ambition”. Are they? Maybe, but global results don’t show it. At home Anthony Albanese backs coal exports and says Labor’s 45 per cent emissions target was a mistake.

For progressives, the bushfires are decisive. They show the climate is changing; that the threat is here, not just in the future. With quasi-religious belief they depict the fires as a “game changer” — the event that shifts public opinion towards greater action. These are declarations of faith. Do they pronounce too much? In reality, it will take many months to determine whether the fires are a game changer. The politics of climate change in Australia has fluctuated wildly over 15 years and fluctuations are likely to recur.

The human brain isn’t good at responding to a predicted catastrophe some time in the future. The domestic test is whether the bushfires have repudiated the May 2019 election settlement and made Scott Morrison’s modest 26 per cent emission reduction stance untenable with the public. The international test is whether Australia, having experienced fires of such notoriety, remains unmoved in its Paris Agreement pledges or concedes the growing threat by declaring more ambitious targets.

There is one certainty. Morrison will take his time on this judgment. He does not subscribe — at least so far — to the “game changer” conclusion of the commentators who demand he change his policy. His caution is understandable. What would be the political consequences for Morrison if, acting on the fires, he now announced a more ambitious emission reduction target?

First, he would never satisfy his opponents, who would pocket the concession, demand more and renew their attacks on his government. Second, he would inflame and alienate many of his own ­supporters, who would attack him for cracking under pressure, surrendering to his opponents, betraying his election mandate and dividing, perhaps fatally, his own side of politics.

In short, it would be meagre gain for truckloads of pain — that’s the political equation. At this stage it doesn’t make sense. Morrison’s aim is to hold his government and his voting base together. That may mean policy change at some point. But that will come only down the track after intense internal management and will surely involve targets beyond 2030.

In the interim, Morrison will make clear he accepts the reality of climate change, that he wants Australia to exceed the 26 per cent 2030 emission reduction target, that he prefers this be achieved without carry-over of credits and that he wants a new national framework for combating fires with greater emphasis on adaptation and resilience building.

Every sign is that Morrison will stick by his stance saying he wants power prices cut and won’t take further action on climate change if it hurts the economy and means higher power prices. But that is ­exactly what it means. The UN is talking about “transforming” policy change. That’s what the science requires. Wealthy Liberal electorates might accept this in principle but there is scant evidence most of the country will.

There is no escape from the fact that on climate Australia is a 1.3 per cent nation. This is our contribution to global emissions. It is wrong to say we don’t matter and don’t have obligations. But it is equally wrong to pretend that ­action by Australia makes any meaningful difference to global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet nothing seems to agitate climate activists as much as this truth.

It doesn’t negate the case for Australia doing more — in moral, diplomatic and self-interested terms. It is vital to avoid any trade or financial retaliation that singles us out from other rich commodity-based exporters (think Canada and New Zealand) by trying to claim we were doing less and should be penalised.

The climate change lobby demands, after the bushfires, a transformational policy change. That won’t happen because neither the policy nor political argument for such transformation exists. That may change. For the present, climate change policy will reflect a series of Morrison-judged compromises amid shifting reassessments involving the economy, energy, emissions reduction and prices, the bushfire legacy and how public opinion evolves, particularly within the Coalition vote.


Foreign students flock to some Australian university courses

FOREIGN students have filled at least three quarters of places in key university courses, after international student numbers soared 12 per cent in a year.

As Queensland school leavers sweat on university offers, The Courier-Mail can reveal that overseas students have taken 82.4 per cent of places in information technology courses at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and nearly two-thirds of IT places at James Cook University (JCU) and the University of Southern Queensland.

At the prestigious University of Queensland, which pockets $250 million a year selling places to Chinese students, foreigners outnumber local students in IT and management and commerce courses.

Cash-hungry universities are offering more places to fee-paying foreigners than to local students in 64 courses nationally, data obtained exclusively by The Courier-Mail reveals.

Nationally, the number of foreign students in Australian universities soared 12 per cent to 427,610 in 2018 — with nearly 10 per cent studying in Brisbane. At Central Queensland University, the proportion of foreign students studying management and commerce soared from 54 per cent in 2013 to 70.2 per cent in 2018, the latest Education Department data for 2018 reveals.

CQ University acting vice-chancellor Alastair Dawson said 40 per cent of students come from other countries. "Due to the successive decline in funding from government to universities, in order to build our programs and ensure a sustainable academic offering we've realised the opportunity to pick up our international market," he said. We don't cut domestic places to suit the international market — you would take as many domestic students as you can."

In agriculture and environmental studies, 61.3 per cent of students at JCU are from overseas. "Domestic students are not missing out on places in these courses because of international student enrolments," a JCU spokesman said. "All students — international and domestic have to meet strict entry requirements and academic standards to be enrolled."

International education is a $22 billion business for Australian universities. Australian universities have enrolled 152,591 students from China, 71,857 from India and 28,233 from Nepal.

Foreigners, who are charged $15,000 to $33,000 for a basic bachelor degree, make up a third of the 1.5 million students enrolled in Australian universities.

The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) has warned that some universities, including UQ — where Chinese students clashed with Hong Kong protesters last year — are too reliant on Chinese revenue.

CIS Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz, a former vice-chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney and Murdoch University in Perth, said foreign students flock to courses likely to lead to jobs and permanent residency, such as IT and management

"Permanent residency is one of the main motivations to study in Australia," he said. "If suddenly permanent residency was given to people who study poetry, it's likely they'd all be doing poetry."

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 27 January, 2020

Kmart blogger mum tearfully defends herself against racism accusations for saying 'white is right' in a post about a QUILT COVER

A woman has tearfully defended herself after she was accused of being a 'racist' for saying 'white is right' about her new doona quilt cover.

Claire, from Tasmania, has been creating lifestyle content for her popular Instagram account The Kmart Lover as a hobby.

With more than 100,000 followers, her well-established page focuses on affordable fashion and home styling such as d├ęcor, furniture and bedding.

But over the weekend, Claire came under attack by cruel trolls who labelled her a 'racist' and a 'white supremacist' after she shared her thoughts on her new king-size waffle quilt cover.

'I wasn't going to address this... but as you can probably tell, I'm sad, but that's not from the thing that happened last night. It's from my sister Krista's beautiful words and the outpouring of love and support that you guys have given me,' she said.

'I've got a bad headache, I put it down to the stress that's come from here. I'm not racist, I was purely talking about a bloody doona cover, and it does hurt, it hurts me.

'I put some time into my page, it's my page, I don't get paid to tell you where the item is from. I don't get paid to give you a swipe up link. I don't get paid to show you what it would match with and so many of you ask things like that and I give you my views on it.'

After speaking out, Claire hit back at the nasty trolls by sharing a snap of herself sitting on her white quilt cover in her white Kmart outfit.

Claire was left in tears after receiving nasty remarks for sharing her thoughts about a doona

'This is me. On my white waffle quilt cover in my white outfit... Just a girl on a bed in what she considers a cool outfit sharing her love for home styling and fashion,' she said.

'Unshowered, heavy eyes from a bad headache, no make-up. Nothing more, nothing less. This week I have been trolled as being racist for saying "white is right" about the depicted doona cover.

'I could stay quiet as some of you have suggested and not respond to any of these remarks but that is not me. I am strong. I am independent and I am taking a stance against this small minority of society that feel this behaviour is ok because it is not.'

Claire has since updated her caption to: 'Can you beat a white quilt cover for a relaxing entrance to a bedroom? I love it.'


Greyhound cuts ties with Adani coal mine after backlash from climate Nazis

The bus company Greyhound Australia has ruled out any extension of work on the controversial Adani coal project after a backlash from climate change campaigners.

On Sunday the SchoolStrike4Climate group launched a campaign to boycott travel with the company until it publicly ruled out working on the mine.

Guardian Australia revealed last week that Greyhound had written to staff warning they could be caught “in the crossfire” of anti-Adani campaigners after the company took a three-month contract at the coal project, with an option to extend.

The Indian-owned Adani mine and railway project is the first to begin work to extract the vast coal reserves of Queensland’s Galilee basin.

Greyhound is providing transport to workers for the construction company BMD, which is building the railway to take the coal to Adani’s Abbot Point port.

In a statement, Greyhound Australia said it had “received numerous messages, emails and phone calls from people expressing their thoughts both for and against the Carmichael Rail Network and Adani Carmichael project”.

It said: “Following considered deliberation, and in the best interests of our staff, customers, and partners, Greyhound Australia has decided to not enter into a contractual agreement with BMD to service construction of the Carmichael Rail Network beyond our preliminary 31 March 2020 commitment.”

The company declined to comment further.


 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

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

'Get rid of your chip off your shoulder': Pauline Hanson's Australia Day message to Aboriginal protestors campaigning for a change of date for the national day

This campaign about the date will immediately change to a demand to abolish the day absolutely if it ever succeeds.

It is entirely a creation of the political Left, to whom any national consciousness is anathema.

Both in the USA and Australia, the Left do their best to promote racial division and antagonism.  It is the Left who are the dangerous racists.  Without them, different races would have a much better chance of living together in harmony.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has claimed Aboriginal people who want Australia Day moved away from January 26 need to 'get the chip off their shoulder'.

The outspoken federal senator was involved with a heated argument with Melbourne radio broadcaster Neil Mitchell on the Today Show, a day after Australia Day protests across the country.

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island flags filled streets across the nation on Sunday, as thousands of protesters called for the date of Australia Day to be moved because of growing tensions over what it celebrates.

January 26 - which marks the raising of the British flag on Australian soil in 1788 after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour - is regarded as 'invasion day' by many First Nations people.

During a passionate discussion with Mr Mitchell and host Karl Stefanovic, Ms Hanson said she does not believe the date should be changed - claiming there are far bigger issues for Aboriginal communities.

'They're not talking about this in Aboriginal communities and I was there two weeks ago,' Ms Hanson, 65, said.

'You know the big issues there? Kids are on the streets, they're starving, they've got the biggest rate of syphilis in their townships.

'You move the date from January 26th, whatever date you pick they're going to whinge about that as well.

'Get rid of the chip off your bloody shoulder. We are here, I was born here, this is my country... this is Australia Day where people join together.'

Mr Mitchell, the long-time 3AW talkback host, initially agreed that the date on which Australia Day is celebrated is not 'a huge issue for most Aboriginal people'.

But he took exception to Ms Hanson's comments that 'invasion day' protesters have a chip on their shoulder, claiming it was remarks like this that caused division.

'Get the chip off your shoulder? That'll really help. We need to be inclusive. I don't think it's a chip on your shoulder to be worried about history,' Mr Mitchell, 68, said.

Ms Hanson defended her stance, replying: 'Neil this has been going on for over 200 years do you think they have been affected by this?'

'They're using this as an excuse. It's either a political stance or they're pushing their own agenda.'

Today Show host Karl Stefanovic had the final say on the matter, claiming that such a debate highlighted how emotional the issue is.

'This is part of the problem, it is such a divisive thing and a divisive argument, and I want unification on this day,' he said.


A truth about climate change that Warmists continue to dodge

Higher levels of CO2 are beneficial

Andrew Bolt

ACTIVISTS are exploiting these terrible bushfires to whip up an astonishing fear of man-made global warming and hatred of sceptics like me.

But know what makes me sure, even after this fiery devastation, that the global warming menace is exaggerated? It's warmist scientist Andy Pitman, who has once again confirmed exactly what I've been saying. How horrified he'll be to hear it

You may remember Professor Pitman, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. He last year was recorded admitting to fellow warmists that droughts — like this severe one that's fed the fires — are NOT caused by global warming. "As far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought," he said. "There is no reason a priori why climate change should make the landscape more arid."

Indeed, despite the drought, Australia's rainfall over the century as increased, not fallen.

Pitman and the ABC were naturaily mortified when I and others started to quote him. Pitman is now furious that former rime Minister Tony Abbott last week quoted his admission, too, in he Australian.

But in his anger, Pitman let slip a fact that sceptics like me have tried for years to point out. Pitman complained that "Abbott quotes me on drought ... when in fact for 15 years I have been warning that the risk of fires is increasing as a consequence of climate change".

That's because, he said, the extra carbon dioxide we emit is actually plant food that causes "greening", meaning we get more leaves and even trees to burn in a drought. But Pitman has been too honest. Most warmists have dodged this truth, because it undermines their fear campaign.

You see, it's actually sceptics like me who have for years argued that global warming is greening the planet, and that this is, overall, a good thing. As renowned physicist Freeman Dyson says: "The whole Earth is growing greener as a result of carbon dioxide, so it's increasing agricultural yields, it's increasing the forests and it's increasing growth in the biological world."

NASA has found that an area about twice the size of the continental United States got greener between 1982 and 2009. This helps to explain why world grain crops keep setting new records.

But wait! A greener planet Bigger crops. Fewer cyclones, too. Is this really something we want to stop? This goes to the key question that sceptics like me keep asking. We don't deny the planet has warmed. We instead question whether the warming we're seeing — less than predicted — is all bad. We particularly question whether it's smart to spend billions or even trillions to cut emissions in a largely symbolic attempt to "stop" all this.

Of course, some warmists will say: look at these deadly fires! Don't they prove global warming is deadly? In fact, tragic as they've been, they are far from our worst, measured either by deaths or area burned.

What's more, our bush this summer was dried out by a drought that was caused primarily not by global warming but by a natural and regular change in ocean patterns called the Indian Ocean Dipole. When that dipole pushes warmer water in the Indian Ocean east to Australia, we get rain; when it replaces that with cooler water, we get drought

Last December the Bureau of Meteorology warned the dipole had pushed so much cool water our way that we get no real rain until April. We'd get no rain to stop the fires. Well, the bureau was wrong. The dipole suddenly decayed a couple of weeks ago, and we've since had lots of rain over eastern Australia, with more to come this week.

So, thanks to Pitman, the sceptics' case is even clearer. Do we really want to spend a fortune to slash our emissions in a largely futile attempt to "stop" a warming that isn't anything as dangerous as we're told? Or would it be far cheaper and infinitely more effective to finally do all the fuel reduction burns needed to keep down the fuel loads in our forests?

After all, even Pitman is blaming extra fuel loads for the intensity of the flames. Yet Victoria, for one, has over the past five years burned only half the area recommended by the royal commission into the shocking 2009 fires that killed 172 people -- four times more than died in this summer's fires. But that's one more topic warmists hate. Reason is their enemy, and only fear is their friend.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 27 January, 2020

Labor MP Tanya Plibersek is slammed by her own supporters for saying schoolkids should pledge loyalty to Australia

The Left are NOT patriotic

Former deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek has been slammed by her own supporters for arguing all school children should pledge their loyalty to Australia.

Ms Plibersek took to Twitter on Saturday to share an article about her ideas ahead of her Australia Day address at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday.

The Federal Labor MP argued patriotism is about acceptance and lending a hand rather than exclusion, but was harshly criticised by users on her own side of politics.

She said the incredible spirit of generosity from Australians during the latest bushfire ravaged summer was the best example.

'This has been patriotism at its practical best; patriotism as the thread connecting us all as Australians.'

On Sunday she will call for all school students to be taught the Australian citizenship pledge, which states: 'From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.'

Ms Plibersek's remarks quickly became trending online with many of her supporters rejecting the idea as American and old fashioned.

'Are you just trying to lose the next election? (This is) all things I loathe about America. Going to vote in the religious bigotry bill too? Just to really break my Labor heart?' a woman said.

Controversial feminist commentator Clementine Ford also slammed the idea.

'Huge fan Tanya, but I think there are more elegant and less nationalistic ways to codify good citizenship here,' she said.

Ms Ford then argued Labor Leader Anthony Albanese was not being a good citizen when he pledged to keep Australia Day on January 26.

Other people pointed out the pledge is already made by immigrants who become Australian citizens.

One man remarked 'that the left are eating their own' and remarked that the behaviour was proof they were uneducated.


Men's advocate, Bettina Arndt, given Australia Day honour

The Left hate her for pricking their balloons

[Some] Australians have reacted with fury to controversial commentator and men’s rights activist Bettina Arndt being recognised in this year’s Australia Day awards.

Ms Arndt was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) — Australia’s third-highest civic honour — for striving to achieve “gender equity through advocacy for men”.

The journalist and sex therapist was criticised in 2018 when she interviewed convicted sex offender Nicolaas Bester and has been outspoken against what she believes is a “fake rape crisis” at Australian universities.

“This is vile,” writer Van Badham tweeted. “Bettina Arndt platformed a paedophile, creating space for a convicted criminal who groomed & raped a child to brag about his crimes, while she herself blamed children for ‘sexual provocation’. If she is what’s ‘honoured’ as an Australian, it is no honour AT ALL.”

“Giving Bettina Arndt this award is like giving Pauline Hanson one for promoting racial equity & George Pell one for child safety,” journalist Sherele Moody wrote.

“Arndt’s work is not about gender equity. It’s misogyny-driven hate designed to keep women barefoot, pregnant and tied to the kitchen sink.”

Ms Arndt, 70, who says she’s been writing about men’s issues for 30 years, told she was “delighted” to have her career recognised in this way and predicted it would “cause a stir”.

The Sydneysider said she’s also “very happy” about the wording used in the citation for her honour.

It states that she has been appointed an AM “for significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men.”

“It absolutely captures what I’m doing,” she said. “But I would imagine that would be controversial because the feminists claim that they’re the only ones promoting gender equity through endlessly tilting laws, rules and regulation to favour women at the expense of men.

“I hope this award will encourage others to join me in campaigning for true gender equity – fair treatment for men and women.”

Ms Arndt said she is currently campaigning to draw attention to the “illegal kangaroo courts” she claims universities are using to adjudicate rape, as well as male suicide and “gender-neutral” suicide prevention policy.

Domestic violence is another issue she has campaigned on.

“Malcolm Turnbull boasted of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on domestic violence programs which (were) all about demonising men,” she said. “They ignore the true complexity of domestic violence which include problems with mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse.”

Meanwhile, she claims male victims of domestic violence receive “absolutely no funding”.

Ms Arndt says she’s been writing about men’s issues for 30 years.

She said she started off as a feminist and campaigning for women’s rights, but became “increasingly alarmed” by the movement.

“I felt in many areas, women had achieved equality,” she said. “We had a lot to celebrate. But there are many who wanted to extend women’s rights well beyond any notion of equality.

“It’s now all about male bashing, trying to advantage women over men in so many areas. I had enough of that.”

Throughout her career, Ms Arndt has courted controversy with her views and campaigns.


Opposition to natural gas mining in most of Australia is helping to keep coal mining alive

The news that two more coal plants are about to close in the US would have been unwelcome at the White House.

Despite the President’s “best endeavours”, the carbon footprint of the average American continues to shrink. More than 46,000MW of coal-fired generator capacity will have disappeared by the end of his term, the equivalent of almost twice the entire capacity of Australian coal plants.

It is hard to see what more Donald Trump could have done. He has neutered the Environmental Protection Agency, ripped apart his predecessor’s Clean Power Plan and given the finger to the Paris Agreement. Yet he has failed to revive the fortunes of coal, despite his solemn promise to miners in Virginia on the campaign trail in May 2016.

Trump should have known that you can’t fight the market. The fracking revolution means coal can no longer compete on price with gas, which emits half the CO2 and a 10th of the pollution.

The same thing might well have occurred in Australia, if state governments had not been spooked by fracking.

It might have helped if they had done the right thing by landowners and offered them a share of the royalties for allowing drilling on their land. The shabby treatment of farmers as third parties in dealings between the Queensland government and gas companies created a potent alliance of farmers and environmentalists, which other state governments have been wary of confronting.

The result of the ill-considered moratorium on fracking and all forms of gas extraction in Victoria is that natural gas is in short supply on the east coast, forcing up the cost. Coal has unwittingly been priced back into the market.

In the great tradition of well-meaning governments achieving the opposite of what they set out to do, the state of Victoria will emit more CO2 this year than it would have done if the market had been allowed to operate freely.

Victoria’s three remaining coal plants, Yallourn, Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B, would probably be toast by now if the state government had allowed enterprising prospectors to develop gas holdings, making gas a viable competitor into the National Energy Market.

A reliable supply of cheap gas in a competitive market would not only hasten the end of coal, it would stabilise the grid and allow renewables to thrive. Gas, with its ability to fire quickly, can provide back-up more easily than coal when the output from wind and solar plants falls.

The former South Australian Labor government might not have had to shell out for Elon Musk’s battery, or scour the planet for spare diesel generators when the Northern Power Station closed prematurely, if it had not artificially constrained the development of gas.

The switch from coal to gas around the world, principally in the US and China, has been a game changer. It has saved about 500 million tonnes of CO2 over the past 10 years, according to the International Energy Authority, the equivalent to putting an additional 200 million electric vehicles on the road, assuming they run on zero-carbon electricity.

Emissions from the US energy sector are 27 per cent lower than they were in 2005, despite the robust growth in the economy. It puts the US on a plausible track to meet the Obama administration’s Paris target if it still cares about that kind of thing.

While it won’t be enough to bring a smile to Greta Thunberg’s pursed lips, the US has achieved bigger savings than other developed economies. It is doing better than Germany, Japan, Canada and New Zealand.

In today’s climate debate, however, there is increasingly little space for pragmatism. The absolutism of our times demands a clean economy, rather than an economy that becomes cleaner over time. Activists insist on renewable energy targets rather than cleaner energy targets. They demand we set a target date for zero emissions without the foggiest idea how to get there.

It was not always so. In the calmer conversations we were having before Al Gore interrupted by reinventing himself as a scary movie maker, the transition to gas was widely regarded as the first step towards a solution.

Today gas has become the target of crass campaigns that make it out to be the problem, lumping it together with coal under the disparaging term “fossil fuel”.

Pressure on investors will curtail the use of gas prematurely unless sanity prevails. Last week’s announcement by BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, that it would stop investing in coal did nothing to appease the critics.

“We’ll need to push BlackRock to move away from not only coal but all its climate-destabilising investments, including oil, gas and companies whose operations threaten to turn the lush Amazon into a savanna,” insisted Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club.

Let us assume for a moment that Brune genuinely hankers for a cleaner economy and is not, as so many climate activists patently are, pursuing a darker agenda. Let us assume he genuinely wants to clean up the planet one tonne of CO2 at a time, and that he gets Voltaire’s point that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

What can he hope to achieve by encouraging a flight of capital from natural gas beyond delaying the transition to a low-emission economy? Fracking has reduced CO2 emissions in the US 10 times faster that two other imperfect technologies, wind and solar, according to a report by the Manhattan Institute.

Rather than bank the dividend, the climate-explains-everything movement has fallen for the nirvana fallacy, the belief that the perfect solution to a particular problem is to hand. It permits the creation of a false dichotomy between the imperfect and the implausible.

Natural gas will not be the energy source that gets us to zero emissions, barring a breakthrough in carbon capture and storage. In the words of the old jazz classic, however, “If that isn’t love it’ll have to do, Until the real thing comes along”.


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

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Reducing Fire, and Cutting Carbon Emissions, the Aboriginal Way

The article from the NYT below gives a good sense of Aboriginal burning practices but does not give enough emphasis to the fact that Aboriginal burning practices -- very frequent small fires -- would not be tolerated for a moment in most of Australia.  They would rightly be seen as dangerous.

The Aborigines described below can get away with it for two main reasons:

1).  They live in Kakadu national park, which is only very lightly populated -- so they have few neighbours to bother them with criticisms

2).  The NT has predicable monsoons, which enables safer detection of risky/non-risky times to burn.  Rainfall in the rest of Australia is much less predictable, if it is predictable at all. So choosing safe times to burn is very approximate. 

Adequate burns can only be done safely in most of Australia if plans for burning cover many areas -- so that a burn can start somewhere as soon as there is a good day for it.  Burns have to exploit ALL good burning days

COOINDA, NT. — At a time when vast tracts of Australia are burning, Violet Lawson is never far from a match.

In the woodlands surrounding her home in the far north of the country, she lights hundreds of small fires a year — literally fighting fire with fire. These traditional Aboriginal practices, which reduce the undergrowth that can fuel bigger blazes, are attracting new attention as Australia endures disaster and confronts a fiery future.

Over the past decade, fire-prevention programs, mainly on Aboriginal lands in northern Australia, have cut destructive wildfires in half. While the efforts draw on ancient ways, they also have a thoroughly modern benefit: Organizations that practice defensive burning have earned $80 million under the country’s cap-and-trade system as they have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions from wildfires in the north by 40 percent.

These programs, which are generating important scientific data, are being held up as a model that could be adapted to save lives and homes in other regions of Australia, as well as fire-prone parts of the world as different as California and Botswana.

“Fire is our main tool,” Ms. Lawson said as she inspected a freshly burned patch where grasses had become ash but the trees around them were undamaged. “It’s part of protecting the land.”

The fire-prevention programs, which were first given government licenses in 2013, now cover an area three times the size of Portugal. Even as towns in the south burned in recent months and smoke haze blanketed Sydney and Melbourne, wildfires in northern Australia were much less severe.

“The Australian government is now starting to see the benefits of having Indigenous people look after their lands,” said Joe Morrison, one of the pioneers of the project. “Aboriginal people who have been through very difficult times are seeing their language, customs and traditional knowledge being reinvigorated and celebrated using Western science.”

In some ways, the Aboriginal methods resemble Western ones practiced around the world: One of the main goals is to reduce underbrush and other fuel that accelerates hot, damaging fires.

But the ancient approach tends to be more comprehensive. Indigenous people, using precisely timed, low-intensity fires, burn their properties the way a suburban homeowner might use a lawn mower.

Aboriginal practices have been so successful in part because of a greater cultural tolerance of fire and the smoke it generates. The country’s thinly populated north, where Aboriginal influence and traditions are much stronger than in the south, is not as hamstrung by political debates and residents’ concerns about the health effects of smoke.

The landscape and climate of northern Australia also make it more amenable to preventive burning. The wide open spaces, and the distinctive seasons — a hot dry season is followed by monsoon rains — make burning more predictable.

Yet despite these regional differences, those who have studied the Aboriginal techniques say they could be adapted in the more populated parts of the country.

“We most certainly should learn to burn Aboriginal-style,” said Bill Gammage, a professor at the Australian National University in Canberra. “Our firefighters have quite good skills in fighting fires. But for preventing them, they are well short of what Aboriginal people could do.”

Last week, Victor Cooper, a former forest ranger in northern Australia, lit a wad of shaggy bark to demonstrate the type of fire that burns at temperatures low enough to avoid damage to sensitive plants that are crucial food for animals.

The preventive fires, he said, should trickle, not rage. They must be timed according to air temperature, wind conditions and humidity, as well as the life cycles of plants. Northern Aboriginal traditions revolve around the monsoon, with land burned patch by patch as the wet season gives way to the dry.

“We don’t have a fear of fire,” said Mr. Cooper, who burns regularly around his stilt house nestled in woodlands. “We know the earlier we burn, the more protection we have.”

This year, he will become certified to join the carbon credits program. Money earned through that system has incentivized stewardship of the land and provided hundreds of jobs in Aboriginal communities, where unemployment rates are high. The funds have also financed the building of schools in underserved areas.

NASA satellite data is used to quantify the reduction in carbon emissions and do computer modeling to track fires. Modern technology also supplements the defensive burning itself: Helicopters drop thousands of incendiary devices the size of Ping-Pong balls over huge patches of territory at times of the year when the land is still damp and fires are unlikely to rage out of control.

Those taking part in the program say they are frustrated that other parts of the country have been reluctant to embrace the same types of preventive burning. The inaction is longstanding: A major federal inquiry after deadly fires more than a decade ago recommended wider adoption of Aboriginal methods.

“I have many friends in other parts of Australia who can’t get their heads around that fire is a useful tool, that not all fire is the same and that you can manage it,” said Andrew Edwards, a fire expert at Charles Darwin University in northern Australia. “It’s hard to get across to people that fire is not a bad thing.”

Nine years ago, Mr. Gammage published a book that changed the way many in Australia thought about the Australian countryside and how it has been managed since the arrival of Europeans in the late 18th century.

The book, “The Biggest Estate on Earth,” uses documents from the earliest settlers and explorers to show how the landscape had been systematically shaped by Aboriginal fire techniques.

Many forests were thinner than those that exist now and were more resistant to hot-burning fires. Early explorers described the landscape as a series of gardens, and they reported seeing near constant trails of smoke from small fires across the landscape.

As Europeans took control of the country, they banned burning. Jeremy Russell-Smith, a bushfire expert at Charles Darwin University, said this quashing of traditional fire techniques happened not only in Australia, but also in North and South America, Asia and Africa.

“The European mind-set was to be totally scared of fire,” Mr. Russell-Smith said.

As the fires rage in the south, Aboriginal people in northern Australia say they are deeply saddened at the loss of life — about 25 people have been killed and more than 2,000 homes destroyed. But they also express bewilderment that forests were allowed to grow to become so combustible.

Margaret Rawlinson, the daughter of Ms. Lawson, who does preventive burning on her property in the far north, remembers traveling a decade ago to the countryside south of Sydney and being alarmed at fields of long, desiccated grass.

“I was terrified,” Ms. Rawlinson said. “I couldn’t sleep. I said, ‘We need to go home. This place is going to go up, and it’s going to be a catastrophe.’”

The area that she visited, around the town of Nowra, has been a focal point for fires over the past few weeks.

The pioneering defensive burning programs in northern Australia came together in the 1980s and ’90s when Aboriginal groups moved back onto their native lands after having lived in settlements under the encouragement, or in some cases the order, of the government.

Depopulated for decades, the land had suffered. Huge fires were decimating species and damaging rock paintings.

“The land was out of control,” said Dean Yibarbuk, a park ranger whose Indigenous elders encouraged him to seek solutions.

The Aboriginal groups ultimately teamed up with scientists, the government of the Northern Territory and the Houston-based oil company ConocoPhillips, which was building a natural gas facility and was required to find a project that would offset its carbon emissions.

According to calculations by Mr. Edwards, wildfires in northern Australia burned 57 percent fewer acres last year than they did on average in the years from 2000 to 2010, the decade before the program started.

Mr. Yibarbuk, who is now chairman of Warddeken Land Management, one of the largest of the participating organizations, employs 150 Aboriginal rangers, part time and full time.

“We are very lucky in the north to be able to keep our traditional practices,” Mr. Yibarbuk said. “There’s a pride in going back to the country, managing it and making a difference.”


Bruce Pascoe scandal: Yolngu now denounce this 'aboriginal historian', too

Now the Yolngu of Arnhem Land join other Aboriginal groups in denouncing "Aboriginal historian" Bruce Pascoe and his fake history that Aborigines were settled farmers, living in "towns" of "1000 people" with "animal pens. Elder Terry Yumbulul writes:

There are no ancient creation stories in our heritage about Aboriginal settlements and there is no evidence of it in our art, languages or songlines. It would have been impossible for my people to have built wells, silos, houses and yards to pen animals, as Pascoe promotes. Australian indigenous animals are not capable of supporting human settlements and my people had no need to settle in one place because we were content living in harmony with nature and travelling by foot from sacred place to sacred place.

Our people also find it insulting so many prominent Aboriginal leaders have supported Pascoe and his theories. Among them is the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, the Minister for Indigenous Australians who has said he could ask for the resignation of members of his advisory council and continued, 'the Pascoe debate is led by one of our own, which is a pity because it's being played out publicly. It is something that we should deal with within communities.'

Other Aboriginal leaders also support Pascoe's attempt to change our valued Aboriginal culture and histories. Professor Marcia Langton AO said Dark Emu, 'is the most important book on Australia and should be read by every Australian', at the same time she insults Yolnga men and women and other Aboriginal nations. During a recent interview on NTV, Professor Langton reiterated Pascoe's Aboriginal ancestry had been settled years ago and she reaffirmed the credibility of Dark Emu. Many employees of the Indigenous units at our national broadcaster the ABC, SBS and NTV have also supported Pascoe publicly. All of these people should know better.

We are also mystified and hurt by the fact the Commonwealth government appears not to be concerned about Young Dark Emu being distributed to pre school and primary school children. The government also appears unperturbed about Pascoe's promotion of the theory Aboriginal people lived in settlements and practiced Aboriginal agriculture. We are also upset the government does not appear to care about the Pascoe claims and/or acknowledge the fact his claims could affect Aboriginal people and/or cause concerns about our ancient cultures, our ancient traditions, our precious stories, our beliefs and our children.

Our people have asked us to call for an investigation into Bruce Pascoe, his claim to Aboriginal ancestry and the financial benefits he and his businesses have derived from claiming Aboriginal ancestry he has been unable to verify.

The Yolgnu now join Victoria's Boonwurrung Land & Sea Council, the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania and members of the Yuin tribe of NSW in denying Pascoe's claims to be Aboriginal, descended from Boonwurrung, Tasmanian and Yuin tribes. They also deny his claims (promoted by the ABC) that Aborigines were farmers, and not hunter-gatherers.

They are also protesting the ultimate colonisation - where whites now assume Aboriginal identity for themselves, rewrite Aboriginal history and deny Aborigines even the right to determine who is in their tribe.

The Left is cleansing tradition Aboriginal culture and tribes from the records. All this is cheered on by the ABC, the national broadcaster.


Facts blurred in climate coverage

Sobriety and perspective were once two of the valued qualities of serious media who considered themselves above the exaggeration and inflammation — commonly referred to as beat-ups — that they view as the domain of the tabloid or shock media.

Climate change has flipped that around. Nowadays media that would assign themselves the “quality” label while rejecting the accurate “green-left” tag are all about hysteria and twisting facts. Let me start with CNN, whose reporter Will Ripley spent a week or so in Australia reporting mainly on bushfires and weather, including a climate protest.

“They (the protesters) say the planet is dying,” Ripley reported. “And Australia is right on the frontline of this climate crisis: you have the unprecedented bushfires, you have the Great Barrier Reef drying up because of the ozone levels in the atmosphere.”

Oh, dear. Fact-checking goes missing when pushing the alarmist perspective. Only sceptical views tend to be treated with any, well, scepticism, by most media.

The word “unprecedented” has been invoked time and again in order to pretend terrifying events, the likes of which have scarred this nation forever, were something brought newly upon us by climate change.

Early in the season NSW had more emergency level fires on one day than ever before (due to arson, natural events and weather conditions), and on two other days the Sydney area recorded its worst fire conditions, and it has been the worst bushfire season in that state. But it is wrong to claim this is the worst season by any measure for any other state or the nation as a whole.

We could fill pages with such hype. Given the essential facts have been so drastic it seems implausible that anyone would want to embellish the story — but the sensationalism has been, well, perhaps unprecedented.

US ABC news headed a story “Wildfire Apocalypse” and chief meteorologist Ginger Zee said “unprecedented” fires were “consuming” Australia.

Maps on US and UK media had flames all over our continent; we were ablaze coast to coast.

At the BBC, TV host Ros Atkins bought into the sensationalism and Twitter-level political debate full-on: quoting people like Lara (Bingle) Worthington on social media, describing us as the “hottest place in the world” (as, of course, we often are in summer) and showing pictures of Scott Morrison holding a lump of coal.

Atkins along with most journalists in Australia adopted the word “megablaze” or “megafire” to describe the main Blue Mountains fire. This is of a piece with the climate change-induced language tweaks to make weather events sound different to all that preceded them. Storms are now “storm events” and heatwaves “extreme heat events” and so it goes. (The concocted word “megafire” even passed my lips as I read a breaking news update scripted elsewhere and presented live on air.)

But worse than the beat-ups has been the politicisation. Green-left politicians and climate protesters, led by former NSW fire commissioner and global warming activist Greg Mullins, were sowing the seeds before the fire season even began and have used every blaze and even every death to push their policies.

The basis of their concern is not seriously disputed in public debate: that global warming will make bad fire conditions more common in many parts of Australia. But the thrust of their arguments, amplified by compliant media, is based on untruths: claims this fire season is our worst, accusations our government is not acting on climate, inferences our policies can alter global climate and, perhaps worst of all, implicit and false promises that climate policies can ameliorate the annual threat of bushfires.

To avoid sensible arguments about historical context, policy options and global impacts, the green-left media deliberately creates a false dichotomy.

They characterise the argument in Australia as one between climate change reality and climate change denial.

This jaundiced falsification is social media click-bait. On the BBC Atkins used some of my commentary to this end, running a clip of me saying the activists and politicians were using bushfires to advocate policies that “can and will do nothing ever to prevent horror bushfire conditions” in Australia.

Instead of making an argument against this incontestable statement — perhaps by trying to explain how Australia’s policies can change a climate that has produced bushfires for millennia — Atkins falsely insinuated I didn’t accept the science and gave us the intellectually lazy climate science versus denial and inaction case.

He then falsely suggested Australia was not involved in global efforts to lower emissions. This is the inane “white hats versus black hats” level at which media conduct this complex debate.

In another segment Atkins asked London-based Sydney Morning Herald journalist Latika Bourke whether it was “fair to say the very existence of climate change is still an active debate in Australia?”

“Yes,” replied Bourke, “it’s been a very ferocious debate in Australia for about the last decade.” She claimed this debate has split the two major parties; one side accepting science and backing emissions reduction, and the other arguing “climate change, if it is happening at all, is not the fault of human activity”.

This is a mischaracterisation of our political debate where the choice at the last election was between a Coalition promising to meet our Paris climate agreement targets of 26-28 per cent by 2030 and a Labor opposition promising to increase that target to 45 per cent. Neither the science nor the need for multilateral action are in dispute between our major parties, but rather the targets and methods of achieving them.

Bourke then went on to say there was no resolution to the debate, “except what we’re seeing this summer and that is a catastrophic weather event.” Atkins aired another interview with Bourke in which she said: “Australia’s well used to bushfires but this extremity, this intensity, this degree, Australia has not seen before.” Plain wrong.

She went on to say, perhaps second-guessing her own hyperbole: “And these are the worst in living memory.” But, again, this is just wrong. It is only 11 years since the fierce firestorms of Black Saturday in Victoria where hotter temperatures and stronger winds saw 173 lives and thousands of properties lost and, of course, anyone involved in 1983’s Ash Wednesday will not have forgotten those hellish conditions or their toll. If we study the historical reports we know maelstroms descended in 1967, 1939, 1851 and many other times in between.

It is unpleasant to do these comparisons between horrible events. But it is sadly necessary to counter a loose conspiracy of misinformation designed to convince everyone that we have created something new, something more horrible than anyone else has experienced before.

It is of a piece with official edicts by news organisations such as The Guardian to inflame climate coverage by talking of “crisis” and “emergency” instead of climate change. It smacks of fake news generated to pursue green- left political goals. And it is as much of a worry as the climate.


Locals vent their fury as Australian flag is removed from a rural town on January 26 and replaced with an Aboriginal one instead

The Australian flag stands for ALL Australians. There is no warrant for the flag of a small minority to supplant it.

The Australian flag was omitted from Woolgoolga's community flagpole Sunday

A New South Wales town has been accused of being 'unAustralian' after officials omitted the Australian flag from display, flying an Aboriginal one in its place.

Residents of Woolgoolga, in the Mid North Coast, were left outraged on Sunday after they awoke to find the Australian flag was missing from the community flagpole.

Instead, the Indigenous flag had been flying high alongside the Southern Cross flag and three others below it, outside the city's Chamber of Commerce.

Although the flags on the pole are known to change regularly, many locals were particularly miffed officials would omit the Australian flag on the country's national day.

A number of residents took to social media to share their disappointment, while some even contacted their local radio station to complain.

One resident sparked on debate on Facebook after he claimed the move breached the 'ethics of our constitution.'

'This is Australia Day and all other flags must fly under the Australian flag,' he wrote, generating dozens of responses.

'Stupid people forgetting the real reason for Australia Day,' one man commented.

'This is disgusting, very un-Australian you should be ashamed of yourself,' another local said.

One man said he believed the move had been intentional to spark a debate. 'Too many people are deliberately trying to provoke division just so they can then argue that Australia Day is too divisive. This sort of stunt is going to do nothing for unity, and everything to incite extreme prejudices,' he said.

'It's Australia Day and it would be really nice if the Australian flag was the only one flying today...because it is about our country as a whole not divisions of it,' one woman argued.   

The Chamber said the idea to fly the Aboriginal flag this year came from a 'member of the community' who regularly looks after the flagpole, and flying the Australian flag under the Aboriginal flag would have violated protocol.  

'Protocol says that if another flag is at the top, the Australian flag cannot be flown. He has included an assortment of flags flying with it including TSI, the Southern Cross and Ruok flag', Lisa Nichols told Triple M.

Ms Nichols said the Australian flag was on display at the town's visitors information centre.


Female cop quota under investigation

Standards watered down to recruit more women?

AN investigation into alleged female recruiting "irregularities" in the Queensland Police Service is under way, in a bombshell for the organisation which strived for gender equality.

The Courier-Mail has been told physical standards and psychological assessment aspects of the recruiting process are under investigation after the claims. The allegations are under-stood to relate to a period between 2016 and 2018, after the service introduced a 50-50 gender recruitment target.

The Crime and Corruption Commission and QPS are 'investigating the allegations.

To get into the service recruits undergo physical tests, psychological and medical assessments, pass cognitive and reasoning ability assessments and are interviewed by a panel of officers.

Among the physical standards required to enter the service, the QPS has a beep test with minimum entry and exit levels at the academy. When asked if irregularities had been discovered with the female recruiting process, a QPS spokesman confirmed a review into recruiting processes took place last year. "As a result, allegations of irregularities associated with some past police recruiting processes were identified," the spokesman said.

"These allegations are now subject to investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission and QPS Ethical Standards Command "In the meantime, the QPS has put mechanisms in place to ensure confidence in more recent and ongoing recruiting processes."

In 2016, then-commissioner Ian Stewart told HR Sections of QPS to aim for a 50-50 recruitment target. At the start of 2017, the ratio of officers and recruits in the QPS was about 265-735. In September, 2017, Mr Stewart said it was becoming difficult to reach the 50-50 recruitment goal but ordered standards not be lowered. "We are not moving any standards. We know that we have large numbers Of female recruits that do meet that standard, so what we're trying to do is encourage more women to come in the front end so we have a larger pool," he said at the time.

Between the 2016-17 and 2019-20 financial years, 558 women and 653 men have been sworn in. Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the union had always insisted. on "clear, transparent, and merit-based recruit selection". "The best.people for the job. should always be chosen rather than people being chosen because Of quotas," he said. "As long as all recruits selected on merit meet the minimum standard and competency, a person's gender is irrelevant"

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 18 January, 2020

 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

Monday, January 27, 2020

The science behind climate change and its impact on bushfires (?)

I rather enjoyed this article, long-winded though it is.  Prof. Karoly is an old global warming warrior from way back so he has had a long time to perfect his arguments for global warming and, in the version of his talk below, he does present a much more detailed case than one usually encounters.

All of the assertions below are however unreferenced and most have been challenged many times.  And as is normal in Leftist writing, there is no mention of any of the facts which are contrary to his case.  The article leaves out almost all of the many facts which tend to contradict the global warming hypothesis.  Such argumentation is of course completely unscholarly and identifies the article as propaganda only.

Prof Karoly's scientific background does however show in a number of useful ways so it is a pity that such a long article will remain mostly unread -- as there are a number of basic scientific points below that Warmists would do well to note.

The one that stands out most below is his perfectly correct and perfectly basic point that global warming CANNOT explain Australia' drought or any other drought.  Anybody who has watched a kettle boil will know that heating water causes it to give off water vapour so warming the oceans will also give off more water vapour -- and that comes down again as rain.  So a warmer world would be a wetter world.  So, if anything, drought proves that global warming is NOT going on. 

So in his words on the drought, Prof. Karoly contradicts the claims made by almost all Warmists.  There will be much reaching for indigestion remedies by almost all Warmists who read those of his words.

What Prof. Karoly leaves out:

It's hard to believe but in an article that is allegedly about bushfires, there is no mention of the biggest influence on the fires:  Fuel accumulation in the form of fallen branches and leaves.  Without fuel, there would be no fires. If it's not about global warming he doesn't want to know about it, apparently.

If only for the sake of argument, most climate skeptics are prepared to concede that atmospheric CO2 has SOME warming effect. The dispute is about its magnitude.  Is the warming effect large or is it utterly trivial?  The Warmists have little more than assertions for their claim that it is large.  There are, on the other hand, both theoretical and empirical reasons to say that the effect is trivial.

On the theoretical side, the fact that CO2 forms much less than one percent of the atmosphere should indicate that any effect from it will be trivial.  More importantly, however,  a heated atmospheric molecule will radiate heat in ALL directions, not just downwards towards the earth. And the higher up the molecule is, the less heat from it will hit the earth.  Rather than seeing heated CO2 molecules as a blanket or a greenhouse roof, a better analogy for their effect would be a bucket with a small hole in it.  Only what gets through the hole hits the earth.

But all theories must be tested against the facts so what are the facts?  The most basic fact is that over the last 150 years or so we have experienced only about one degree Celsius of warming.  Is that trivial?  If you walked from one room into another where the temperatures in the two rooms differed by only one degree you would not normally notice anything.  You would need an instrument to detect the difference.  So I think "trivial" is an excellent word for that difference.

But a much less impressionistic piece of evidence for the triviality of CO2 induced warming is also available.  If CO2 has the effect hypothesized and the effect is large, we should notice increased warming every time the CO2 levels rise.  But that is not remotely true.  Increases in CO2 mostly have no noticeable warming effect.  CO2 levels can shoot up with absolutely no discernable effect on global temperatures.

Perhaps the most striking example of that is the "grand hiatus". For 30 years between 1945 and 1975, CO2 levels leapt but global temperatures remained flat. See here.  How come?  CO2 molecules don't have a little computer inside them telling them to take a holiday from emitting heat.  They emit heat all the time. So if they were emitting heat from 1945 to 1975, that heat must have been tiny in amount, so tiny as to be undetectable.

Greenies say that "special factors" explain the failure of temperature to change in accordance with rising CO2 levels.  But what special factor could exactly cancel out the effect of CO2 for 30 years? It's an absurdity.

30 years of no effect would be notable in itself but 1945 is supposed to  be the year in which anthropogenic global warming began -- with all the postwar reconstruction.  The 1945 to 1975 period is a critical test of the global warming theory -- and it fails that test utterly.

So it takes only a few basic facts to show that Prof. Karoly's pontifications are a castle built on sand

Charis Chang reports:

When considering the science around climate change, one expert believes it’s useful to compare it to another famous hypothesis – the theory of gravity.

Not many people would think to cast doubt on the theory of gravity, and according to Professor David Karoly, who leads the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub in the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program at CSIRO, the evidence that human activity is causing global warming is so strong it is equal to this theory.

“The theory on the human impact on climate change is just as strong, or stronger, than the scientific basis for the theory of gravity,” Prof Karoly told

Prof Karoly said that there was also evidence climate change was a factor in recent devastating bushfires in Australia.

Prof Karoly will explain the science at a free public lecture as part of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute 2020 Summer School public lecture in Melbourne on Wednesday, January 29. His speech will also be streamed online.

When we talk about science, Prof Karoly believes it’s helpful to remember we are not talking about “beliefs”.

Science is in fact a process that tests a hypothesis to provide conclusions about the way nature works.

Not convinced? Here’s the science.

Some say the world’s climate has always changed and in the past there have been ice ages and warmer glacial periods, which is true.

The difference is whether humans have caused the changes.

We know that humans could not have had any influence on the past ice ages for example, because there were no humans on the planet.

So how do we know that the climate changes now are due to human activity?

Prof Karoly said there were two approaches.

The first approach involves examining “observational data”. If we want to identify long-term trends we need to look at data collected over a wide area and across at least 30 years.

To figure out why the Earth is warming, there are some logical factors to look at first.

The main things that impact the Earth’s climate are sunlight from the sun, how it is absorbed in the atmosphere and how energy is lost from Earth and sent into space.

One thing that can impact the amount of sunlight we get includes the amount of clouds, ice and snow because they all reflect sunlight, making it cooler.

However, greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere can also affect temperatures. These gases make the planet hotter because they absorb heat radiation from the Earth and prevent this from being released into space as quickly.

Greenhouse gases can include carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour. “When greenhouse gases increase, the surface temperature of the Earth increases,” Prof Karoly said.

So what does the data tell us about these factors?


Analysis of air bubbles from ice cores trapped in ice in Greenland and Antarctica showed that over the last 10,000 years, carbon dioxide varied a small amount, hovering around 280 and 290 parts per million.

But if you look at the last 150 years, it’s a different story. Carbon dioxide now sits at 400 parts per million.

“This has increased by more than 40 per cent,” Prof Karoly said.

“It is higher than at any time in the last 10,000 years. In fact, it’s higher than any time in the last million years.”

“So that suggests … something weird is happening.”

Prof Karoly said you had to go back more than three million years to find a time when carbon dioxide was around 400 parts per million.

“Three million years ago when carbon dioxide was higher, temperatures were more than two degrees warmer and sea levels were more than 10 metres higher,” he said.

Humans were not around three million years ago so they can’t be blamed for the high amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

So what was cause of these higher levels of carbon dioxide?

Some experts have suggested the carbon dioxide was actually being released from the ocean.

“A warmer ocean can’t absorb as much carbon dioxide,” Prof Karoly said. “As it heats up, it can’t hold as much carbon and this is released into the atmosphere.”

However, the type of carbon dioxide the ocean releases is different to that released by burning fossil fuels and land clearing.

Prof Karoly said the carbon dioxide has a different chemical composition so scientists are able to distinguish between the two.

“Carbon dioxide released from the ocean doesn’t use up oxygen,” Prof Karoly said.

Over the last 40 years, scientists have been able to monitor the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere and the fall in oxygen has exactly matched the increase in carbon dioxide that you would expect if it was coming from the burning of fossil fuels and decomposition of vegetation from land clearing.

“What we now know, is that the increase to carbon is not natural, it’s due to human activity, from the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing,” Prof Karoly said.

This is not just a theory, it is based on “observational evidence”, that is, scientists have data that shows the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is coming from fossil fuels and land clearing.


We can also look at other observational data to help strengthen the theory.

If the Earth was warming up because of increasing sunlight, then you would expect temperatures during the day to increase and for it to be cooler at night (because there is no sun at night!).

However, what scientists found is that nights were actually warming up more so than days.

This points to greenhouse gases playing a role.

As noted above, greenhouse gases trap heat radiation from the Earth and stop it from being released into space as quickly.

This effect can be seen for example, on nights with more clouds, which don’t cool down as much as there is more water vapour in the atmosphere.

In contrast, deserts are more cool at night because there is not as much water vapour over these areas, and it’s a similar story in coastal areas.

So if nights are warming up more than days, it’s unlikely that the sun is playing a role in this, it’s more likely that greenhouse gases are trapping heat on Earth and pushing up temperatures.

Scientists have also looked at temperatures in the Earth’s stratosphere, which is the layer of the atmosphere from about 10km up.

The stratosphere warms because the ozone layer it contains absorbs the sun’s ultraviolent radiation.

If there was more sunlight, you would expect the upper atmosphere to warm up because it was absorbing more ultraviolet rays.

But if there was an increase in greenhouse gases then you would expect the stratosphere to be cooler because carbon dioxide is efficient, not only at absorbing heat radiation but also at releasing it into space, cooling it down.

“Observations have shown that the surface and lower atmosphere have warmed, and the upper atmosphere has cooled in the last 50 years — the entire time we’ve been monitoring it through balloons and other satellites,” Prof Karoly said.

“This pattern of temperature change has happened everywhere and cannot be explained by increasing sunlight,” he said. “And it’s been getting stronger, which is exactly what you would expect from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”


The first approach to looking at climate change is “observational data” but you can also use complex mathematical models of the climate system.

Around the world, Prof Karoly said more than 50 complex climate models had been developed to test climate theories on a larger scale.

While some may question how scientists could simulate the climate when they can’t forecast the weather over long periods of time, Prof Karoly said it was because the climate models looked at levels of radiation, which determine long-term climate.

“Models solve physical equations for the absorption and transmission of radiation in the atmosphere, and for the motion of the air, and for the motions of the ocean,” he said.

These simulations have shown that without human influences there would not be any long-term warming trend.

Temperatures would have stayed pretty much the same with only two-tenths of a degree of warming.

Instead the world has warmed by 1.1 degrees and the warming over Australia has been even higher than the global average, at 1.5 degrees.

This is because land warms up faster than the ocean.


So how does this relate to the catastrophic bushfires that have raged across Australia in recent months?

Higher mean temperatures give rise to a greater chance of heatwaves and hot extremes, Prof Karoly said.

“We have good observational data of the current summer and the last 50 years,” he said.

“There have been marked increases in heatwaves and hot days in all parts of Australia.”

Australia experienced its hottest and driest year on record in 2019 and December 2019 had a number of Australia’s hottest days ever recorded.

“We have also seen increases in sea levels, exactly what you would expect from climate change and the warming of ocean waters and melting of ice sheets and glaciers on land.”

When it comes to the intensity of bushfires, Prof Karoly said there are certain factors that were known to be important.

The McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index was developed to measure the degree of fire danger in Australian forests and the likelihood they will occur.

It combines factors including the temperature of air, wind speed, the dryness of the air (measured by relative humidity) and the dryness of the fuel and the ground (measured by rainfall over the previous month).

“So the combination of high temperatures, strong winds, low humidity and no rainfall leads to extreme fire danger,” Prof Karoly said.

These were exactly the conditions experienced in NSW and southern Queensland in September and October where there were record high temperatures and low humidity.

These conditions were also experienced in Canberra, coastal NSW and particularly East Gippsland in Victoria, which was why there was extreme fire danger in these areas.

The next question is whether climate change caused these conditions.

Prof Karoly says climate change has led to higher temperatures, as discussed above, but it’s unlikely it had a major role in the drought conditions.

He said if the rainfall in 2019 was related to climate change you would expect wetter conditions in northern Australia, not the record dry year experienced in 2019.

Climate change has also been linked with the long-term rainfall in the cool season in south-east Australia.

Prof Karoly believes the drought in 2019 may actually be due to “natural variations” and the “Indian Ocean Dipole”.

The IOD refers to the seesawing temperatures in the Indian Ocean, with colder waters closer to northern Australia and hotter waters closer to Africa.

There were also changes in wind patterns in the south of Australia and over Victoria and NSW, which led to stronger westerly winds that reduced the rainfall over the NSW coast and East Gippsland, where the worst fires and conditions have been.

Prof Karoly believes it was the stronger westerly winds and the Indian Ocean Dipole that ramped up the fire intensity, however, this was combined with the extreme temperatures caused by climate change, sparking Australia’s deadly fire season.

“So it was a combination of natural climate variability and climate change,” he said.


Vital hazard reduction burns were stopped before Australia's deadly bushfire crisis due to residents complaining about poor air quality

Firefighters have revealed they were forced to cancel or delay hazard reduction burns in critical areas due to residents complaining about the smoke.

During the winter and autumn months the NSW Rural Fire Service deliberately burns parts of the bush to reduce the fuel load ahead of summer.

But several burns were stopped or cut short to keep air quality levels from deteriorating.

The elderly, infants and those with asthma often struggle with the thick smoke from the fires.

NSW RFS spokesman Inspector Ben Shepherd told the Daily Telegraph that public health was an important consideration. 

'We speak with National Parks weekly during the hazard reduction season about the burns planned and the impact of smoke,' Mr Shepherd said.

'We look to see if we can change the lighting pattern to reduce the smoke impact.

Mr Shepherd said unpredictable weather can make directing the smoke very challenging.

Air quality issues played a key role in reducing the size of a burnoff in Bowen Mountain, an hour west of Sydney, which later lost several homes to the roaring Grose Valley fire.

More burns were reduced for air quality reasons in Putty, an area near Gospers Mountain which was consumed by a 'mega blaze' that went on to burn an area seven times the size of Singapore.

Other burns at Wiseman's Ferry, Ku-ring-gai Chase, Dural, Pennant Hills and Hawkesbury were postponed.

It comes after revelations that a Independent Hazard Reduction Audit Panel report recommended the government increase hazard reduction burning in 2013. 

The report said that while it was not a solution, hazard reduction would be an critical tool in fighting bushfires going forward.

'Increases in fuel reduction will be required to counteract increasing risk that is likely to arise from climate change,' it said.


Why I’m looking forward to celebrating Australia Day

Some Australians are tired of the constant protests that surround Australia Day. Some just want to celebrate their country and not be shamed for it.

Corrine Barraclough

When I first arrived in Australia 10 years ago, I’d never heard of Australia Day.

There was a lot of chatter in the office about what everyone was up to, talk of family gatherings, BBQs, fireworks, parties, yummy food and a real sense of pride in country.

We don’t have an “England Day”. There is no day when everyone comes together, waves flags and feels proud (that’s not connected to the royals).

Quite simply, Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. I loved the simplicity of that.

Australia Day is for all Australians; no matter where we’re originally from and it felt overwhelmingly inclusive.

I find it incredibly sad that now, years down the track, debate around our special, national day only seems to grow increasingly negative as time ticks by.

Anyone who calls it “Invasion Day” is looking to promote disunity. Anyone who calls it “Survival Day” is missing out on the warmth this day offers. There’s even talk about “paying rent” for stolen land.

There doesn’t need to be any controversy, angry hash tags or vitriol spat on social media. It’s meant to be a day of solidarity, peace, celebration and pride.

Australia Day is, of course, each year on 26 January and celebrates the arrival of the First Fleet of British on Australian soil.

Australia was not invaded – it was settled. There was no warfare, no organised military resistance or conflict. The First Fleet came here with convicts in chains; it was not an invasion force. Certainly, starting a new chapter doesn’t mean everything that’s gone before is forgotten.

There are records of celebrating Australia Day dating back to 1808.

Now, it’s a public holiday across all states and territories.

Doesn’t everyone love a public holiday? Doesn’t everyone look forward to an extra day off work?

And yet, here we are in 2020, and furious protesters are waiting in the wings, ready to preach their religion of division.

If you’re looking to find evidence of “oppression”, you will always be able to find it.

If you’re looking for opportunities to divide rather than bring people together, you will always find them.

If you’re seeking to shout about “shame”, you should take off your blinkers.

Australia is a wonderful country filled with caring, thoughtful, compassionate people. Just look at the incredible response to the bushfire crisis for proof of that.

This is not a racist country – and no one should feel “shame” for looking forward to celebrating this weekend.

This year, more than ever, we should be coming together.

Much as activists like to screech otherwise, the vast majority of people want to keep Australia Day on January 26 – and they want to celebrate freely.

A new poll from the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) found that 75 per cent of Australians support Australia Day on January 26.

This is a huge number, especially considering the constant, monotonous and vocal efforts of the political left and pockets of mainstream media to oppose our national day.

The “woke” bullies with an agenda of bitterness have failed to divide us; that makes me even more proud. Perhaps I shall wave two flags.

“Mainstream Australians are fundamentally optimistic and positive about Australia and its values,” said IPA Foundations of Western Civilisation Program director Dr Bella d’Abrera.

The survey found 88 per cent of people were “proud to be an Australian”, with only 3 per cent disagreeing.

Only 10 per cent of Australians think the date should be changed. They will, no doubt, be the ones covered in glue this weekend.

On Sunday there are protests planned for “Invasion Day 2020” across the country, including Parliament House in Melbourne.

Perhaps we may see some familiar faces from other protests this year and some of the same loudmouths gluing themselves to the road in protest.

Its just noise, whether they’re screaming about “climate justice” or “invasion justice”.

People are sick of these disrupters.

The police should not be battling to maintain law and order against feral left-wing agitators. Their aim is to “burn down Australia”.

We’re in the middle of a bushfire crisis for god’s sake; no wonder most people aren’t on-board with the madness.

No, it doesn’t make me “selfish” for celebrating.

Nor does it make me “insecure”.

No, I’m not “ashamed”.

No, I don’t want to talk about “enslavement”.

And no, caring about Australia Day does not mean that I don’t care about the future of Aboriginal communities. Far from it.

I repeat: The majority of mainstream Australians are proud, they’ll be celebrating and if you’re not part of that, you’re simply a tiny, resentful fringe minority.


How 'Happy Australia Day' became an offensive term

Wishing somebody a 'Happy Australia Day' could be determined as offensive, according to advocates in the indigenous community. 

Kado Muir, who is a leading advocate for Aboriginal culture, heritage and awareness said the phrase was an 'ignorant gesture', reported in 2019. He said the annual debate, which has been reignited in 2020, brings sadness to his heart.

'This issue is extremely divisive and sensitive to all Australians,' Mr Muir said. 'I know White Australia is guilty and fragile. I know Black Australia is broken and angry.' 

He called on Australians to rise above the 'base destructive emotions' in the debate and instead shift focus onto the aspects that unite the country.

Leading Aboriginal campaigner Cheree Toka said many people traded in the term 'Australia Day' for 'Survival Day'. She said the national day of commemoration on January 26 was a sad day for First Nations people.

She said she saw the raising of the Australian flag as the moment Aboriginal history and culture was threatened.

The 28-year-old has been pushing for the Aboriginal flag to be flown atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge all year round.

As it stands, the flag is flown for 18 days a year, of which one of those days is on Australia Day.

Despite the 105,000-strong petition to raise the flag permanently, Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian has stood firmly against pressure.

Thousands of Australians are expected to protest the national holiday as Australia Day celebrations kick off today.

January 26 marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the 'First Fleet' to Sydney Cove, carrying mainly convicts and troops from Britain.

For many indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 50,000 years, it is 'Invasion Day', the start of Britain's colonisation of Aboriginal lands and their brutal subjugation.

'Celebrating Australia Day on January 26th is offensive,' said Joe Williams, a mental health worker and former professional rugby league player. 'To celebrate an invasion which has seen our people dispossessed, displaced and oppressed for some 230 years, is plain offensive,' he told Reuters.

Australia's 700,000 or so indigenous people track near the bottom of its 25 million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator.

While opinion polls suggest up to half the country supports changing Australia Day, the conservative government is under pressure to legally entrench Jan. 26 as a national holiday.

'We should keep the 26th of January as a special day in our calendar,' said Nick Folkes, a painter from Sydney. 'It means respect and acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by explorers, settlers, our convicts,' he added.


 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