Friday, March 06, 2020

Study shows climate change link to devastating 2019/20 Australian bushfire season

There is no way these attribution studies can prove anything.  To make judgments of cause and effect you need the same events to be repeated several times but this never happen with climate.  It is always changing

One comment below is admirably frank:  "We found that climate models struggle to reproduce these extreme events and their trends realistically"

Need I say more?

This bushfire season has been the worst on record, but what elements of it are fact and what has been distorted by myth.
Climate change did play a part in Australia’s devastating 2019 bushfire season as it has increased the chances of extreme temperatures by at least 30 per cent, a new study shows.

The eight-week study from World Weather Attribution (WWA), an international collaboration that analyses the effect of climate change on extreme weather events, found a strong link between climate change and hotter-than-normal conditions in Australia during the time of the 2019/20 fires.

Last year was the warmest and driest year in Australia since temperature and rainfall records began in 1910 and 1900, and it follows two other dry years in large parts of the country.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement 2019, these conditions contributed to a more widespread and intense fire season that started earlier in the season than usual. Other factors included a strong Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annual Mode.

The WWA study looked at what caused the high temperatures and prolonged dry conditions between September to February, to see if they could be linked to climate change.

While they couldn’t link climate change to the drought, it did find a 30 per cent increase in the likelihood of high temperatures.

As climate-heating emissions continue to increase, “We will be facing these extreme conditions more often than in the past,” said Maarten van Aalst, a climate scientist and director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. “Should we be worried about this? Yes, very,” he told journalists.

The study also suggested that scientific models may be vastly underestimating the impacts of rising temperatures.

“We found that climate models struggle to reproduce these extreme events and their trends realistically,” Professor Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute said.

“However, they always underestimate the increase in chances for extreme fire risks such as Australia saw in the last few months.

“This means we know the effect is likely larger than 30 per cent increase lower bound, which is already a significant influence of global warming.”

The high temperatures and prolonged dry conditions resulted in unprecedented bushfire activity across the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and in the Australian Capital Territory.

The 2019/20 bushfires burned more than 11 million hectares – an area larger than Ireland or South Korea – destroyed nearly 6000 buildings and killed at least 34 people and an estimated 1.5 billion animals.

The economic costs of the fires could reach $100 billion, according to separate analyses.

“Climate change is now part of Australia’s landscape,” Dr Sophie Lewis of the University of New South Wales said.

“Extreme heat is clearly influenced by human-caused climate change, which can influence fire conditions. There is evidence that Australian fire seasons have lengthened and become more intense, and extreme temperatures have played a role in this.

“Climate change contributed to the fires and extreme heat we lived through in southeastern Australia.”

A week of hot temperatures, like that experienced in southeast Australia in December 2019, was 10 times less likely in 1900 than it is now, while heatwaves like the one in Australia in 2019/20 are already hotter by 1-2°C than they were around 1900.

Dr Friederike Otto of Oxford University said the study was not an ultimate answer to the question of how climate change was impacting things like fire but did confirm it was an important driver locally.

“We need to continue to test our models in the real world to improve them so we can provide higher confidence risk information at the scales where people live and make decisions.”

Researchers from Australia, Europe and the United States carried out the analysis under the World Weather Attribution project, which provides rapid scientific evidence on how much climate change is fuelling extreme weather events.

The group has so far conducted more than 230 such studies, linking last year’s record-breaking heatwave in France and extreme rainfall during Tropical Storm Imelda in Texas, for instance, to climate change.

Not all the events analysed show a connection to global warming.

But the researchers said devastating fire seasons will be at least four times more common in Australia than they were in 1900 if global average temperatures rise 2C above pre-industrial times.

Temperatures have already heated up by a little over 1C, and the world is on track for at least 3C of warming even if all countries meet their commitments to cut emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.


Ballarat Christian College settles case with former teacher Rachel Colvin over same-sex beliefs

Ballarat Christian College has settled with a former teacher who claimed its teachings against same-sex marriage discriminated against her, with principal Ken Nuridin saying the case has taken an enormous toll on his small school.

Rachel Colvin’s case against the school has been held up by faith-based communities as a key example of the need for a religious discrimination act following the 2017 same-sex marriage post survey.

As a result of the settlement, Ballarat Christian College in Victoria will not have to change its Statement of Faith defining marriage as a union between a man and woman and it has made no concessions on those teachings.

The Australian understands Ms Colvin will receive an undisclosed amount for loss of income and damages and will receive a positive employment reference from Ballarat Christian College.

Scott Morrison’s religious discrimination bill is still to be tabled in parliament after drafts have come under sustained attacks from both faith-based and LGBTI groups.

Mr Nuridin told The Australian that the school would continue to stand by its teachings on marriage. Ballarat Christian College principal Ken Nuridin.
“Our College provides a high quality Christian education in accordance with our beliefs,” he said.

“The claim has taken an enormous cost in time and resources already – detracting from the ability of a small school like ours to focus on what is important, the education of our students”

Christian Schools Australia director of public policy Mark Spencer said the government needed to bring on its religious discrimination bill to protect schools like Ballarat Christian College.

“We are calling on the Commonwealth Government to ensure that the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill clearly protects Christian schools from these sort of claims,” he said.

“Christian and other faith-based schools must be able to engage staff who share their beliefs and are equipped to teach those beliefs” he said.

The Australian Christian Lobby said the case showed the need for increased protections for faith-based schools and ACL chief political officer Dan Flynn called on the government to bring forward its final bill.

“The sad reality for this school is that it took steadfast determination not to buckle under the pressure of a well-resourced legal attack,” he said.

“To the school’s credit, under great duress, they stood by their principles.”

“This case underlines how the religious freedom debate must make faith-based schools’ legal rights crystal clear.

“The ACL calls upon the government to ensure a case like Ballarat Christian College never happens again.”

Following same sex marriage being legalised in December 2017, the school amended its Statement of Faith through its constitution outlining its position on marriage.

The teacher formally notified the school of her objections to the statement in a letter on August 14, and was directed to meet with the chaplain and a female member of the school leadership to discuss her views.

The college indicated she was free to hold her views personally but was required to support and teach in accordance with the beliefs of the school, which Ms Colvin was allegedly unwilling to do.

As well as the positive reference for Mrs Colvin, the payout, and the school’s secured right to keep teaching against same-sex marriage; the parties will issue a statement of ‘mutual regret’. The Australian has contacted Ms Colvin’s lawyers Clayton Utz and LGBTI rights group Equality Australia, which backed the former teacher’s case.


Olympic hero Tamsyn Lewis questions the fairness of transgender athletes competing in women's sports - and says many don't speak out because of political correctness

Three-time Australian Olympian Tamsyn Lewis has questioned the fairness of transgender athletes being allowed to compete in women's sport.

The 41-year-old said there are too many unknowns regarding transgender and transitioning athletes to create a level playing field in women's competition.

The three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist told 2GB radio it was a politically charged and sensitive topic that many did not want to address. 'There's been a lot of people who are scared to come out and say anything because of political correctness,' she said.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic games will see a number of transgender competitors, with the IOC rules forcing female competitors to remain below testosterone guidelines to compete as women.

Lewis believes the guidelines don't factor in the physical advantage of growing up and going through puberty as a male.

'If you've grown up a male and had testosterone your bone structure is different to the female, your upper body strength is going to remain, you've got greater lung capacity a larger heart size, there's too many unknowns about how much going through puberty and being born a male is going to effect your result,' she said.

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will compete at the Tokyo Olympics and was born a male named Gavin    +4
New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will compete at the Tokyo Olympics and was born a male named Gavin

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard and Brazilian volleyball player Tiffany Abreu will be among the transgender athletes to compete at Tokyo.

2GB host Ben Fordham argued Hubbard had an obvious physical advantage compared to the rest of her field, prompting Lewis to question whether the female category would remain fair with increasing transgender participants.

'If we don't take a stand, what's going to happen to the female category of sport?,' she said.

'You don't want to get to the point where we haven't tackled this issue head on and in a respectful manner, that in 20 years time we're seeing our kids grow up and compete in sports that they just actually can't win.'


Senate overstepped its position with attack on Bettina Arndt

To describe Bettina Arndt’s comments about the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children as abhorrent would be a grievous understatement. But it is hard not to feel uncomfortable about the Senate motion that called for the removal of her Order of Australia.

It is true that senator Jonathon Duniam, supporting the motion on behalf of the government senators, stressed the independence of the Council for the Order of Australia, and underlined that “it’s important that this motion is not seen as directing the council of the Order of Australia, whose independent deliberations must be ­respected”.

But it is undeniable that the motion’s purpose was precisely to urge the council to strip Arndt of the Order of Australia.

And it is equally undeniable that losing the Order of Australia is a severe and humiliating form of punishment that is typically inflicted by the council only when a member of the order has been found by a court to have committed a serious offence.

To that extent, the motion came perilously close, in spirit if not in legal effect, to a bill of attainder, seeking to impose, by legislative means, a punishment on a specified individual for an action committed in the past.

Bills of attainder are prohibited by the US constitution as an indefensible attack on individual liberties; and while the Australian Constitution lacks similar protections, the High Court found in Polyukhovich v Commonwealth (1991) that such a bill would contravene Chapter III of the Constitution, which requires judicial powers to be exercised by courts, and not by the legislature.

Arndt was not represented in the Senate when it debated and passed the motion; she was not given a reasonable opportunity to argue against the punishment with which she was being threatened. Nor did the Senate carefully consider the motion’s possible ­implications, instead falling into a troubling near-unanimity.

Proposed and accepted in the heat of the moment, the Senate process was far removed from any notion of prudent and responsible deliberation. The result is that the Senate has placed the Council for the Order of Australia in an extraordinarily difficult position: whatever decision it comes to will inevitably be tainted by the pressure that motion puts on it.

To make matters worse, Arndt’s offence was plainly that she expressed views that are widely (and rightly) considered to be appalling.

Now, there may be occasions on which it is appropriate for the Senate to condemn particular opinions; but very few decisions should be regarded with greater suspicion than those that use the machinery of parliament to brand individual citizens as heretics. Pushed, as they so readily are, to the point of making conformity with the opinions of the majority both a duty and a necessity, those decisions risk destroying that margin of freedom that gives democratic life its substance and its endless possibility for advance.

At a time when the true believers are everywhere on the march, demanding that any opposing ­voices be suppressed, one might have hoped a party that calls itself Liberal would, before setting so dangerous a precedent, remember the biblical admonition that the sword of power, once it is unleashed, “devours sometimes one way and sometimes another”.

That none of that seems to have troubled the overwhelming majority of senators merely highlights the deeply illiberal spirit of the age.

It was, after all, the great achievement of the Renaissance humanists, and of their successors in the Enlightenment, to take opinion, however despicable it may be, out of authority’s stifling clutches.

From Plato’s Republic, which distinguished mere belief from ortho doxa — correct opinion, elevated into an orthodoxy by the wise — to St Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, which concluded that opinion not sanctioned by the church was inherently corrupt, it had invariably been held that the only legitimate beliefs were those authority had endorsed, or at least not condemned.

It was therefore truly revolutionary when that logic was turned completely on its head. Immanuel Kant, in articulating his “principle of publicity”, expressed the change with considerable force: it was not authority, he argued, that determined which opinions had merit; on the contrary, it was the free play of opinions, expressed without fear or favour in the public sphere, that alone could determine whether particular ideas deserved being deemed authoritative.

As he put it in the Critique of Pure Reason: “The sole touchstone whereby we can decide whether our holding a thing to be true is conviction or mere persuasion is the possibility of communicating it to others and of finding it to be valid for all human reason.”

As a result, regardless of whether opinions are commendable or detestable, “the public use and expression of one’s reason must always be untrammelled, as it alone can bring about enlightenment among men”.

To instead allow authority to determine which opinions were acceptable, and which were not, forced society into a form of self-imposed immaturity, from which it could never grow up.

That immaturity might well be more tolerable than was the arbitrary rule of the ancient tyrants, but it was no less pernicious; by making it unnecessary for individuals to develop the courage to trust their own judgment — rather than relying on that of the state, their neighbours, or the crowd in the street — it was the means by which “despotism perpetuates ignorance and ignorance perpetuates despotism”.

To say that is not to imply that the Senate has opened the gates to a descent into despotism. But watching the mobs on the internet baying for Arndt’s blood, it was hard not to be reminded of Norbert Elias, the great scholar of late medieval civilisation, who wrote on the basis of his experience of inter-war Europe that while going from barbarism to civility takes centuries, it took only minutes to go the other way.

We expect the Senate to calm those passions, setting bounds on conflict and preventing the furies from getting out of hand. Today, however, our politics all too often does the opposite, transforming every issue into a morality play that invites posturing and rewards intransigence.

By descending into what amounts to public shaming and extrajudicial punishment, the ­Senate has exacerbated that trend, compromising both the Australian honours system and its own ­reputation.

Australia’s Senate is now among the world’s oldest. As public trust in our democratic institutions plummets, it would be a pity if Australians had to celebrate the Senate’s 120th anniversary by hurling at it the reproach Shakespeare’s fool hurls at King Lear: “Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.”

Unfortunately, after this week’s vote, they may have good reason to do exactly that.


The great toilet paper crisis

Message from Woolworths -- email

I’d like to update you on the shortages we’re seeing in toilet paper and other essential items.

As you may have read, or seen for yourself, these are unusual and challenging times. We know it can be frustrating when we don’t have the products you need, or when delivery or Pick up windows are filled more than usual.

We’re working very closely with our suppliers to get products onto shelves as quickly as we can. The makers of Kleenex, Sorbent, Quilton and Woolworths own range of toilet paper have all increased their production to meet this very unusual demand.

For example, the makers of Kleenex are now manufacturing 24 hours, 7 days a week at their Millicent, SA factory, as are Sorbent in their NSW and Victorian facilities. And the makers of Quilton have tripled their normal production across their factories in Queensland, NSW and WA.

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of products aren’t affected and most stores aren’t seeing significant shortages. But to make sure everyone has access to essential items, we’ve introduced some common-sense limits to a few products. We’ve limited toilet paper to 4 packs per transaction and large packs of rice (2kg and over) to 1 per transaction. Where available, hand sanitiser is now at the Customer Service Desk and limited to 2 per transaction.

We’re constantly monitoring the situation and will do our best to keep all products freely available to everyone. However, if we see new shortages, we may introduce other limits. We’ll only do this if we think it’s absolutely necessary and to help make sure all customers can access the products they need. We’ll keep you updated in our stores and on our website as things change.

Our team members are doing the very best they can, so please support them, and each other.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this together.

Brad Banducci, CEO Woolworths Group

 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

1 comment:

Paul said...

I'm wondering a bit about toilet paper possibilities.

1. Is it the new baby formula and more a reflection of domestic Chinese shortages?

2. The capitals in particular, being overrun with vibrant diversity from zones familiar with war and shortages amid deprivation, are seeing that the newer arrivals are acting on their past experience?

3. or is everyone just shi**ing themselves?