typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Posts Tagged ‘climate change

Even more reasons to love Bjork

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And if you don’t already love Bjork, you need to shut the f$%k up and go listen to your Lady Gaga bull$#!t.

According to this article from the New York Times, Bjork is launching an Icelandic venture capital fund, with about $1 million already invested as seed capital. The fund will invest in promising new environmental technologies as a response to both climate change and the financial crisis which has more or less completely inhaled Iceland’s banking system and economy.

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December 24, 2008 at 11:52 am

Juicy behind the scenes rumours from US election

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Sorry for the sleazy title, but if you’ve got such a problem with it, how did you end up here?

Turns out that Newsweak (NOT a typo) has been running a little project via its journalists, gathering anything not-fit-for-print or off-the-record pre-election to release post-election.

Genii.

Although it’s quite hilarious to read that Sarah Palin couldn’t grasp that Africa is a “continent” rather than a “country”, the eye-catching bit of awesomeness is a comment from Obama, in which he (rightly) derides the debate stage show.

When he was preparing for the Democratic primary debates, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.

Apart from it being reassuring to know that Obama uses the F word, how on-the-money is that assessment of feelgood new age greenness. Lovin’ it. Gobama!

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November 6, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Emissions trading: Greens Senator Bob Brown takes aim at Cadbury…?

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This just in from Bloomberg, one of the most useful American-based sources of international market-related news.

July 9 (Bloomberg) — Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens party that now holds the balance of power in the Senate, will push for the government to cut greenhouse gases by 90 percent by 2050.

The five Greens Senators will push for deeper emissions cuts and a tougher carob trading system, Brown said. The government has vowed to cut gases by 60 percent by 2050 and has not yet set short-term targets.

It’s not yet clear what climate science says about the impact of eating chocolate substitutes.

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July 9, 2008 at 5:47 pm

G8 agree climate goal: almost nothing better than absolutely nothing?

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News has just come in from Japan that leaders of the G8 have agreed in broad terms to aim for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

At last year’s summit in Germany they agreed to seriously consider a plan to cut greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent by the middle of this century.

Today they have agreed to that goal as a shared vision, and to press other nations to also adopt the target.

Is this a good thing?

Do the biggest emitters, and therefore biggest contributors to global warming, deserve a pat on the back for agreeing to think about the possibility of making their massive future profits in a marginally less sociopathic manner?

No. No they don’t.

If Saddam Hussein had used a radioactive isotope to kill thousands of Kurds slowly over several years rather than quickly with highly toxic nerve agents, would he have been applauded for this infinitely more humane and sensible course of action?

Not bloody likely.

Not to mention that the US and UK have already covered the Middle East with long-lasting radioactive isotopes and would likely not care for the competition.

But I digress.

If in the ’80s, everybody had agreed that CFCs and HFCs were causing the growing hole in the ozone layer, and that said hole posed a doomsday risk to this planet’s viability for sustaining life, but that doing something real about it would be too hard and it would instead be better to hold protracted and unproductive talkfests while increasing production of CFCs and HFCs, would the media have cheered global leaders for their sensible and measured approach?

Would said leaders have been allowed to publicly gloat and pat themselves and each other on the back for their resolute inaction?

Last year at about this time, noteworthy journalist, academic, and author George Monbiot wrote damningly in his trademark evidence-based way about the nearsightedness of the British Government’s 2050 60 per cent target. Everything points to the need for much more drastic 80, 90, and perhaps even 100% targets.

Clarifying writing of this sort is, even now, unfortunately rare. Not for lack of people producing objectively spine-chilling forecasts, but for the simple fact that the real news never makes it to the front page. If it is even published at all, it is lost amongst the shrill idiocy of the Tim Blairs, Michael Costas, and Lord Moncktons who somehow satisfy the desire to sell papers much more than they satisfy any need to educate the public or illuminate truth.

Still, wrote Monbiot at the time:

A good source tells me that the British government is well aware that its target for cutting carbon emissions – 60% by 2050 – is too little, too late, but that it will go no further for one reason: it fears losing the support of the Confederation of British Industry. Why this body is allowed to keep holding a gun to our heads has never been explained, but Gordon Brown has just appointed Digby Jones, its former director-general, as a minister in the department responsible for energy policy. I don’t remember voting for him. There could be no clearer signal that the public interest is being drowned by corporate power.

Sound familiar? Maybe even universally applicable?

And in his latest article, Monbiot considers a newly proposed model for a global emission taxation scheme that might be profoundly more simple than national models currently under discussion:

This would not be the first time that business was rescued by the measures it most stoutly resists: there’s a long history of corporate lobbying against the kind of government spending that eventually saves the corporate economy.

Do we want to save it, even if we can? It is hard to see how the current global growth rate of 3.7% a year (which means the global economy doubles every 19 years) could be sustained(11), even if the whole thing were powered by the wind and the sun. But that is a question for another column and perhaps another time, when the current economic panic has abated. For now we have to find a means of saving us from ourselves.

Written by typingisnotactivism

July 8, 2008 at 6:34 pm

GetUp’s pulp mill poll carries warning for Australian future.

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I’m not much for analysing polls, though I certainly admire the astuteness of those who are able to do so in meaningful ways. Citizen lobby group GetUp has just taken this poll looking at Australian attitudes to the ongoing clusterf&%k that is the Gunns would-be pulp mill project in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.

GetUp! Poll
Conducted by Essential Research between the 10th – 15th June 2008
n=1019 adults 18+

Q: The recent resignation of the Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon and the decision by the ANZ Bank to withdraw its involvement from Gunns proposed pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley has resulted in more debate on this issue. Do you personally support the building of the pulp mill or oppose the building of the pulp mill?

Support Oppose
TOTAL 39% 61%
Male 45 55
Female 34 66
ALP voter 35 65
Liberal/National voter 48 52
Green voter 21 79
Other/Independent voter 35 65
18-24 44 56
25-34 38 62
35-49 39 61
50+ 38 62

Interestingly, this survey result shows the opposite of what might be expected based on common assumptions about age and conservatism of attitudes. Namely, rather than 50+ year olds being more conservative in their politics and trusting of corporations than 18-24 year olds the opposite is true. 62% of over 50-year olds across Australia oppose the mill, while only 55% of the should-be more radical and more aware 18-24 crowd reject it.

To me, this says one thing very clearly. Basically, if you were aged from 6 to 12 years old when John Howard came to power, then your experience of Australia, governance, and social values has been retarded by having not been properly exposed to life in a country with a social conscience in your formative years.

State governments – in Tassie and New South Wales at the very least – have done nothing to balance this retardation. Just as there are hundreds of thousands of Australians who buy Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera albums, it seems that we’re also awash in young Liberals who know too little to know any better.

Which explains how turd blossoms like Christopher Pyne were spawned, even if it is impossible to explain why.

Written by typingisnotactivism

June 22, 2008 at 4:30 pm

When Life Hands You a Lennon….

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sorry this stream of contrariness is a bit behind the times. I have been busy negotiating an arrangement with the International Panel on Climate Change. Now I can offset carbon emissions that I create by burning plastic bags, furniture, and SUV drivers simply by agreeing not to mine coal, rape penguins, or nuke the Vatican. It’s a tough trading scheme but we’ve all got to do our bit.

Tasmania never ceases to amaze – bigger than Glebe, less corrupt than Zimbabwe, more lively than Stan Zemanek, and better looked after than the Fritzls (pre-rescue, at least). But even by Tassie’s own standards of enviro-political chaos and angst, news emerging from that state over the last month has been like a prolonged advertisement for a WTF theme park.

In late May, ANZ Bank confirmed the rumour that had for weeks been spontaneously swelling the nipples of environmentalists. They would not be acting on behalf of their client, Gunns, to help secure the $2 billion needed to build the world’s largest pulp mill. Some prematurely celebrated the death of the project.

But it is still likely that Jaakko Poyry, Gunns’ pulp mill consultant, will organize the money through less scrupulous international financial colleagues of their own. To do so would not only guarantee their commission, but make it possible for Gunns to actually pay up.

Seemingly bigger, better news came the following week. On the morning of Monday the 26th of May, Premier Paul Lennon aka Big Red, aka The Guy in the Pulp Mill ads, aka Gunns’ Elected Representative, aka The Forest F*cker, announced his resignation. After less than five years and many more decimated ecosystems, Premier Lennon decided to follow in the footsteps of every single east coast Labor Premier before him.

Echoing Lee Harvey Oswald, Lennon declared “I’ve given it my best shot.”

Content with his legacy and bathed in the love of his people, he had gone for a walk in the park and realized that it was time to retire and be bronzed by tulip-clad virgins, placed on an altar made entirely from the feathers of endangered eagles, and worshipped with offerings of old growth at the rising of each morning’s Sun henceforth.

There was, of course, unkind speculation that he was stepping down to avoid being pushed – given that an opinion poll the week before had seen his approval amongst Tasmanians rating a sub-George-Bush 17 per cent. Those are nearly Brendan Nelson numbers.

Unkind and as yet unaddressed rumours have circulated that the poll was actually commissioned by Federal Labor. While it would make sense for Federal Labor to jettison a Labor Premier for whom two deputies have already fallen on their sword amid suggestion of deceptive conduct, one might expect that an inquiry, a committee, and a Lennon Watch scheme would have first been established before launching such an effective and timely strategy.

Even less kind – though almost plausible in a T.I.T. (This Is Tasmania) way – was the suggestion that Lennon didn’t stand aside for family and personal reasons, that he didn’t stand aside out of political foresight, that he didn’t stand aside because he had become less bankable than an old-growth-eating pulp mill or even because he was perceived as less credible than Eddie McGuire.

Some tied his resignation on the Monday to the death of a Gunns’ board member, with the subsequent job opening, on the Saturday immediately before.

It’s enough to make you Very Old Men In Ties.

Lennon was immediately replaced as Premier by David Bartlett, a squinty-eyed bucket of water ten years his junior. His first eighteen hours in office were promising. He considered withholding tens of millions of public dollars from questionably sound private projects and mumbled something about a corruption inquiry before descending into the time-honoured practice of contorted linguistics.

The closest he has since come to promising a return to democracy in The Land of the Wrong White Crowd has been to propose a visionary new system of governance involving merit-based appointments. This, of course, is code for ‘business as usual’.

Because in Tasmania, as in News South Wales, ‘merit’ means one thing: Mates Employed Regardless of Intellectual Talent.

The battle for sanity continues…..

New Australian book: planet doomed.

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Due to be released shortly, a book from CSIRO Publishing promises to put the climate change debate in Australia back on track. Ten Commitments: Reshaping the Lucky Country’s Environment is divided into three categories – ecosystems (desert, marine, etc.), sectors (forestry, fisheries), and cross-sectoral and cross-ecosystem themes.

Leading environmental scientists write within these sections, using each chapter to address the question: “What are the 10 key things that must be urgently addressed to improve Australia’s environment?”.

Appearing on ABC’s Science program in early June, lead editor and author David Lindenmayer added weight to the argument that time is beyond short. He detailed how at even a minimal level of carbon taxation – $19 a tonne – logging operators in the remaining wet forests of Victoria should be paying $80 billion to that state’s government. Which would be well beyond the half billion dollars in logging royalties they currently pay annually.

He also detailed how, globally, destructive species – such as the mountain pine beetle of Canada – are thriving as winters become more mild. Rather than being wiped out or diminished seasonally, these beetles have now destroyed more than eleven million hectares of previously permanent forest, making way for logging operations and farming to move in.

According to Lindenmayer, the latest research, ongoing delays to real action, and these emerging new paradigms point to a future atmospheric carbon mass of 700-750 parts per million, with all the unimaginable consequences that will surely entail.

Atmospheric carbon is currently at 385 parts per million.

And visionless politicians want us to worry about the price of gas.

Written by typingisnotactivism

June 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm