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Monday Message Board (Tuesday edition)

March 25th, 2008

I took the Easter weekend off, so here’s the Tuesday edition of the Monday Message Board. Please post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

Categories: Metablogging Tags:
  1. March 25th, 2008 at 19:17 | #1

    good news: gaia is finally striking back at western society.

    sperm production down 40% over the last 50 years, surely this will lead to decreasing population in the ‘civilized’ part of the human race.this is targeted co2 reduction.

    i think this is connected with why scots don’t wear knickers under their kilts, ot it may have something to do with too many hours in front of a screen, instead of wrassling bears.

  2. SimonJM
    March 25th, 2008 at 19:35 | #2

    China: rich nations are climate change culprits
    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/02/18/eco.china.ap/index.html

    I always found the logic strange when Bush Howard etc wanted developing nations to make significant cuts when the developed nations caused the mess in the first place.
    To argue otherwise went against the obvious but that didn’t stop many trying to avoid their moral responsibility on the issue. I suppose self-serving rationalizations help the cognitive dissonance.

    Of course it works when you can bully the smaller nations, but as the above shows the little nations may have to cop these rationalizations but China sure as hell isn’t.

    Either the West pays up or we all sink. Which is what I’ve been saying all along.

  3. March 25th, 2008 at 19:44 | #3

    The argo robots are apparently throwing a few curve balls when it comes to global warming projections.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025

    The article has an audio version also.

  4. SimonJM
    March 25th, 2008 at 19:55 | #4

    Terje how should we take that in the context of much of the recent news items have been saying its much worse, faster etc than we anticipated?

  5. Tony G
    March 25th, 2008 at 21:08 | #5

    test

  6. Tony G
    March 25th, 2008 at 21:09 | #6

    http://www.infochoice.com.au/Home/Banking/RateWatch/tabid/86/Default.aspx?ArticleId=22007

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/25/2198952.htm?section=justin

    Date Cash Rate STD Var. Margin CR/STDV.
    Mar-08 7.25 9.32 2.07
    Feb-08 7 8.99 1.99
    Nov-07 6.75 8.57 1.82
    Aug-07 6.5 8.32 1.82
    Nov-06 6.25 8.07 1.82
    Aug-06 6 7.82 1.82
    May-06 5.75 7.57 1.82
    Mar-05 5.5 7.32 1.82
    Dec-03 5.25 7.07 1.82
    Nov-03 5 6.82 1.82
    Jun-02 4.75 6.57 1.82
    Apr-02 4.5 6.32 1.82
    Dec-01 4.25 6.07 1.82
    Oct-01 4.5 6.32 1.82
    Sep-01 4.75 6.57 1.82
    Apr-01 5 6.8 1.8
    Mar-01 5.5 7.3 1.8
    Feb-01 5.75 7.55 1.8
    Aug-00 6.25 8.05 1.8
    May-00 6 7.8 1.8
    Apr-00 5.75 7.55 1.8
    Feb-00 5.5 7.3 1.8
    Nov-99 5 6.8 1.8
    Dec-98 4.75 6.5 1.75
    Sep-97 5 6.7 1.7
    Jul-97 5 7.2 2.2
    May-97 5.5 7.2 1.7
    Apr-97 6 7.2 1.2
    Mar-97 6 7.55 1.55
    Dec-96 6 8.25 2.25
    Nov-96 6.5 8.75 2.25
    Aug-96 7 9.25 2.25
    Jun-96 7.5 9.75 2.25
    Dec-94 7.5 10.5 3
    Nov-94 6.5 9.55 3.05
    Oct-94 6.5 9.5 3
    Sep-94 5.5 9.5 4
    Aug-94 5.5 8.75 3.25
    Jul-94 7 9.75 2.75

    Why are interest rate always higher under Labour?

    Why is the margin between the RBA Official Cash Rates and Banks Standard Variable Rates always higher under labour?

  7. March 25th, 2008 at 21:42 | #7

    SimonJM – I’m a bit puzzled by your comment. However I’ll attempt an answer by suggesting that you take it one step at a time.

  8. March 26th, 2008 at 00:45 | #8

    Until adherents of the global warming cult are able to get their rear out of bed at daybreak and go to bed by 7pm, (thus eliminating the use of all that ‘horrid’ electic lighting) I’m afraid it will be hard to take them seriously.

    Perhaps my circles are narrow, but global warming “yes-men” of my acquaintance ain’t exactly up with the sparrows!

  9. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 26th, 2008 at 08:16 | #9

    Steve – behaviour decree makes very little sense. Better to have a price signal if there is a problem. When Sydney was low on water I continued to have showers and baths whilst advocating that water should be priced correctly. I don’t see any inconsistency in such a stance. Although I’m hardly a signed up advocate for the AGW bandwagon either.

  10. SimonJM
    March 26th, 2008 at 08:18 | #10

    Terje the question was sincere and no attempt to score points. I don’t recall if you were in the denial camp plus there has been a lot of recent press regarding how things could be much worse than the IPCC has stated. There are uncertainties but since there is so much else going on to support it I just wanted to know what you bait was meant to achieve.

  11. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 26th, 2008 at 08:47 | #11

    SimonJM – the article isn’t bait. It is about the argo robots that measure ocean temperatures and the missmatch between the data they are collecting and climate model expectations. I thought it was relevant and interesting. And besides the argo project represents some rather cool technology.

    I’m not in the denial camp. I’m very much in the skeptic camp with only occasional visits to the cynic camp. In terms of action I think the best option given the current state of knowledge (and politics) is to broaden and flatten the fuel tax so that it includes coal etc and is rated based on CO2e equivalent emissions. That would make petrol cheaper and electricity more expensive in the short term. If you then wanted to increase that tax rate I’d want cuts in income taxes to compensate. Or else cuts in property purchase stamp duties as proposed by Turnbull. I hate high tax levels but a carbon tax isn’t really any worse than most of the other oddball taxes we currently have.

  12. SimonJM
    March 26th, 2008 at 09:16 | #12

    Terje yes expect to see a lot more from robots in many fields in the near future; the arming of them will probably have the biggest impact.

    What interests me when climatic impacts really start to kick in- it will only be when the first few mega disasters occur that this will be taken seriously- and China and India hold their ground and call for something like the Brazilian Proposal – http://www.cckn.net/compendium/brazil.asp- what the policy implications will be when the big boys start to throw their weight around. Our national policy stance will have to fall inline with the fallout from the above; so when push comes to shove what we want will mean little.

    The flipside that will significant is how a global policy/regulatory setting will be enforced?

    Country A. refuses to cut emissions and if political and economic boycotts doesn’t do the job will military intervention be required?

    BTW the Peak Oil timeline seems to be closing in 2012-2015 seems to be getting the money at moment.

  13. Peter Evans
    March 26th, 2008 at 12:52 | #13

    Hillary Clinton to stand as an Independent. The full Tonya Harding Option…

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/03/dnc-official-cl.html

  14. wmmbb
    March 26th, 2008 at 13:29 | #14

    According to this article in Japan Focus by John McGlynn (via <a href=”http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1465/135/#comments”.Empire Burleque), the American Government unilaterally declared financial “shock and awe” on Iran from 20 March using UN sanctions and provisions of the Patriot Act.

    Surely, if the financial “shock and awe” is so effective, what need is there for military sanctions, which are not off the table? Apparently, since the resignation of Fallon, another aircraft carrier, the USS Lincoln, has entered the Persian Gulf ahead of schedule.Might not an over indebted US be subject to international financial blowback?

    Or is it all too fantastic to be realistic, and so back to the gunboats, cruise missiles and nuclear warheads?

  15. Ken
    March 26th, 2008 at 15:16 | #15

    SATP – would you really take seriously (more seriously) anyone who was that personally obsessive? Surely this issue isn’t going to get sorted out by people withdrawing from the mainstream and advocating a return to the 19th century. There may be some people who see that as a step forward, but most people who take this issue seriously don’t. It’s 21st century technology – clean, sustainable, efficient – that will lessen the impact of AGW, and policies that see their rapid development and deployment, not living without lighting and riding a bicycle. If you won’t take seriously the output of the world’s most prestigious scientific bodies on the issue, why would a more extreme personal response to the concerns raised make you more inclined to take someone seriously?

  16. Ian Gould
    March 26th, 2008 at 19:59 | #16

    SimonJM, there’s an errant dash at the end of your URL.

    http://www.cckn.net/compendium/brazil.asp works for me.

  17. Ian Gould
    March 26th, 2008 at 20:05 | #17

    Oh and the Brazilian Proposal isn’t all that new or all that radical.

    The original Kyoto Protocol drafts provided for fines for countries that failed to meet their commitments – and set up the CDM as a means of meeting those commitments.

    The fines provisions were removed as part of the ultimately futile attempt to convince the US to sign up.

  18. wmmbb
  19. March 27th, 2008 at 07:38 | #19

    28% of clinton supporters say they will vote for mccain if obama is nominated. and i said it was a bad year to be a republican.. embarrassing!

    bush got in because the redneck bigot vote is very large. they are still there, and in much greater numbers than than the winning margin of the last two elections. early in the campaign, i implored the dems to support john edwards for this reason. when they wake up with mccain elected, the logic of this will perhaps be more evident.

    or maybe it doesn’t matter. the course of the american empire is set on domination of the middle east, and the failure of the plan is not yet certain. mccain will stay, the dems may stay, the american public is unconcerned with anything but success. they don’t count iraqi dead, because they don’t count.

    no wonder republicans can get elected, when dems think skin color is more important than policy, and republicans think they own the world’s oil.

  20. Ian Gould
    March 27th, 2008 at 09:16 | #20

    So the Gulf states are currently pretty much swimming in money and trying to think of ways to use it all.

    How about they back their pan-Arab rhetoric with action and start putting major amounts of cash into Iraqi reconstruction?

  21. MontyA
    March 27th, 2008 at 09:28 | #21

    Terje, the original report of Willis et al. has been found to have systematic biases that resulted in the ‘observed cooling’. Given that the original report could not explain the rise in ocean levels over the period of temperature recordings this should not surprise.
    Chbeck it out here; http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:BE0n4CmQYg8J:oceans.pmel.noaa.gov/Pdf/heat_2006.pdf+global+ocean+temperature+argo+records&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=au

  22. Peter Pan
    March 27th, 2008 at 10:33 | #22

    MontyA, TerjeP, Given the time constants for ocean heating is something like 300 years, I am not surprised that instruments are struggling to find any evidence of warming in the ocean temperature data with time series data set that spans 1% to 2% of this time period.

    What should be more disturbing to the climate modellers is the data coming from NASA’s Aqua satellite. As far as I can tell it suggests there has been no atmospheric heating since it was launched in 2002. Again, the instrument is only accurate to 1 degree C and even with the shorter atmospheric heating time constants; I don’t think the data time series is long enough that any one could be dogmatic that the atmosphere was not warming in the last 5 years. But it gets one thinking doesn’t it.

    As I understand it one of the biggest problems for the climate models is determining the reflectivity of the upper troposphere due to the ice crystals put there by clouds. (And aircraft con-trails!) My reading of the situation is that this is poorly understood phenomena. I am not anti global warming but I am not impressed by the almost religion like faith that people seem to be placing on model based on poorly understood phenomena. I guess the modellers have to start somewhere but their result should not be taken a gospel. (May be gospel is the wrong word. Doesn’t gospel mean good news?)

  23. March 27th, 2008 at 17:43 | #23

    Terje says:

    That would make petrol cheaper and electricity more expensive in the short term.

    SimonJM says:

    BTW the Peak Oil timeline seems to be closing in 2012-2015 seems to be getting the money at moment.

    Can anyone see the problem here?

    The libertarians are seriously proposing a cut in petrol taxes:

    This would result in an effective reduction of 75% in the fuel levy, which would lead to a reduction in petrol prices by about 30 cents per litre, and help to offset recent high petrol prices.

    Now I don’t discount the possibility that our politicians will cut fuel taxes if (when?) petrol hits $2-$3 a litre (that’s what Howard did during the “mean and tricky” period of 2001) but the libertarians think it makes sense environmentally. Like our roads aren’t choked with SUVs already!

    So here we are, 4-7 years away from a looming supply crisis, and the lib-nuts want to cut fuel taxes. Aussie motorists have already been cocooned from high oil prices by Howard’s tax cuts and the super strong Aussie dollar. Does the “Big Aussie Six” need even more protection?Moral hazard anyone?

  24. matilda
    March 27th, 2008 at 19:15 | #24

    Hey John, I’ve noticed that most of the blogs you link to are written by men. Why do think it is that men prefer to read other men?

  25. jquiggin
    March 27th, 2008 at 19:48 | #25

    I think the problem is more that political and economic blogging (like political and economic commentary generally) is dominated by men. If you have any recommendations for blogs by women that I should link to, I’ll be happy to add them – I haven’t really done much with the blogroll for a while, so I might well have missed some.

  26. Ian Gould
    March 29th, 2008 at 05:38 | #26

    Southern California Edison is to install 250 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity on commercial roofs at a cost of US$875 million.

    That equates to $3.50 per watt total cost including installation – compared with a typical price for solar cells themselves of around $5 per watt.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/story?id=51983

  27. Ian Gould
    March 29th, 2008 at 22:47 | #27

    So several commentators have suggested that a US recession is less of a concern for the world economy than in the past because the US represents a smaller percentage of the world economy and other major economies like India and china are likely to keep growing.

    It’s certainly a superficially credible idea but I thought it might be worth checking.

    According to the every fallible Wikipedia, America’s share of world nominal GDP GREW from 29.4% to 29.9% between 1998 and 2003.

    Now that’s probably changed somewhat in the intervening 4 and a bit years but it certainly suggests the US economy is still vitally important to the world economy.

  28. Ian Gould
    March 29th, 2008 at 22:51 | #28

    Michael Pascoe points out that even as the NAB claims its being forced to raise interest rates to lenders because of higher borrowing costs, its wholesale and retail borrowing costs have actually been falling.

    http://au.blogs.yahoo.com/michaelpascoe/74/nab-puts-up-mortgage-rates-while-cutting-deposits

  29. wbb
    March 30th, 2008 at 14:45 | #29

    The National Australia Bank can afford to increase home loan rates because competition is lessening as smaller players are forced out by the credit crash.

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