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Weekend reflections

September 4th, 2009

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. Rationalist
    September 4th, 2009 at 13:26 | #1

    “Senator Xenophon aid he agreed with noted environmentalist Tim Flannery that Australia should not rule out nuclear energy.”
    Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said last night Australia should have a domestic nuclear power industry.”

    I would also say many in the Liberal party would agree and some in the ALP.

  2. jquiggin
    September 4th, 2009 at 16:47 | #2

    There’s a big difference between “not rule out” (defensible) and “should have” (silly, as is most of what Paul Howes has to say). Nothing much is likely to happen anywhere in the developed world on nuclear until we get a global carbon price around $50/tonne, and when that happens it will take a decade or more for the US and other leaders to get moving. We are at least a decade behind the US – no regulatory framework, no experience, no supply of skilled workers etc.

  3. Rationalist
    September 4th, 2009 at 17:27 | #3

    With respect to a global carbon price, what happens if Waxman Markey fails in the US and the Democrats go backward in congress in 2010? What happens if Copenhagen falls through and some of the provisions of our plausible scheme do not unlock due to lack of global consensus?

  4. jquiggin
    September 4th, 2009 at 17:33 | #4

    “What happens if Copenhagen falls through?”

    As regards the topic of this thread so far, that’s it for nuclear power. No one will go for it at current prices.

    As regards the planet, we will be forced to come back to the problem in five or ten years time when the cost of a sustainable strategy will be much higher than it is now (already much higher than it would have been if we had started earlier, thanks to the likes of Paul Howes).

  5. Rationalist
    September 4th, 2009 at 18:02 | #5

    What did Paul Howes do previously?

    You are absolutely right, at current prices are nuclear is not practical although it is nice to have the option there if called upon.

    As you probably know John, the US Congress is debating quite a few significant things right now, such as health care reform and Waxman Markey cap and trade. When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 Democrats controlled both houses, 2 years later in 1994 Republicans were able to gain the House and the Senate and keep control for 12 years until 2006.

    With respect to the plausibility of Waxman Markey failing and health care reform being pummelled in the media, what happens if the Democrats in fact do go significantly backward in 2010? What type of tactics would you advocate as a strategy for “action on climate change” when Democrats may have only a narrow majority in Congress and a significant proportion of conservative blue dogs who are wary about these new initiatives?

  6. jquiggin
    September 4th, 2009 at 21:07 | #6

    Paul Howes, ex-Trot, now rightwinger and climate delusionist – they must have a factory where they turn these guys out.

    As for the viability of Waxman-Markey, I share some of your concerns. On the other hand, the Republicans are increasingly repelling a large body of voters. The damage from their behavior will be with them for a long time to come.

  7. Glenn Tamblyn
    September 4th, 2009 at 22:43 | #7


    Regarding both your comments about coming back to this in 5 years wrt to climate change and the thrust of your post on Two Degrees, here is an interesting link to a very good site that deals well with some of the climate science, particularly at shooting down flaws in data analysis. This link in parrticular is to a recent post on the urgency of the problem. http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/urgent/ You might also be interested in having a look at http://www.realclimate.org for some good discussion of the science by a group of practising scientists.

    How familiar are you with the most recent reports of Methane release in the Arctic from melting permafrost and release from sub-sea Methane Clathrates. Only early warning signs so far but very scary stuff. And it is happening today, not 20 or 40 years from now.

    The point you make at the end of Two Degrees, asking what people would be willing to pay or give up to go below 450ppm needs to balanced with another question: What will we and our grandchildren pay if we don’t? The results of Global Warming beyond 2C, triggering of various ‘Tipping Points’, World population peaking, we hope, at 9 Billion, but then only declining very slowly and the looming water crisis in various parts of the world translates into far too high a risk of cascading food, economic, social and military crises this century that could leave world population devastated by the end of the century and much of our global civilisation severely stressed if not on the edge of collapse.

    As a blogger on another site said

    ‘May our great great grandchildren forgive us!’

    In that respect, the question we face is ultimately a moral question, not an economic or political one.

  8. Alice
    September 4th, 2009 at 23:05 | #8

    What on earth was it about the Trots?..that at least a few turned rabidly right (like Costa). Imagine that..quelle horreur a factory that churns them out? I think there is one and they call it either the IPA or the masons?

  9. Alice
    September 4th, 2009 at 23:06 | #9

    Or is it the Ku Klux Clots Club for ex trots?

  10. Monkey’s Uncle
    September 4th, 2009 at 23:20 | #10

    Alice, I would suggest that attributing every development you dislike in the world to a Masonic conspiracy should be up there with a Godwin’s law violation as grounds for an automatic forfeit in most debates.

  11. Fran Barlow
    September 4th, 2009 at 23:27 | #11


    I don’t at all disagree with your enthusiasm for doing something really serious right here right now on mitigation. I do think we need to show how things can be done, and that is ultimately an economic and political question.

    I’m not for a moment suggesting that we need to show that abating catastrophic climate change will be profitable for people right now, because that will be impossible to show. We do however need to show that the resources exist to do it that people will by and large accept these measures and this doesn’t entail shifting the burden of these measures onto people less well off than us.

  12. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 4th, 2009 at 23:39 | #12

    Crikey John, now Turnbull has turned his sights on NSW Labor in an attempt to discredit the Rudd government. But considering Premier Rees’s pecker was not the one to go walkabout and the fact that he is a down to earth decent family man, then the Premier deserves more respect and is given the thumbs up.

  13. Rationalist
    September 5th, 2009 at 06:18 | #13

    I think I saw numbers that said that Malcolm Turnbull has worse “negative” polling than Rees., Michael.

  14. Alice
    September 5th, 2009 at 07:14 | #14

    MU LOL….I completely agree with you!

  15. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2009 at 07:32 | #15

    Rationalist, Turnbull is one of the more capable Liberals and I respect him a lot but at times he can go off on a tangent and veer off course. Better Turnbull than some neo-conservative illywacker.

  16. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2009 at 07:55 | #16

    Rationalist, I forgot to mention whilst Premier Nathan Rees was visiting his old high school he also announced the good news that two brand new creative and performing arts high schools will be built. Thumbs up Rees.

  17. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2009 at 08:16 | #17

    John, after reading Joe Hildebrand’s piece ‘Exclusive: Secret Della Bosca Conversation Revealed’ there is this DISCLAIMER: For anyone who remains in any doubt, including any confused defamation lawyers, it should be stressed that this is NOT actually a transcript of John Della Bosca and/or his mystery lover but a fictitious work of satire. A real beat up story.

  18. Fran Barlow
    September 5th, 2009 at 08:24 | #18

    @Michael of Summer Hill

    I’ve met Turnbull only once at Rudd not at all. It seems likely to me that Turnbull is probably less illiberal on social policy and less disagreeable than Rudd the pariamntary christian but this really isn’t salient. To borrow from another field of policy, the machines that back these people have their own ’embodied energy cost’ and their own ‘environmental footprint’ and it is this one should consider. Looking at the predisposition of the men in charge is about as telling as trying to evaluate the corporate governance regime of a beer company from examining the livery on its merchandise.

    The Liberals have Turnbull as their leader because the machine figures that conservatives have no choice but to give their effective votes to the Liberals/Nationals, so it’s an attempt to persuade liberal-minded people to set aside their disinclination towards conservatives and vote Liberal, and Rudd is there to persuade conservtaive christians in Queensland that they can live with the trivially less socially conservative ALP and not vote Liberal. These differences don’t amount to the proverbial hill of beans, except of course to the rival machines.

    Frankly I wouldn’t care that Tuckey was Liberal leader and Joyce was deputy — indeed, I might prefer it. Candour is no bad thing.

  19. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2009 at 09:57 | #19

    Fran Barlow, both Rees and Turnbull are doing their best to revive their party’s respective fortunes and it is only a matter of time before the polls move in their direction.

  20. Alice
    September 5th, 2009 at 13:44 | #20

    Oh mi god Moshie…you actually made a post without saying….TUR!

  21. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2009 at 19:04 | #21

    Alice, did you know the State’s Final Demand so far this year is above the Australian domestic final demand average thanks to Labor. Thumbs up Rees.

  22. Donald Oats
    September 6th, 2009 at 08:47 | #22

    Meanwhile, in McGurkland, the plot thickens…

    Did you ever wonder where new NSW Labor pollies come from? What a despotic, nepotic, sclerotic ship of fools!

    Oh, and Thumbs up Rees. Poor Bastard of the Year award should surely go to him for holding the most exasperating job in the land.

  23. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 6th, 2009 at 08:56 | #23

    Donald Oats, you are disturbed.

  24. Rationalist
    September 6th, 2009 at 09:27 | #24

    Did Swan make a gaffe or was it a Freudian slip?

    He was talking about his long term fiscal strategy on Insiders and he said he raised the pension age to 71. I thought it was only to 67. Perhaps he has further plans down the line?

  25. Rationalist
    September 6th, 2009 at 09:32 | #25

    Just after I posted previously, Barrie said that Swan clarified it was 67 after the live interview. Interesting.

  26. Alice
    September 6th, 2009 at 14:43 | #26

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Moshie…Don is a realist. I think the electorate would give Rees and his govt the thumbs up in the old fashioned sense of the word …like when my father was driving and someone tooted their horn at him! That was what was used before other digits became more popular…

  27. Alice
    September 6th, 2009 at 14:47 | #27

    @Donald Oats
    Don …this whole McGurkland is getting murkier and murkier isnt it?

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