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Weekend reflections

March 26th, 2010

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

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  1. Rationalist
    March 26th, 2010 at 21:58 | #1

    I am excited to be celebrating human achievement hour tomorrow at 8:30 pm. To celebrate I will turn on all of my appliances (within reason, I don’t want to trip the circuit breaker!). I am doing this to celebrate the wonders of human innovation and achievement (and capitalism) which allows me to have so many wonderful things devices at my fingertips.

  2. Neil
    March 26th, 2010 at 22:30 | #2

    …and at 8.31pm tomorrow, Rationalist will use his wonderful electric carving knife appliance cut off his own nose in order to spite his face.

  3. Rationalist
    March 26th, 2010 at 22:40 | #3

    @Neil
    I don’t actually have an electric carving knife, you gave me a laugh though Neil.

  4. sdfc
    March 26th, 2010 at 22:50 | #4

    Melbourne experiencing what I read was its worst hailstorm in recorded history, Perth having the worst hailstorm that I can remember, the UK having the heaviest snow fall in nearly 20 years and parts of the US having their worst snow storms since the 1920s. All within a few months. You would think this would give a “sceptic” food for thought.

  5. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 00:16 | #5

    @Rationalist

    Mad as a march hare … celebrating the dimunition of the ecosystem services upon which humanity depends on the advice of people who are clearly delusional about the state of the world.

  6. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    March 27th, 2010 at 06:11 | #6

    Rationalist – I’m thinking of putting up the Xmas lights.

  7. March 27th, 2010 at 07:18 | #7

    @Fran Barlow

    I’m always a bit confused by the position that observing things like Earth hour automatically translate as a zealous belief in the most extreme views associated with a particular position, and I’m wondering, seeing as you seem to be making those assumptions, whether you could explain your perspective a bit better.

    For me, Earth Hour is an opportunity to show respect the the planet that happens to be our home and, if only for that hour, diminish the strain on the power grid that, as you say, provides so much of the security and quality of life that we enjoy. It’s about respect.

  8. March 27th, 2010 at 07:29 | #8

    Actually, I just take that whole first paragraph back and go buy some reading glasses. I’ll read more carefully next time… *backs out slowly and with humility*

  9. March 27th, 2010 at 08:16 | #9

    Milton residents fight high-rise menace

    Developers, have in their sights, a tract of open space in the Bribane suburb of Milton, formerly occupied by the Milton Tenis courts on which they plan to erect high rise appartments that will house at least an additional 2,000 extra people. The total combined number or residents and workers that would be jammed into the suburb of Milton, from this and an existing proposal for residential and commercial development above Milton Station, could be 12,000, that is as many as live in the rural town of Warwick.

    What you can do: (1) Attend meeting of CRAMED (http://cramed.org) to oppose these developments at the Milton State School at 6.30PM on Monday 29 March. (2) Attend the protest to save the Koala and to stop overdevelopment at the Queensland Government Growth Summit at 11.00AM Tuesday 30 March at the main entrance of Queensland State Library, Southbank.

  10. Peter T
    March 27th, 2010 at 08:18 | #10

    Changing the topic, I saw this

    http://economicedge.blogspot.com/2010/03/most-important-chart-of-century.html

    at Some Assembly Required. The implication (if this is true), is that fiscal stimulus in the US is reducing economic activity.

    My first thought is that the commentator is confusing correlation with causation. But I also thought – what happens if you exchange private debt, which can be repudiated without too much damage, for public debt.

    Any thoughts?

  11. March 27th, 2010 at 08:45 | #11

    Note however that no less an environmental luminary than Peter Newman is pro high rise housing!
    http://melbourneurbanist.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/what-role-for-high-rise-towers-in-melbourne/

  12. Jill Rush
    March 27th, 2010 at 09:16 | #12

    daggett #9. There are good environmental reasons for high rise such as reducing the impact of increased populations on the total built footprint.

    However I do wonder if part of this environmental benefit is lost by people who use more energy to dry clothes, run lifts up and down and people need to consume more as they produce less especially as much of that consumption requires high transport costs. There are other associated costs such as the loss of community if the exterior spaces are cramped and of poor quality because this is an area that developers will often scimp. Planning has yet to really ensure high quality and the housing commission flats are probably setting the standard in too many cases.

    Meantime the impacts of such a development in the local area will be noticeable in transport, parking and traffic problems, crime and pressures on local services. It is rare that these impacts are factored into decision making. If there is no way that the development will be refused on planning grounds then it is up to the broader community to make sure that the council and state government understand that the wider issues must be addressed up front.

  13. Alphonse
    March 27th, 2010 at 09:56 | #13

    Jill, are you sure about [high rise = more crime] or does it tend to look that way because the measure or perception is crimes per km2 rather than crimes per head? Sydney has a lot of low-crime high-density suburban precincts.

    Off the top of my head, I’d prefer 2,000 inner city units to 2,000 mcmanshions of sprawling greenfield development – environmentally, economically and socially. I’d rather save hundreds of hectares of bush than tens of hectares of tennis courts, I’d rather the train travel than the car travel.

    For every inner city nimby, there is an outer urban nimby who is on the edge of the sprawl and doesn’t want to be leapfrogged.

  14. March 27th, 2010 at 10:35 | #14

    Earth Hour is a funny one. I know the message is more symbolic than anything, but I don’t think the picture of people sitting in the dark by choice helps the environmental movement much.

    As a comparison Human Achievement Hour is a great example of idiotic reactionary thinking. It’s just showing off the fact that we can grab more resources than we need, and advances the mantra of greed and waste.

    It makes me wonder what they mean by “Human Achievement”? I figure it’s similar to GDP, where the damage bill from a natural disaster increases activity, so from that perspective it’s actually a good thing! How about we set our sights alittle higher, and aim for achievements that are wholly positive, inclusive, sustainable and resilient, without externalities?

    Come 8.30 all my lights will be off, and I’ll be enjoying a walk with my fiancé in a publicly lit park, listening to the sounds of a nearby concert I couldn’t afford to get into. I’ll also be recognising human achievement by using my solar powered torch.

  15. March 27th, 2010 at 11:02 | #15

    I’ll be doing a 90% Earth hour. That is to say, I may have a light on but with everything else off and trying to manage my energy consumption wisely.

    And yes, I very much believe AGW is real and I blog about it. However, I’m somewhat suspect of the genesis of Earth Hour (by advertisers who also devise campaigns for energy and tobacco companies). It many raise some awareness, but I think the message should be “Every hour is Earth Hour. Use energy wisely. Switch to solar, do something to reduce your carbon footprint every day.”

    Mike <—— heretic? ;)

  16. March 27th, 2010 at 12:11 | #16

    Jumping on the heretic remark, a year or so I had a long and productive argument with some climate change deniers. I can call them deniers because we had a long conversation about the correct terminology, and they chose ‘believer’ for me, but strongly opposed the term ‘agnostic’ for themselves, applying the idea of faith to me while avoiding it themselves. The idea I kept pushing on them – of an open mind – was deeply offensive, and that point (among others) shut down the debate.

    I consider myself a heretic. I’m not sure one way or another, but regardless of the state of the climate want to see measurement and abatement of pollution.

    I don’t want to retread ground, but I would be interested about how some of the skeptics here feel about the term ‘agnostic’ to define their position on climate change? Apart from the religious connotations it is essentially the same thing – unconvinced by but open to further evidence.

    If they are similar, why hasn’t the term had more traction?

  17. Chris Warren
    March 27th, 2010 at 12:40 | #17

    Peter T :

    http://economicedge.blogspot.com/2010/03/most-important-chart-of-century.html

    My first thought is that the commentator is confusing correlation with causation. But I also thought – what happens if you exchange private debt, which can be repudiated without too much damage, for public debt.
    Any thoughts?

    This is very interesting. Of course, like Steve Keen, these commentators falsely rant and raille about debt without delving deeper.

    The increase in debt, is a symptom. It is logical that its marginal efficiency diminishes because the provision of debt only paper-overs a underlying problem (a structural contradiction within capitalism). If you leave this contradiction then cycle after cycle you have to produce another lot of debt plus pay-off previous debt. This is an additional, compounding impost that, eventually, terminates the sequence.

    However a detailed exploration of this dynamic usually exceeds the attention span of most bloggists and the political dreams of most mainstream economists.

    In the long run its tough luck for all of us.

  18. Freelander
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:17 | #18

    http://economicedge.blogspot.com/2010/03/most-important-chart-of-century.html

    Interesting idea. Debt produces GDP. How much GDP will an extra dollar of debt produce? Simply divide existing GDP by existing debt and you have the answer. But if that is true then the new GDP divided by the new debt will have exactly the same ratio as the old divided by the old. Oh, I didn’t think about that? So, that idea doesn’t seem to work.

    Doh! Some blogs do ‘ave ‘em.

  19. paul walter
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:18 | #19

    Just thinking on it, the SA election, which indicates the pressures of neolib globalisation on locales, well exemplifies the trend Chris Warren is discussing. Within our closed system, information is mediated on an imperative for profits and power that denies the public an informed input.
    Hence the silulacra wins. In SA the upholders; liblab right wings, , corporations, thinktanks, consultants and the Advertiser and tabloid media, as the people are given false choices thru a cessation of real information. The place will be carved up, as Clive carved up Bengal for the Brits, but within theparametres of the current myth, we get to know its our sinfulness and greed that have created whatever problem seems to upset the big formations, because they told us so, themselves.
    Talk about medieval superstitious village life!

  20. Freelander
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:25 | #20

    @Foib

    How about calling the deniers, euphemistically, evidence-resistant or evidence-immune or rationality-immune etc., simply to suggest that they have had a full spectrum inoculation to make them completely immune to evidence and rational argument.

    Picky lot. They probably would object to these too.

  21. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:30 | #21

    @Michael Lockhart

    I see Michael. Ok for the record, I see Earth Hour as a legal and communitarian way of declaring in favour of human practices that would tend to preserve the quality and quantity of ecosystem services. Last year, in our community, there was a celebratory and community picnic kind of feel, as we set up in our local park with our neigbourhood watch ward, and told stories of the days before electric lighting and on-demand gas, surrounded by anti-mosquito incence candles and some old oil lamps.

    It was especially heartening that I managed to organise some of the older people I look in on to come along and they got to tell of a life in our district that few of us can remember. I brought along some newspaper clippings from the 1930s and asked them to explain the context and the kids thought the resultant stories fascinating. I brought along a sheet, a data projector and speakers and my laptop and with the aid of a car battery and a suitable transformer by one of our electrician neighbors did an impromptu review of how we came to be in the conditions that we are.

    I’m not sure how much we saved in CO2, but ultimately that really doesn’t matter. Rather, we left the park with a strengthened sense of the bonds we humans share, our interconnectedness with the ecosystem and the challenges and costs of tinkering with it. That night, the cargo cult mentality suffered a serious setback and we left with a strengthened sense of mission on doing something to preserve the things that make life worth living.

  22. bill
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:34 | #22

    As for Earth Hour, I notice the local reactionary version has been imported – by their own admission – from the US Competitive Enterprise Institute by SA Senator Cory Bernardi’s ‘Conservative Leadership Foundation’.

    This includes a downloadable poster that urges the reader ‘Don’t be stuck in the dark with the communists’. (http://www.conservative.org.au/Campaigns/HAH/Communist Poster.jpg – note the remarkable inability to perceive the location of China in this image!)

    You can even participate in a hilarious competition to have your photo taken holding a poster in front of some carbon-intensive activity; thgere’s an example of some generic poindexter doing a thumb’s up in front of some equally generic industrial plant.

    I reckon the Liberal Party would be well advised to publicly distance themselves from of precisely this kind of wing-nuttery.

    I also notice that Kevin Andrews is one of the available Speakers on the group’s list.

  23. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:36 | #23

    @Foib

    I don’t want to retread ground, but I would be interested about how some of the skeptics here feel about the term ‘agnostic’ to define their position on climate change? Apart from the religious connotations it is essentially the same thing – unconvinced by but open to further evidence.

    If they are similar, why hasn’t the term had more traction?

    Because neither the term skeptic nor the term agnostic are apt descriptions of the deniers, though as Maurice Newman tried recently, they occasionally resort to them as disingenuous cover. They aren’t skeptical of the nonsense retailed on their side that they claim doesn’t represent their position. They also clearly don’t understand what it is they are doubting. Nor is the etiology of climate change a matter of beleif in the sense that matters of faith are. It’s a matter of measurement and methodologically robust process. One can fail to understand or be ignorant but this isn’t being agnostic. All that is needed to draw inferences is present.

  24. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:39 | #24

    @daggett

    Properly designed, higher density (not necessarily high density) lving can make good environmental sense and lead to improved service per dollar of expenditure. Urban sprawl is not a good thing.

  25. bill
    March 27th, 2010 at 13:41 | #25

    sorry – Poster link should be http://www.conservative.org.au/Campaigns/HAH/Communist Poster.jpg

  26. March 27th, 2010 at 14:00 | #26

    @Fran Barlow
    Good answer, but there is a small percentage who have honestly looked at the data and have some to a different conclusion, or a yet to be convinced, and in that case the term skeptic or agnostic does fit. I know some people in this category, and I would not call them deniers. Intellectually lazy and biased, maybe. A big difference is that they don’t expend any energy trying to find out more or change anyone else’s opinion. They do however have an open mind, and are on the path to understanding the issue, even if it’s very slow movement. I would call this failure to understand being agnostic, as it’s not a strongly held position. The vast majority, especially on-line, do not fit in this category, but I’m interested in how they see themselves, especially in terms of having an open mind.

  27. Chris Warren
    March 27th, 2010 at 14:03 | #27

    @bill

    Maybe Kevin Andrews should go and check how many lights they have in capitalist Papua New Guinea, or any number of wannabe capo states in Africa.

    Funny thing is that if you asked capitalists to honor their debt, most of their public utilities would have to shut down.

    What do people want, lights at midnight or free health care?

  28. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 14:20 | #28

    @Foib

    but there is a small percentage who have honestly looked at the data and have some to a different conclusion [...] I would not call them deniers. Intellectually lazy and biased, maybe.

    In this context, that excludes “honestly” looking at the data. In this context, honesty implies intellectual rigour, which cannot co-exist with intellectual indolence or cherrypicking. Skeptics — actual skeptics rather than mere imposters — make it their business to meet the demands of intellectual rigour because they take themselves and their ideas seriously. They are every bit as offended (and perhaps more so) when someone agrees with them on a spurious or specious basis.

    I would call this failure to understand being agnostic, as it’s not a strongly held position.

    That just debauches the language. It’s lazy, sloppy and offensive to those who on the matter of metaphysics are agnostic. One either knows enough to form an opinion, or one does not. The latter is simply the state of being under-informed or insufficiently engaged to have an opinion. It is not agnostic. One agrees that a soundly-based opinion is possible.

  29. Alphonse
    March 27th, 2010 at 14:43 | #29

    I strongly doubt that my house will burn down, but I still insure against the possibility. That’s because I’m a house fire sceptic, not a house fire denier.

    It’s very clear and simple. An AGW denier resists measures to reduce greenhouse emissions. A sceptic supports them, just in case.

  30. March 27th, 2010 at 15:06 | #30

    @Fran Barlow
    So unconvinced people who are lazy are not skeptics. Agreed.

    Next we are getting into the question of whether something is unknown or unknowable. I’ve been treating it as something which is generally known, but unknown/disagreed with by the subject in question. Unknowable didn’t even come into it for me. My bad.

    So what would you use for people who are not active deniers, and at least have a open mind? Lazy? Uninformed?

    I’d prefer something nicer, but can’t think what, given my other suggestions have been shot down in flames.

  31. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:31 | #31

    @Foib

    The term lazy is a catchall. I have zero interest in Formula 1 racing. If someone asked me whether Alan Jones was likely to beat Ayrton Senna I would neither know nor care. I don’t even know if they are still competing. One could call that laziness on my part, but of course, I don’t think it’s all that important for me to know. I know that I could find out, but I have no interest. I wouldn’t even know if someone who calimed to be an expert was an expert whose opinion was reliable, but if he claimed it, I’d probably take his word for it. I’d say I was uncommitted if asked.

    That wouldn’t make me an agnostic on the question.

    If it were important to public policy to know, then perhaps the term “lazy” would be more apt, at least if one is to be a good citizen.

    Perhaps the term “uncommitted” might be the best and least pejorative description of those who feel they aren’t for some reason in a position to make a judgement on the matters at hand. I take it as self evident that uncommitteds ought to defer to those most likely to be expert on relevant matters of public policy. In that case though, they ought at least to know who those people are. In this case, it would be the relevant Academies of Science in each country and their coordinating agency — the IPCC.

  32. Jim Birch
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:31 | #32

    @Fran Barlow
    Most of the delusionists are simply people with a believe in the supremacy of the market to solve all problems. They don’t have a nuanced, evidence-based approach that considers the applicability of markets to particular situations or things like the merits of different market management mechanisms – it’s all or nothing. After investing themselves in this Hobson’s choice they simply can’t cope with a clear externality like AGW. It’s either go into denial or ditch their entire philosophy.

    The fact is that denial is psychologically easier for the vast majority of these people. Unfortunately, this entails believing that the all the thousands of real climate scientists around the world are either totally mad, completely incompetent, and/or involved in a conspiracy to withhold the truth that makes faking the moon landings a cinch, but so be it. That’s why we have to have this psychotic “debate” on AGW.

    (I’ve wondered why these guys don’t presume they have similar prowess in other highly complex technical tasks. You don’t find them claiming to be able to (say) redesign the Airbus A380 so it flies properly, but I expect that if the Airbus A380 threatened their market supremacy theory it would be decried as a dangerous piece of flying junk.)

    The obvious question to denialists is “Just supposing it were true, what should be done?” I expect this would produce further writhing and denial.

  33. Keith Harding
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:32 | #33

    Just wondering if this is of any interest to anyone. Part of my thesis.

    Discuss the usefulness and limitations of the Internet in facilitating a democratic civic society which allows the interplay of different interests and positions in the public domain:

    Internet especially the blogesphere challenges the old ,hierarchical, top down filtration structure 1 of gate keeping, ie the admission of so called newsworthy information into mainstream media. The old editorial policy/public access to information process ,is seriously challenged by alternative media .

    As shoddy as the journalism is, Adam Nagourney’s article2 contains some interesting propositions. He claims that the advantage, in the Obama campaign seemed to lie, with the Democrats, who’s constituents are in the more inpovorished social stratas. Although this argument is not paticually well supported, it make for an interesting conjecture. The sailent question as always, is logistical. This execerp;

    “Republican presidential campaign, hopefully a re-election for John McCain, will need to be a billion-dollar affair to challenge what the Democrats have accomplished with the use of the Internet and viral marketing to communicate and raise money. 3”

    While fanciful, and vaccuous of contingent alternative hypothesis, this article gives rise to another possible political promotional tool. It does of course assume that only democrat voters can, or will ever be positivily affected by internet based campains, and that the Rebublicans will not respond with an equalising counter strategy. The tenor of the article simultaneously lays claim for both the Obama victory and all future victories in the name of ‘technology to, and for, the illiterate.” That said the genie apperas to be out of the bottle.

    Bartlett’s Blog ; reference to SA law tightening http://andrewbartlett.com/?p=7445

  34. Keith Harding
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:35 | #34

    OOPs! this is the correct reference ;]

    Adam Nagourney New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/us/politics/04memo.html

  35. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:39 | #35

    @Jim Birch

    The obvious question to denialists is “Just supposing it were true, what should be done?” I expect this would produce further writhing and denial.

    You were quite right at the beginning of your post and should have stuck with that. If you read Lomborg, you find out what happens when that proposition clashes with the interests of the elite. You insist adaptation is cheaper and more effective and claim that fighting malaria would make more difference to human welfare (presumably because the money would go to big pharmaceutical and chemical companies) on the basis that one excludes the other and despite the fact that you have hitherto shown no interest at all in abating malaria and still don’t now.

    In short, you aim for distraction. As someone who trains dogs, I can attest that this is a fabulous tactic for moderating undesirable behaviours — far better than confronting the dog directly — and I see no reason why it wouldn’t work in humans. Lomborg is a games theorist by training. Still, it does underline how the filth merchant apologists see the populace.

  36. Fran Barlow
    March 27th, 2010 at 15:42 | #36

    @Keith Harding

    Nice try …

    You should try hiding the fact that you would like us to do your work for you a little better than you have above.

    You’re supposed to pretend you are “just asking questions” and then offer some leading questions, supposedly prompted by some real events in the world. That can work pretty well until people cotton onto the game.

    Epic fail …

  37. March 27th, 2010 at 17:02 | #37

    Fran Barlow :
    In short, you aim for distraction.

    I might have to try this. Must be better for the old sanity.

  38. Bemused
    March 27th, 2010 at 17:23 | #38

    An interesting piece in the Melbourne Age which presents discussion at the Bushfire Royal Commission on the changed [lowered?] maintenance standards of the privatised power industry. http://www.theage.com.au/national/power-line-fire-time-bomb-20100326-r36z.html

    Prof Q has discussed privatisation issues in the past I recall but I don’t recall this specific issue.

    It seems to me that the issues are very real when companies are driven by cost cutting imperatives and regulation is weak.

  39. Donald Oats
    March 27th, 2010 at 17:28 | #39

    Rationalist :I am excited to be celebrating human achievement hour tomorrow at 8:30 pm. To celebrate I will turn on all of my appliances (within reason, I don’t want to trip the circuit breaker!). I am doing this to celebrate the wonders of human innovation and achievement (and capitalism) which allows me to have so many wonderful things devices at my fingertips.

    I’m not sure who came up with the cockammamy (spelling?) idea of “human achievement hour” as a means of thwarting the goals of Earth Hour, but I’m hardly surprised to see that Dennis Jensen of the Libs is supporting the “lights on” campaign.

    By all means celebrate human achievement, but just remember that it is in no way a case of “human achievement” on one side of the scales and “environmental issues” on the other. During Earth Hour, why not have a look up at the night sky – if not cloudy – and remind yourself that there is a lot more to this world than human achievement. The false dichotomy of human achievement vs environment is the one that makes a regular appearance in some arguments against the very idea of human-induced global warming.

    Knock yourself out, Rationalist :-)

  40. Louis Hissink
    March 27th, 2010 at 19:20 | #40

    FOIB

    The term agnostic might be suitable for some, but not me.

    I reject AGW for the simple reason that unlike Phil Jones and others in the climate science area, I include the electrical energy the Earth system receives via the solar electrical circuit that NASA is only now starting to become aware of.

    Plasma Universe theory and its related discliplines are published under the auspices of the IEEE, the largest scientific society on earth. Plasma Universe theory is an official science topic for the IEEE.

    There are millions of amperes of energy entering in and out of the earth via the polar
    Birkeland currents (which when the current density increases causes the auroras to be visible), as well as energy coming via the Van Allen Belts. The motive force for the Earth’s rotation are the polar Birkeland currents, and as those travel through the earth, allowing the earth to build up electrical charge (it behaves as a leaky capacitor) which then discharges periodically either as earthquakes, volcanic activity, or as lightning. These auroral electric currents are routinely measured by satellites.

    None of this energy is factored into any climate model, and the principal reason why climate science, when they do their inputs and outputs based solely on solar radiation and earth radiation, note the lack the energy sources to explain the observed thermal behaviour of the Earth.

    The AGW hypothesis is simply wrong because the science is incomplete. The sun is a variable star and while its visible output might not vary much, it’s output in the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum is enormous. The sun itself is powered by galactic sized electric currents, as is the whole solar system.

  41. Salient Green
    March 27th, 2010 at 19:34 | #41

    Where’s the Mortein?

  42. Louis Hissink
    March 27th, 2010 at 19:38 | #42

    I forgot that ignoring the electrical input, climate science looks for next obvious cause – humanity. When all else fails, blame humanity.

    How about scientific ignorance?

  43. Louis Hissink
    March 27th, 2010 at 19:40 | #43

    Salient Green, droll, very droll.

  44. Salient Green
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:01 | #44

    I have to say that simply consuming power unnecessarily is the most puerile, shallow and idiotic way to celebrate human achievment. The idea is a good one if done to celebrate good achievments and while burning coal to generate this waste of power may once have been a good achievment, it is no more.

    I believe up until now human achievment has been easy compared with what is to come. We have followed our natural inclination to explore, conquer, subdue, destroy, expand and exploit to arrive at our present civilization. It’s all been alot of fun this self indulgent cleverness. Unfortunately this cleverness has not been tempered by a lot of wisdom and the biosphere on which we clever apes depend is groaning under our onslaught.

    The next phase will have to be a fight for survival where we learn to live with less material goods and co-operate rather than compete with not only our own species but every other species on earth in a desperate and painful lesson in sustainability.

  45. Rationalist
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:04 | #45

    I am currently wasting the maximum power I can for human achievement hour.

  46. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:07 | #46

    @Salient Green
    LOL Salient…..there must be an effective pesticide out there somewhere. I know Gerard wanted to call in the psychiatrists for the mental illness in the right but I think you are on to something that might just work better.

  47. Salient Green
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:19 | #47

    Louis, the scientists blamed everything BUT humanity and it didn’t add up. We didn’t want Global Warming to be our fault. We didn’t mean it, honest. We were just having a lot of fun subduing nature to our whims and desires. It’s been so easy shitting over the edge of the nest but it’s built up high and now it’s starting to slide back in on us. Of course some people can’t believe it’s our own shit. I bet your farts don’t stink Louis.

  48. Jill Rush
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:20 | #48

    Made me laugh Salient Green.

    Is Mortein up to the task though?Will Mortein add to global warming? How much energy does it take to make a can of Mortein. Could we give up Mortein for an hour?

  49. Salient Green
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:24 | #49

    Sorry JQ about the crudity but I have seen one too many of this guy’s post’s . Maybe I should just have observed earth hour and shut the lid on him Alice.

  50. Salient Green
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:45 | #50

    Jill, I use a Fly Gun. It can be a bit messy but in the interests of marital harmony I have learned to perform the executions discretely and to clean up immediately.

  51. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:45 | #51

    @Jill Rush
    LOL Salient. I couldnt help myself – Louis’s icon looks so much like Louie the fly! In fact Im sure it is…

  52. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:52 | #52

    What else is there to do but to sing the theme song..LOl
    “I’m bad, I’m mean and mighty unclean and Im afraid of no-one… except the man with the can of Mortein…..”

  53. Louis Hissink
    March 27th, 2010 at 21:12 | #53

    Unable to refute the science, Quiggins quols do the expected.

  54. Alice
    March 27th, 2010 at 21:16 | #54

    Just in case anyone has any doubt about the effectiveness of Mortein…

    Using scientific research methods of a similar calibre to the refuters, I have ascertained it is indeed Louis the fly that appears above

    http://www.mortein.com.au/louie_the_fly.php

  55. Louis Hissink
    March 27th, 2010 at 21:32 | #55

    well, it proves one thing, Quiggin’s trolls are expert in ad hominems, and incompetent in the argument. As Forrest Gump pointed out, stupid is as stupid does.

    Thanks John,

  56. bill
    March 27th, 2010 at 22:02 | #56

    Surely only AGW deniers can be trolls on warmist blogs? All seems a bit precious from someone who’s chosen Australia’s most famous pest as an icon!

  57. March 28th, 2010 at 00:10 | #57

    “There are millions of amperes entering in and out of the earth via the polar Birkeland currents…”

    To give readers an idea of the vast magnitude of electric charge we’re talking about here, to get a current of one million amperes would require 96 AA batteries.

  58. Donald Oats
    March 28th, 2010 at 00:37 | #58

    Louis Hissink The term agnostic might be suitable for some, but not me.
    I reject AGW for the simple reason that unlike Phil Jones and others in the climate science area, I include the electrical energy the Earth system receives via the solar electrical circuit that NASA is only now starting to become aware of.
    Plasma Universe theory and its related discliplines are published under the auspices of the IEEE, the largest scientific society on earth. Plasma Universe theory is an official science topic for the IEEE.
    …..
    The AGW hypothesis is simply wrong because the science is incomplete. The sun is a variable star and while its visible output might not vary much, it’s output in the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum is enormous. The sun itself is powered by galactic sized electric currents, as is the whole solar system.

    [My emphasis and ellipsis]

    I’d love to see the results of your cliimate model with these effects included. Even a theoretical model that allows incorporation of this electrical energy would be good. Heck, how about a set of measurements of the net flux into the Earth system, as a starting point? Then we can compare it with all of the other known net fluxes and see if it is of the right magnitude to be relevant…

  59. Donald Oats
    March 28th, 2010 at 00:39 | #59

    @Donald Oats
    I just re-read this, and…, no, I can’t say it, it is too cruel.

  60. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 07:09 | #60

    @Donald Oats
    I cant help myself Don – Louie the Fly, Louie the Fly – straight from rubbish tip to you…

  61. Freelander
    March 28th, 2010 at 07:55 | #61

    Where do the come from?

  62. Donald Oats
    March 28th, 2010 at 08:32 | #62

    @Alice
    I reckon that must be Mortein’s most enduring ad, in one incarnation or another. Gee, I remember that on the old valve B&W TV (yes, we kept B&W until everyone else had colour, or at least it felt like it).

  63. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 09:02 | #63

    It was a good one Don (Louie the Fly ad) ! I think we did too (keep the B&W a while) – I watched colour in the shop when it first came in and remember the colour was pretty psychedelic. Sunset scenes were very orange.

  64. Chris Warren
    March 28th, 2010 at 09:22 | #64

    If you want to see the cause of climate change just review today’s ABC Inside Business episode.

    All of it was about exporting billions of dollars of gas and drilling for new coal resources, and calls for high rates of immigration to underpin the size of new projects. Naturally all this will be funded by foreign ownership, according to economist Adam Carr – “we are the lucky country” he opined – “we will bullet proof the economy”.

    Has Inside Business ever considered the CO2 emissions of of the troupe of corporate executives they constantly parade in front of us?

    So they bullet proof the economy by cooking the climate.

    Maybe we would be better off bullet proofing the climate and changing the economy.

  65. Jim Birch
    March 28th, 2010 at 10:31 | #65

    The sun itself is powered by galactic sized electric currents, as is the whole solar system.

    I’d like to retract what I said about delusionists and market supremacy theory. I’ve obviously missed the point.

  66. March 28th, 2010 at 10:50 | #66

    Here’s an article that shows Obama’s healthcare plan was touted as a good idea by a conservative think-tank a few years prior. More evidence that conservatives and social democrats are just two factions of the same “Big Government” political grouping.

  67. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 10:51 | #67

    Poor dead Louie…he couldnt get away… (someone stop me)

  68. March 28th, 2010 at 11:26 | #68

    “I am currently wasting the maximum power I can for human achievement hour.” It isn’t an exact analogy but not bad. I live on a farm, with my only source of water a tank fed by what rain I can collect on my roof. Just as well I am not a “rationalist” or during Water Week I would celebrate human achievement by turning on all my taps for a day or two, just to show that, being a mighty human, if I choose to drain my water tank I will, and those anti-human greenies better not try to stop me.

    Not an exact analogy of course, to make it more exact the water would need to run down into the valley and flood my neighbour’s homes.

    But what is wrong with these Bernardi groupies? Why the utter contempt for the world we live in? What on Earth does someone mean by calling himself “Rationalist” and then deliberately choosing to waste energy? On what possible level is this rational behaviour?

  69. Fran Barlow
    March 28th, 2010 at 11:49 | #69

    @David Horton

    I find it very telling.

    It has been observed often enough that the anti-mitigation delusionals repeatedly project onto us all of their own worst traits. They say we cherrypick data because that is what they do to get their way and cannot conceive otherwise. They say we are corrupt because they are. They say we oppose western civilisation and want to return to the usages of the pleistocene because they oppose community and favour every man for himself as a theory. They say this is a scam to make Al Gore rich because they fear their patrons will become less rich.

    Here in their response to Earth Hour with “Human Achievement” hour, we see the full flowering of this tendency. Energy is not to be consumed for its utility but for the cultural claim it makes. Energy consumption and its pernicious consequences are presented as an intrinsic good — as existential. You’re not truly human if you don’t waste stuff and foul your nest.

    At a time when the frontier between hominid and human was still murky, the creatures who were our ancestors probably worshipped the sun, bowing before it as the source of life, and yielding it burnt offerings to secure their lives. Much later on the timeline, animal and sometimes human sacrifices were offered to god consumed in fires thought to be a microcosm of the bounty of the almighty. And in today’s secular world, dupes and dissemblers alike avow that we should mark human achievement by acting to serve those whose asset it is — their patrons amongst the privileged filth merchants on the planet.

    They say AGW is a religion, but does their exist anywhere on the internet a clearer and more compelling admission that the claim of the misanthropic enemies of rational policy joins the most primitive metaphysical cultural origins of humanity to the ill-disguised commercial interests of the world’s filth merchants? I haven’t seen one.

    Where human achievement is to measured in filth, harm and loss to humanity, only the language of Orwell is apt.

  70. Ken
    March 28th, 2010 at 12:28 | #70

    The body of knowledge that now exists about climate is a human achievement of the greatest order. Dismissing the greatest issue of our age, attacking it’s solutions and celebrating the ability to make things worse looks to me like contempt for human achievement. And not all that rational.

  71. Donald Oats
    March 28th, 2010 at 12:43 | #71

    On Landline today it looks like some of the farmers in NE Victoria might be coming round to the realisation that AGW is in fact a reality. Laughably though, politics still prevents some farmers from admitting what they know is true – it is okay to say yeah climate change is real after all and we just have to get on with adapting to it, but it isn’t okay politically to go the next step and say that if the scientists got that right then maybe they are right that this time we are having an affect on the global climate. Whew!

    I’d better get the extra strength Mortein out :-)

  72. BilB
    March 28th, 2010 at 13:40 | #72

    LouisH@1/39,

    Hey Louis, I think that you are hissink into the wind, there. Sir Ian Axford the man who did much of the research and calculation that defines our understanding of the magnetosphere, the core of your anti argument, spent a great deal of his later years promoting awareness of Accelerated Global Warming and the immense dangers that our civilisation faces. His particular concern is for the immense amount of methane now being released from arctic thawing permafrosts. If Sir Ian is concerned to the extent of writing books and articles, I think that you should allow yourself a little room for doubt.

  73. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 13:47 | #73

    @Donald Oats
    Extra strength Mortein needed Don and if that fails I suggest NAFF OFF.

  74. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 13:50 | #74

    PS NAFF is short for No Ability in Facts or Figures.

  75. wilful
    March 28th, 2010 at 16:29 | #75

    Donald, I don’t think it’s particularly fair to suggest farmers are a uniform block of climate change deniers. plenty of farmers are deeply concerned about the issue – in fact, considering their average age, race and politics, I would suspect they’re well ahead of their city cousins.

    Back to high rise versus urban sprawl – this is a fallacy of the excluded middle. Good urban design to encourage compact cities should gravitate towards 3-6 storey housing.

  76. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 16:33 | #76

    @wilful
    Only if the transport is invested in as well Wilful – problem with State labor – it was all about stamp duty on real estate deals and not much more – nothing about accommodating the increased density Sydney has seen in the last ten years…thats why they are getting booted out soon (when even Roozendahl has been making dough from his developer mates its time for that bunch of self interested flies to get an extra strong dose of Mortein).

  77. March 28th, 2010 at 16:38 | #77

    “plenty of farmers are deeply concerned about the issue – in fact, considering their average age, race and politics, I would suspect they’re well ahead of their city cousins.” – afraid not Wilful. They have been badly led and badly advised, by people who invite, for example, Plimer to address their conferences. They are also constantly told that this is not climate change, just another drought. And that they are tough rugged Ozzie farmers who have dealt with droughts before.

    As well as the advice from farmers federations and National Party politicians, deniers to a man (and woman), and neoconservatives to a woman (and man), they also have a psychological block. Well, two. If it is just another drought, well then, what of it, they have the experience to get through another one. If it is a fundamental change in the climate then their whole world is going to irrevocably change (a scary prospect for anyone). And second, if they were to admit that climate change was a problem they would have to admit their own role in contributing to it, most notably through land clearance. And they certainly won’t do that. If you give yourself a dollar for every farmer you find who is a climate change denier you will be a very rich person very quickly.

  78. Fran Barlow
    March 28th, 2010 at 16:44 | #78

    @wilful

    That’s pretty much the height ceiling I was considering — much above six stories and you start running into entry and egress problems. Moreover, you start losing the sense of community and ownership of the space and it becomes too remote — and suddenly you’ve got Corbusier-style high-rise with nobody in particular engaged with maintenance of the space.

    About 5000 people is big enough to get the economies of scale you would want to support onsite services such as (laundry, childcare, perhaps a pre-school, convenience store, GP/Dentist), and social diversity.

  79. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 17:01 | #79

    Fran – if I might say so – in Sydney in middle rings there has been little thought given to open space needs, diversity in terms of eg dentists, shops, or childcare – in fact I would suggest there has been total lack of attention to planning except for land size requirements. Schools have been raized, university grounds have been raized, playing fields have been raized in favour of medium (some would call it high denisty development) – one can see this so obviously on the North Shore Pacific Highway corridor and on the Northern Beaches – with not one road widening or traffic solution offered.

    Its the planning Fran – it has been up the creek without a paddle. Its all been about robbing the public, using the land and environment court to steamroll local councils and ordinary citizens, using Landcom to do it, offering nothing in return to accommodate the higher densities and increased congestion and actively working against small strip amenities and shops (thanks to Mr Sartor – many residents are now corralled to congested “malls.” – but Mr Lowy is happy and thats all that counts for State Labor).

    You might have guessed by now – I hate them (NSW state labor) – but then so do lots of other people – I am not alone!

  80. Fran Barlow
    March 28th, 2010 at 17:19 | #80

    @Alice

    {regular spello: razed = levelled, from the Latin for scraping and shaving think razor, rashers of bacon etc …}

    I quite agree. If we are going to have quality housing with minimal transport for energy purposes and minimal car usage we need to have services close. Local laundry means an occasional facility can be intensively used and shared, reducing the space and plumbing per person (and complexity). Local childcare means that short trips are reduced and kids get more benefit from local peers. Local medical means more quality control and convenience.

    And yes I agree, the ALP is rubbish — though I understand they are trying a local older person’s housing project near the centre of Fairfield.

  81. March 28th, 2010 at 17:34 | #81

    Well done Fran – Alice you can raze a school, but not a ground or a field.

    And yes, the NSW ALP is rubbish, but wait till you see the neoconservatives of the Liberals and Nationals in power. You want buildings razed? You’ll get it. You want councils bulldozed, planning short circuited? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

  82. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 17:56 | #82

    @David Horton
    Thats why I think the electorate is predominantly stupid David – if they werent stupid they would leave tribalism behind and vote independants and greens in – but it wont happen. They obviously need another round of incompetence.

  83. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 17:58 | #83

    @Fran Barlow
    Congratulations Fran – you win the spelling bee.

  84. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 18:01 | #84

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran – NSW labor is also busy renting out public housing in the dept of public housing to the private sector when the waiting lists from people in real need are getting longer and longer – what else would you expect from a bunch of right wing self interested prigs?
    Oh yeah – it velongs to the government and people of NSW. Now how can we make a private buck from it to tip into our budget of incompetence (after we sold all revenue generating assets). I suppose the prigs still want income for their superannuation dont they?

  85. Alicia
    March 28th, 2010 at 19:21 | #85

    @Alice

    Alice, I’ve suspected this for some time in the public housing near where I live (Sydney). Can you say more?

  86. Alice
    March 28th, 2010 at 20:00 | #86

    Its in the news today Alicia…its a damn disgrace.
    Old news…tip of the icerberg..

    http://www.nswalp.com/blog/732/more-properties-in-millers-point-for-auction

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/private-tenants-offered-public-housing-despite-long-waiting-lists-20090607-bzvc.html

    Oh and this one Alicia – that they couldnt answer questions about likely because NSW Labor stamped “commercial in confidence” all over the paperwork and then denied FOIs.

    http://sydney-central.whereilive.com.au/news/story/housing-nsw-cashes-in-on-private-rents/

  87. SJ
    March 28th, 2010 at 20:01 | #87

    Hissink Says:

    There are millions of amperes of energy entering in and out of the earth via the polar
    Birkeland currents (which when the current density increases causes the auroras to be visible), as well as energy coming via the Van Allen Belts.

    An ampere is not a measure of energy. It is a rate of electron flow. 6.2E18 electron per second equals one ampere.

    The motive force for the Earth’s rotation are the polar Birkeland currents…

    There is no motive force for the Earth’s rotation. It doesn’t need one. Newton’s first law, and conservation of angular momentum keep the earth rotating all by itself.

    The AGW hypothesis is simply wrong because the science is incomplete.

    I don’t think you’re in any position to judge. You don’t appear to understand any science at all, even at the simplest levels. What do they teach you geologists these days?

  88. Donald Oats
    March 28th, 2010 at 22:19 | #88

    @wilful
    No, they aren’t uniform in their views; I know several who have an appreciation of a changing climate and what it is meaning to their farm livelihoods. The multi-generational farmers who have kept good records and who apply meteorological considerations are probably the ones best positioned to “get it”. There are still some farmers in my family, and it is fair to say that they have fairly different opinions upon the matter (I won’t say more otherwise I’ll be putting words in their mouths).

    I get a little annoyed when short-term self-interest displaces longer term interests. This is something that seems to happen a lot among agriculture participants, perhaps because politicians perpetually promise and provide relief for what is really just part of the risk of agriculture as a business. Perhaps as farmers lose their children to other occupational pursuits, the notion of business continuity and long-term planning becomes moot. I don’t know. Ironically, the manner in which Maywald got shafted in the recent South Australian election is an illustrative case of agriculture participants cutting off their collective nose to spite their face – going for what they thought was a short term gain. Is a now safe opposition member really going to get the attention of the Rann govenrment and buckets of cash to Maywald’s old seat? There is no leverage now, so I think not.

  89. Donald Oats
    March 28th, 2010 at 22:27 | #89

    @SJ

    Mind you, the said currents do provide the nice light shows in the polar skies. At least some part of the `Plasma Universe’ idea has some connection with reality, but that in no way justifies attempts to throw it out there as the new replacement for the original “it’s the sun” mantra, now that solar variation has been pegged fairly accurately. Once this one is put to bed I’m curious what will be next? Quantum coherence? Kaluza-Klein theory? The Mayans? Pyramids? Oh, the possibilities are endless.

  90. March 29th, 2010 at 01:32 | #90

    Jill Rush @ page 1 #15 wrote:

    There are good environmental reasons for high rise such as reducing the impact of increased populations on the total built footprint.

    In reality, both urban sprawl and high-rise are bad for the environment.

    Intuively it seems that the costs in energy and natural resources of building high rises as well as operating them must be enormous, so whether high-rises are less environmentally damaging than bulldozing the habitat of our critically endangered koalas is unclear.

    If Prime Minister Rudd was not so intent in rapidly increasing our population we would not have to face this impossible choice.

  91. March 29th, 2010 at 01:59 | #91

    @David Horton
    Farmers are no different to anyone else in regard to their responsibility for climate change. The NFF sees it as an important issue. Farmers spend quite a bit on research and a fair amount of this on research relating to climate change and environment; the R&D agencies as well as the industry organisations all see climate change as a priority issue. The GRDC for example is setting up a network of ‘climate champions’ who are farmers. The dairy industry is looking at farm management techniques suited to 2050 in a changing climate, when Victoria will be hotter and water more scarce.

    Farmers might be a soft target for some people. The farm sector might include many people who are conservative by nature, but it also includes a lot of people who care about and for the land, and who know they are being first affected and the hardest hit by climate change.

    (Among other measures, Australian farmers plant over 20 million trees each year, soley for conservation purposes.)

  92. March 29th, 2010 at 02:13 | #92

    In keeping with the spelling bee, that last line should read: ‘…solely for conservation purposes.’ :D

  93. Fran Barlow
    March 29th, 2010 at 05:21 | #93

    @daggett

    Intuitively it seems that the costs in energy and natural resources of building high rises as well as operating them must be enormous, so whether high-rises are less environmentally damaging than bulldozing the habitat of our critically endangered koalas is unclear.

    It’s not the least bit unclear.

    If Prime Minister Rudd was not so intent in rapidly increasing our population we would not have to face this impossible choice.

    Silly. Rudd is not responsible for human population on a world scale. While we should certainly help create a contrext in which population stabilises and declines, we should also take our share. That might well be part of it, but it won’t happen quickly.

  94. observa
    March 29th, 2010 at 06:35 | #94

    For those of you who engaged in symbolic gestures with your lights at home for Earth Hour, perhaps you might like to help the HIA out with a response to the following email I just sent them for their technical advice-

    I note in the article in Housing, the new requirement for a lighting plan to comply with the new 6 Star Energy Rating whereby it states- “All homes will also need to have a lighting design prepared which shows that the living areas of the home have a maximum of 5watts/m2, with 4watts/m2 permitted on verandahs and balconys and 3watts/m2 in garages.”

    Now in my garage/workshop at home I presently have installed 4 double fluoros, albeit on 2 separate switches ie 2 double fluoros to light each side of a 6 X 6 metre garage which is largely used as a workshop. Now that is an area of 36 squ metres with 8 X 36 watts of lighting, or 288watts in all, when the new Code would only allow 36 x 3 or 108 watts in total. Even with one bank switched on, 144 watts would exceed the new Code, but presumably I can have any amount of lighting plugged into as many power points as I like, not to mention any particular electrical equipment I desire. What is the point of such nonsensical rules for new housing, when I can get an electrician to fill the ceiling with any amount of lighting I desire, not to mention any I choose to attach to power points? Or will it become the case that in future no electrician will be able to install any more lighting that exceeeds the new Code? I ask because my son is an electrician working in my business. If that becomes the new rule of law for electricians, I can easily forsee what will occur in an electrical industry that is currently busy meeting the new consumer demand to fill home ceilings with a myriad of downlights. Electricians will simply install all the facilitating outlet plugs in the ceilings, even cutout the holes and leave the downlights with insulation covers attached, ready for the owners to plug them in and attach them as the electrician normally would, explaining how he is not permitted to exceed the Code’s new parameters. In fact this service could easily be offered to the new home buyer, whereby their planned layout is simply reduced in size for Building Approval, while their real plan is installed ready to go. This is a patently absurd situation.

    As an afterthought I forgot to ask what would be the situation whereby a home is filled with downlights exceeding the new Code, but is programmed under C-Bus type automation not to exceed the Code, but is quickly reprogrammed on key handover? You do have to wonder at the intelligence of the Earth Hour mindset in the corridors of power these days or are we to have a new plethora of lighting police knocking on doors?

  95. Alice
    March 29th, 2010 at 06:45 | #95

    @Sou
    LOL Sou – I ma the spelling bee looser here! (Really)

  96. wilful
    March 29th, 2010 at 10:05 | #96

    Of course, koalas aren’t considered critically endangered at all, despite the intensive, fact-free lobbying of the Australian Koala Foundation.

    It was Christopher Alexander in A pattern language that advocated for human scale but dense developments, of not more than four to six storeys. An applied construct of his ideas is in J.H. Crawford’s Car free cities, which I find idealistic, but inspiring.

  97. March 29th, 2010 at 10:35 | #97

    Fran Barlow @ 41 (writing in response to 38),

    We just may have irreconciliable differences here.

    For my part, I believe that the citizens of every sovereign nation should have the democratic right to determine their own population numbers and how many people from elsewhere should be allowed to settle on their territory. Clearly you, in common with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as well as former Prime Ministers Howard, Keating and Hawke, do not.

    In 1993, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke explicitly articulated the view to the contrary that you seem to have put here when he boasted to the Bureau of Immigration Research’s National Outlook Conference in Brisbane that his government had enforced “elite as opposed to popular views on immigration.”

    The biggest lie of immigration is that those pushing it are motivated by some form of altruism that the selfish and unenlightened majority of this country do not possess. This recent advertisement:

    http://investmentmentor.com.au/events/slipstream-population-growth/ [1]

    … for a seminar of land speculators gives a much more accurate idea of who it is that is selfish and who it is that is more likely to be acting out of altruism. It is only one of many examples of many I could give. To quote from Nick Lockhart, the featured speaker at a nationwide series of seminars, now underway, which commenced on 9 March and will end on 26 May:

    Dear friend,

    I’ve never seen a more lucrative time to invest in real estate as I do today. There’s a new wave of opportunity – an unprecedented “mega trend”‘ – that can potentially set you up in retirement more than anything I’ve ever seen in my 10 plus years as an industry professional and as an investor.

    Well, a new mega-trend is now taking plance in real estate and in our economy. It’s a development of such wide ranging consequence there’s nothing the government can do to stop it (and they don’t want to). This new mega-trend represents an opportunity of such far reaching possibilities that I believe it to be the single greatest investment opportunity of our lifetime.

    Martin Bell of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Population Reserach calls it “riding the first wave of the ‘Demographic Tsunami’”.

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is actively doing all he can to drive this mega trend forward. (my emphasis)

    My series of talks are titled:

          “How to Prosper In The Slipstream Of Population Growth”:

    Boom Factor #1:The Surge In Immigration Will DeliverUnprecedented Opportunity For RealInvestors Who Are Prepared

    As you may have read in the media and recently on the 20/20 Report, Australia’s population is about 22 million. By 2025 that number is expected to hit 35 million – a 59% increase.

    These are consequences that also represent a lucrative investment in real estate due to the surge in demand for housing. At the “How to Prosper In The Slipstream Of Population Growth” I’ll be delving into the implications population growth will have on your retirement portfolio.

    And the Rudd Government supports a “Big Australia”. Kevin Rudd wants to open the floodgates to our shores. He wants more immigrants. He wants to expand our population.

    And you and I both know, when the Prime Minister really wants something, it’s almost impossible from preventing(sic) it taking place.

    What effect will the pouring in of immigrants have on real estate values? I can only draw one conclusion – PRICES WILL GO UP!

    The claimed necessity for increasing population, that is, of an aging baby boomer workforce is an obvious self-serving lie cooked up by the property lobby to justify endless population growth. After all, who will look after the immigrants when they retire?

    The costs we are paying now for population growth — increased electricity and water charges and council rates, parking costs, road tolls, fines for traffic infringements, registration, the $15 billion Queensland fire sale, the accelerating depleting of our endownent of natural resources, despoliation of natural habitat and water catchments and underground aquifers, etc., etc. — not to mention housing costs already hyperinflated in the past to line the pockets of the likes of Nick Lockhart and his adherents, are vastly more than what we would need to pay for the expected larger numbers of retirees.

    Dr Jane O’Sullivan has torn the economics used to justify population growth into tiny shreds in her Online Opinion article “The downward spiral of hasty population growth” of 8 Mar 10.

    When we cast aside the “aging baby-boomer” argument and other fraudulent economic and ethical justifications for population growth and the claimed lofty “Big Australia” an “Population is Destiny” (www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26093478-16382,00.html) motivations, we are confronted with the stark, ugly underlying truth about population growth: It is no more than the crudest and grubbiest imaginable device to allow a selfish greedy minority to profit at everyone else’s expense.

    In “Overloading Australia” Mark O’Connor explained it thus:

    Sometimes, potential home-buyers will put off buying if prices are too high, and this will, in time bring land prices down. Organised speculators have, however, found two ways around this local defense. By lobbying for high immigration they can import buyers and bypass the recalcitrant local without dropping their prices. Secondly, through the internet, they know they have access to a global market of investors who know that land prices rise fase in countries with soaring populations. (p122 in both the 2008 and 2010 editions)

    And, as I mentionend above, we all pay a lot, lot more to give this unconscionable minority in our midst the priviledge of being able to line their pockets at their expense.

    The unsettling reality of today is that virtually all but a few of our political representatives are there to serve this minority, rather than the broader community.

    And if this is not changed, most of us will find ourselves little better off than impoverished citzens of a crowded Third World countries.

    Those who advance so-called humaitarian and equity justifications for high immigration, whether they realise it or not, are merely helping to maintain the smokescreen that allows this looting operation to continue.

    Footnotes

    1. Note: the above web page, in spite of appearing to be text is all jpeg images, necessiting my having to manually type it out.

  98. wilful
    March 29th, 2010 at 11:29 | #98

    Well I happen to think that population debates are essentially unresolvable, because there are excellent, but almost unprovable, arguments from both camps. daggett, you have completely failed to grasp the moral debate from the other side, that is unconscionable for Australia to have such a small but affluent population sitting here complacently lecturing the world. There are plenty of people on the left who think it is a matter of solidarity to welcome as many immigrants as possible.

    (me personally, I’d like Australia to manage for a slow curve to 28 million and round off about there, sitting on the fence or in the sensible middle of the debates.)

  99. Fran Barlow
    March 29th, 2010 at 11:53 | #99

    @wilful

    And as per form, Daggett is off on a gish gallop. Of course, in principle, we should have “democratic control” over the population we have, but what could this mean in practice? You can’t/shouldn’t enforce birth control. You can’t and shouldn’t stop people visiting, or opt out of humanitarian commitments. Moreover, in what way does it serve humanity that one lot of people should have privileged acccess to resources when another lacks them?

    Anyone with a serious regard for the wellbeing of humanity and an attachment to equity should support every jursidcition sharing the burdens of looking after humanity. If the most cost effective way is to bring a share here, so be it. for all his radical posturing, the logic of Daggett’s position is that of the xenophobic Potemkin Village.

    Like many who love conspiracy, Daggett reads backwards from interest to motive. If property developers benefit from population increase, then this muust be the motive for having it. If one doesn’t like them, then this suffices to oppose it. It doesn’t occur to him that it is property development that should be restrained.

    Curious chap.

  100. Salient Green
    March 29th, 2010 at 12:01 | #100

    I don’t believe Daggett has failed to grasp anything. He is dealing with the domestic overpopulation and who is to blame domestically for the current population growth. I can’t see anywhere in his posts where Australia ‘complacently lectures the world’.

    The fact is that the baby bonus plus immigration account for pretty much all of Australia’s population growth and both are government policy and the government has within it’s power to un-make them government policy.

    There is no moral dilemma in Australia having a so called small population because in the context of the arid and infertile nature of most of the Australian continent and the surrounding seas, we do not have a small population.

    The real moral debate needs to be about the theft of resources and quality of the natural world from future generations because our generation is too damned greedy and indolent to make sensible and disciplined choices about our over population and it’s effect on the natural world.

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