Weekend reflections

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

11 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. With the change from global warming to climate change almost complete, I must say it does produce some brilliant headlines http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,21831629-5005962,00.html
    Meteorologist Matt Pearce’s conclusion is equally tautological but I guess his Argentinian counterpart wouldn’t want to blame global cooling and the absence of warm fronts for this
    http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/05/29/argentina.cold.ap/
    Best to blame it on climate change I suspect.

  2. I hope the PM’s carbon trading task group never have to visit a waxing salon. They’d spend the first year writing essays about ‘deepening engagement’ and ‘aspirational goals’. I would have thought that lieutenants of steel could come up with something like ‘5% cuts from July 1st 2008, then it gets serious’.

    The PM clearly isn’t fair dinkum. However I’d almost bet the dams won’t make it back to 50% full by year’s end so I think he may have miscalculated the public’s need for action.

  3. The most convincing line from the meteoroligist on global warming, in the news report linked by observa, must surely be this:

    Sydney had its warmest May since 1958, but could have hit an all-time high if it wasn’t for a spell of cool nights in the past week.

    I grew six feet during my first eighteen years on the planet, and would be the talkest man in the world now were it not for the fact that I then stopped growing!

  4. I too find it annoying that everyone reports the warmest month since …, the coldest day since…, etc. Weather is on people’s minds. But the warmest May ‘since 2004’ or ‘in seven years’ is (a) really typical of the media and (b)not worthy of inclusion in any discussion of climate change or global warming. Weather and climate are just not the same thing! Ergo, nothing is proved or disproved.

  5. Yeah Tom, sometimes you get so sidetracked by the power of the headline issue and the lead in, it’s so easy to overlook the poignant, pithy analysis in the middle.

  6. The World Resources Institute has a nice tool for comparing countries emissions as well as looking at emissions by sector, gas etc. If Australia reduces its emissions by 60% by 2050, they will still be higher on a per capita basis than the present emissions of Austria, and only slightly less than the present emissions of the EU.

  7. I missed the special on ABC TV a few weeks ago called “Crude”, and have spent the last few hours going though the material in the Flash presentation currently on the ABC Science site. A quote:

    It took a super-greenhouse earth to create our richest oil deposits. Ironically, by using oil up we may recreate the toxic conditions necessary to form new supplies. Oil lives on. Will we?

    OMG, the Scientologists were right…

    Of course, I’m only joking. But this could really be much more serious than most of us believe. It makes Al Gore’s little documentary seem positively understated.

  8. …and by the way observa, the term “Climate Change” was pushed by propagandists (Frank Luntz in particular) in the Republican party in an attempt to obfuscate the problem…

    You can read about the modus operandi here. The nature of Frank Luntz’s spin doctoring is summed up well in his Wiki entry.

    The main goal (of changing the language) was to suggest that human activity had nothing to do with “Global Warming” (i.e. factors outside of human control cause the fluctuations, and are causing the current changes)… I’m sure JQ has already covered this line of argument many times.

    It was ironic that (in a documentary on SBS) this propogandist then turned around and stated that the problem was too big to be used as a political football.

    While I agree that the term “Climate Change” is now much more readily accepted as the short term result of anthropogenic activity, we should in no way be less alarmed. Maybe we should be using the term “Catastrophic Climate Change”.

  9. Both Mankiw and Rodrik have taken this test. The former came out on the libertarian right, the latter on the libertarian left (that’s where I am too – though more extreme/utopian in both directions!). All of our current political leaders are in the authoritarian-right quadrant (surprise, surprise). John Howard and Tony Blair are almost on top of each other! What was that I heard about democracy giving us a choice?

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