27 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Went to very well attended forum at UQ on environmental threats from coal seam gas and coal mining.

    Seems fairly grim – main critical theme “approvals have been given but we don’t have the evidence to say what the damage will be”.

    Eg mining of very fertile black soils including vertisols is proposed, but Prof Clive Bell a soil scientist with 35 years of QLD mining soil rehabilitation experience – said no one in Australia -or the world- had successfully rehabilitated cropping use on vertisols after mining. It would take years to prove that rehabilitation could be done. Nevertheless approvals may/have been given.

    Similarly modelling of the cumulative impacts of 40000 CSG bores on water tables and salinity has not been done and an “adaptive” approach to problems will be taken -ie approve the extractions and “adapt” to the food and water productivity damage done after the fact.

    Only 2.2% of QLD is being cropped.
    Climate change is expected to aggravate food and water supply in Australia.

    The foreign mining billions sheltered behind a single Australian-accented lobbyist.(In my opinion lobbyists -internal or otherwise – should not be accepted by media or key public fora as substitutes for CEOs or Board Chairs). Pehaps though the mining coys felt their interests were appropriately represented by the various state government departments.

    Only one politician – Greens senator-elect Larissa Waters.

    World population growth was mentioned as a reason for protecting food and water. More mouths to feed are added each day in Australian, many at the behest of mining companies.

    A lawyer panned the approval and appeals process as tin-pot. It was suggested that an independent body along the lines of the Murray Darling Basin Authority was required

  2. Perhaps the trick is to pre-emptively estimate the damages claim size that local residents may possibly file in the future as a class action, and get a big law firm to publish that in the newspapers. Fantasy I know, but boy I bet it would cause any coal-seamer CEO to take pause. The “business case” should take into account all risks to the project, including operational risks such as reputational and legal. But of course they don’t…

  3. Everyone is operating out of selfish, short term interests. Farmers in the Murray basin don’t give a damn about environmental sustainability. Farmers in Queensland never gave a damn about unsustainable clearing and still don’t. Overseas multinationals dont give a damn about Australia or its environment. City dwellers dont give a damn about anything but their jobs and their over-sized SUVs and 4WDs.

    Nothing will change this trajectory. The carrying capacity of the wrecked environment will plummet. Billions will die. The remnants of the human species (if any) will once again, perforce, live in balance with the environment.

  4. DonaldO 3,

    I think that you are on th right track. Consider the James Hardy issue. It was not the government that achieved compensation for the most direcly affect victims of asbestos, it was the dogged determination of one particular guy who was soon to die.

    The goverment cannot be trusted to administer its own regulations. If this drilling contaminates the artesian basin that cannot be undone. The game plan for the miner here is to extract the profit and be well clear before the contamination becomes apparent as artesian water takes a very long time to flow any great distance. Profit made, bonusses paid, performance kudos accumulated, new higher paying CEO position attained, separation growing. Then…discovery, shock horror, new CEO carries can (Obama fassion) for horrendous environemntal mess, government blames sloppy industry practices.

    The reality is that it is the government’s fault (little secret here…the government…that is us,….so we are to blame).

    And on the confabulated results. There is a lot of that shonky suedo science doing the rounds. There is a good chunk of it over at BNC by my evaluation, and in John Mackay’s “book”.

  5. @BilB
    Yeah, once the mining is underway it is virtually impossible to stop it before serious damage to water is discovered and proven repeatedly to be real. By then the milch cow is nearly dry and the holding company is registered overseas.

  6. Hat-tip. Felton, near the Condamine River at the sources of the Darling, is about to be invaded by mining parasites looking to harvest high-ash coal and swallow as much water in the process as all of Toowomba. Apparently about 1 million tons of CO2 will be released in the harvest and unspecified chemicals get a shot at contaminating water tables.

    Apparently the farmers whose land is being occupied can protest but once it goes to Land & Environment the miners get access. The miners can decide whether objectors are allowed legal advice.

    Key words: Friends of Felton; Lock the Gates

  7. @jquiggin

    When are we going to read a doom-and-gloom story on the blog now that Cancun talks are coming up? And why has the world gone eerily silent on CAGW? Must be the quiet after the storm in a teacup.

  8. That is because, sHx, everyone who is going to do anything about it, is. And those who aren’t are keeping their mouthshut, that is why you haven’t heard from Julia.

    Meanwhile CO2 levels which were 350ppm inOctober 1989 are now 387 ppm


    so by 2030 it will be 430ppm. I think by then the storm will well and truly out of your tea cup, and will be sucking your house up either as smoke or in little bits, and you will get to experience the new millenium mass devastion insurance experience, as they are in Christchurch now.

  9. From the one email out of dozens that I have received form Julia Gillards office

    “My starting point for Federal Labor’s approach is that climate change is real and it is caused to a SIGNIFICANT EXTENT by human activity” my emphasis

    Read the weasel words. The email goes on to talk about new coal stations being required to retrofitable with CCS.

    Is that commitment? I think not.

  10. And why has the world gone eerily silent on CAGW?

    Panem et circenses

    And Murdoch and other elite plutocratic activists are disproportionately influencing the agenda.


  11. @BilB
    Dont even mention the damn redhead. She just canned an equal pay provision. Pathetic. Welcome to the moderne labor party in Australia (the cow).

  12. @BilB
    Oh Bilb – weasel words/ “moving forward we are dropping the environmental agenda and we are dropping the equality of pay for women – in fact the onlyu agenda we are considering – moving forward – is to keep out of trouble with our donators and make sure we earn a salary commensurate with private sector executives – who earn too much – we know – but we want the same..”

    Nothing is happening in Labor. In fact Labor is a disgrace. People who believe in a fair go for working people in this country (if they arent all dead) may not like the liberals but labor seriously needs to go and all labor voters should vote green. These Labor politicians are just despicable both at State and Federal level. They must have mistaken themselves for part of the ruling elite.

  13. The NBN intrigues me.

    $43b is bandied about however this was a figure based on the worst possible scenario for the NBN. Why people continue to use this is beyond me as the NBN will cost a lot less than this.

    People harp on about competition. I remember reading the Shrill Princess at Catallaxy talking about the lack of competition. When a person tried to gain an answer to competition under the present system it was like pulling teeth.
    Finally there was an admittance yes there was no competition at present.

    If there is no competition under a copper network and this is a lot cheaper than Fibre then why would anyone believe there would be/can be competition under fibre.

    If copper is more than sufficient then why is Telstra putting in fibre to all new customers for quite some time?

    Finally a Cost benefit analysis will not solve anything. The cost isn’t that hard to get however the benefits of the NBN will never be accepted by the critics.

  14. Anyone with a serious concern about AGW (aka anthropogenic global warming) has probably read of the US Republican senators curiously named “Doolittle and Delay”, which is exactly what these two conspired to do. Tom Delay, arguably the ringleader of the do-nothing brigade, has copped a guilty verdict for money laundering. Lovely fellow, and that’s all I’ll say about character.

  15. Aaaannndddd to end on a high-note this week, with “It reads like irony but…” segment, going to dude Chris Mitchell, the Editor in Chief of the Australian newspaper:

    The editor-in-chief of The Australian is suing a journalism academic over claims published on Twitter that he told a staff member what to write in regards to the paper’s coverage of climate change.

    Read it and laugh or weep.

    These days, it seems, that in some places, you can quote-mine, mis-represent, plagiarise, or just make sh*t up, and have it published as a tacitly stated “opinion piece” (on climate change from a profeshunnall schkeptic pershpektiff), but don’t you dare do the same elsewhere on the (free) Web!
    Oh I am explicitly not referring to any particular newsprint or other media with this last statement. Tacitly, however, who can tell…

  16. The demise of the Euro is allowing Ben to play monetary magician. Alchian was right – money is that commodity entering into an exchange matrix has the least overall value variance. Even in post WW1 Germany fiat money remained the currency. Think about what Armen was really saying.

  17. A question about the Australian economy:

    I just noticed that (so says the OECD) you all have had a deficit on current account for 48 out of the past 50 years, averaging 3% of GDP by my calculation. What’s that all about? And is there any reason one shouldn’t draw the general lesson, as I’m inclined to, that large current account balances can be quite sustainable?

  18. Donald Oats, reading yesterday morning that witnesses and recordings bear out Asa Wahlquists version rather than Mitchells.
    The next time Mitchell tells the truth will be the first time.

  19. @Lemuel Pitkin

    The words “large current account” are vague.

    A large stable current account (as %of GDP), is sustainable if exports and exchange rate is sustained.

    A large stable current account is not sustainable if exports or the exchange rate falter.

    A generally increasing current account (as a % of GDP) is not sustainable, under any reasonable conditions. It must be countered by falling factor shares for labour, unemployment, or in the final act, inflation and printing money.

    In short, you cannot look at current account in isolation, but must look at general macroeconomic imbalances as in Llewellyn, J. et al (ISBN 0710206003) Chart 3.2 [p40f].

  20. Thanks for the reply, Chris. Seems a little circular, tho: deficits are sustainable if they are sustained.

    I guess what I’m wondering is if Australia can be offered as support for the view that current account deficits on the order of 3% of GDP are not a problem and can continue indefinitely, or if there is some special factor(s) at work that make the Australian case not relevant for other countries.

  21. @Lemuel Pitkin

    Please read my text. Deficits are not sustained “if they are sustained”. I do not know what this means.

    Deficits are sustained if A and if B.

    A – is exports.

    B – is exchange rate.

    There is no circularity, and I do not know how this obtains from the above.

    As I have already mentioned, you cannot view the current account in isolation from general macroeconomic imbalances.

    I assume you did not read the relevant literature I pointed to. It is in google books.

  22. Like most people on the left (and quite a few on the right it seems) I’m pleased Australia only got one vote at FIFA. YeeHa!

    It was regrettable that $45m was spent on this fandango. On the day I heard this I heard a report from Sind Province, Pakistan. A BBC reporter who had covered the story of a baby born 3 months ago during the flight from the floods had survived … but whose family had no access to government aid, and were, as the winter approached, considering which of the family members would miss out on the blankets while sleeping rough in the ruins of their house.

    Apparently they didn’t have enough money to bribe the government official so they could register for aid. Like many others, they had no choice but to make do with the sub-potable flood waters to drink, cook and wash with. So while the FIFA bidders had money aplenty with which to bribe, the people of Sind province could please themselves about how they survived and which of them would. There wasn’t even one vote at FIFA for them. That makes sense doesn’t it?

    Isn’t it time that the working people of the world began to assertively reconfigure how the wealth they produce is used? I’d say so.

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