45 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Latest CO2 reading for September is here: 401.

    This is an increase of over 3 parts per year. It also shows there has been absolutely no useful impact from anything any government or authority has done for over the last 30 years.

    Coal and oil companies are happily developing new fields and everyone except maybe Hamilton and Karoly are looking the other way.

    It is probably too late now and so simple physics will determine the fates of our grandchildren.

  2. @Ivor
    Your #1

    Yeah, but which physics, Ivor ? The ordinary physics of climate as it’s now understood, or the physics of geoengineering (aka ‘climate intervention’) as it is yet to be researched ?

  3. I predict the same “success”, that is to say total abject failure, for geo-engineeering as occurred for CCS (carbon capture and storage). A liking for high impact techno-fixes rather than low-impact, nature-friendly fixes is a general characteristic of mainstream capitalism; though there are exceptions like solar power which we could characterise as relatively low impact and relatively high-tech. There is hope in the technological deck but capitalism is systemically incapable of playing the right cards correctly, meaning on time and to real environmental requirements, as opposed to ideologically implementing only that which is in the interest of the 0.01% of people in the plutocracy.

  4. Even allowing for our emergence from a significant El Nino the CO2 figures are very disturbing, suggesting no effect on mitigation has been effective as Ivor states. Do we have the stomach for serious action? I doubt we do. Emissions by airlines was discussed by industry body IATA in Montreal a couple of weeks ago. I could find no media coverage of this supposedly important issue – airlines contribute some 7% (and climbing) of emissions – suggesting a ‘blind spot’ that no one wants to really think about.

  5. Ivor said:

    It also shows there has been absolutely no useful impact from anything any government or authority has done for over the last 30 years.

    This is pretty much true of any government activity – it tends to make things worse if anything. Why people here still have so much faith in it is strange indeed.

    In fact fracking has probably done more to cut emissions in the US ( and the world if it were allowed ) than all other efforts combined.

  6. Perhaps we are approaching the point where rates of emissions stop growing – but at the highest rates of emissions to date – with warming feedbacks causing some carbon sinks to slow their take-up and others to turn into CO2 sources; less emissions won’t automatically result in lower atmospheric concentrations or even their stabilisation.

    Politically we are nearing the effective end of overt climate science denial – to be replaced with covert climate science denial and deliberate obstruction disguised as other, “higher priorities” like putting energy security first. Significant emissions reductions without government support is possible – renewable energy has passed significant price barriers and will be taken up even without it – but support would really help… and with actual government obstruction?

    I’m curious – as in like watching a massive car pile up whilst being in one of the cars – just how our “we accept science on climate and intend to sign on to the Paris agreement” LNP government will successfully weasel out and manage to blame Labor and Greens in the process. I suspect they are quite capable of entirely insincere signing whilst simultaneously avoiding actual policy measures that would make any real difference to emissions – and doing the difficult groundwork for serious emissions reductions in the future is quite clearly not part of their agenda. Entirely up to our States?

  7. Thanks again John for the opportunity.
    Briefly Brandis is at it again, “obfuscation” as descried by Senator Watts, in a roving and lengthy discourse before the Senate Committee enquiring into George’s alleged deception of the Senate. I have my own view he clearly did. What I also observed is the pathetic performance before the same committee by both the Qld. LNP Senators MacDonald and O’Sullivan in their disgraceful attempt to rattle and bulldoze Gleeson [which attempt clearly failed] in their amateurish, boorish and obviously pre-planned cross-examination of him. My instinct is their preconcert was obviously based on their perception of Brandis’ “predicament”. An admission for George by their disgraceful conduct. One example was MacDonald’s cross-examination to the effect “it is a simple question are you a barrister or not ?” If they had just listened to what Gleeson was saying it is not as simple as that his status is by virtue of the Statute creating his position and regulating his duties but Ian and Barry did not want to hear a rational answer as this would have exposed their corrupt purposes to gut Gleeson’s evidence at the enquiry. Do not forget George’s and Tony’s attempt to “get” Professor Gillian Triggs was again a failure. He is the AG and supposed to be upholding the Rule of Law and its institutions.

  8. @John Quiggin

    I’ve already pointed several times out that it makes no sense to use a noisy measure of cumulative emissions to assess what is happening to current emissions.

    This is standard smoke and mirrors.

    The continuous rise in atmospheric CO2 exceeds any level of so-called noise.

    The data does show what is happening in current emissions in fine detail and the obvious conclusion cannot be denied based on spin from the commercial-academic establishment.

  9. @Ken Fabian

    Perhaps we are approaching the point where rates of emissions stop growing

    Huh? THis is denialism.

    Perhaps we are approaching the point where rates of emissions increase growing?

    GHGs are increasing at an exponential rate, completely undisturbed by any pretend policies from those who run public agendas.

    See: https://www.co2.earth/annual-ghg-index-aggi

  10. J.Q.,

    Well, you are just plain wrong on this one J.Q. Read the whole five point argument below, please.


    Point 1 – This is NOT a noisy signal. It rises steadily with just seasonal fluctuations.

    Point 2 – Yes, people like me do understand the difference between total GHG emissions and human GHG emissions. You have incorrectly asserted in the past that we don’t but we do.

    Point 3 – Human GHG emissions might now be about flat and thus may have peaked. I get this.

    Point 4 – If point 3 is true then the continued rise comes from dangerous feed-backs already engendered in the full system. Thawing tundra emissions, forest fires including arboreal forest fires, heating oceans giving up CO2 and other effects will be involved.

    Point 5 – Given the above points it is clear we are not taking action nearly fast enough. Human GHGs must decline rapidly and in an emergency program manner to offset these other serious feed-backs.

    I challenge you to refute my above 5 point argument. Frankly, I think my argument is watertight.

  11. Point 1 is self-contradictory. Seasonal fluctuations are noise
    Point 2 I didn’t say anything about this
    Points 3-4 agreed
    Point 5 We need to reduce emissions as fast as we can. Whether that will be enough remains to be seen.

  12. Ivor, you should take a course in calculus to see where you are going wrong. Nothing more from you on this topic, please, and try to be more civil in general.

  13. @Ivor

    Nothing further from you on this topic, please. Any further dispute about my commenting rules will lead to a ban. If you don’t like the service here, you’re welcome to a full refund of the admission price on the way out.

  14. @John Quiggin

    Well, that looks like substantial agreement. I stand corrected on the technical meaning of “noise” in this context. In retrospect, what I meant by “it’s not a noisy signal” is that the signal is not so noisy that the trend is not clear. To put it without a double negative, the noise is relatively small compared to the clear trend line. To repeat myself here, the trend is clear and the noise minor in the context of this particular trend line.

  15. @Ikonoclast

    A final clarification. The *long run* trend is clear, and important evidence of human caused growth in CO2 concentrations, but the noise is huge compared to the annual growth rate.

    Worse, Ivor was using the data to comment on the second derivative, that is, the change in the annual growth rate from one year to the next. A peak in emissions (net of absorption by sinks) corresponds to a change in the growth rate of concentrations. That’s just about impossible to discern in data like this.

  16. @Tim Macknay,

    I posted a comment on the previous Monday Message Board of 10 October in response to your concern about President Kennedy’s role in regard to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion here at 11:07PM last night. It was not published immediately, but placed under moderation until this morning, for reasons that are not clear to me.

    Below is a more complete version of an earlier post I had also made about President Kennedy on October 17th, 2016 at 17:59 on the same Monday Message Board.

    Certainly President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was not a criminal. To the contrary, I believe that the evidence shows that he was the kindest, most intelligent and most courageous person to have risen to such high office that this world has ever known. Consider these facts:

    1. On no less than three occasions, as shown in JFK and the Unspeakable – Why He Died and Why it Matters (2008) by James W. Douglass, he over-ruled his armed services Joint Chiefs of staff, when they wanted to launch a first-strike nuclear attack against the Soviet Union. (For this alone, we are almost infinitely indebted to him.)

    2. In 1957, as Senator he passed a resolution that made the United States change from supporting France’s colonial war against Algeria to becoming neutral. After he was elected President, the United States supported the Algerian FLN resistance movement against the French colonialists.

    3. As attested to on Sunday, September 4, 2011, by Mr. Vo Hong Nam, the youngest son of the late Vo Nguyen Giap (1911-2013) “President Kennedy was withdrawing from Vietnam in late 1963” and had planned to have completely withdrawn from Vietnam by 1965. Vo Nguyen Giap led the Viet Minh armies which defeated the French colonialists at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and he was commander-in-chief of the Vietnamese armed forces during the subsequent war against America.

    And I could write so much more. JFK is one example of how, even in a corrupt political system, contrary to “established wisdom”, decent people with integrity can still rise all the way to the top.

    The “established wisdom” of many who purport to be for progressive change and against the wealthy elites is that anyone, who makes it all the way to the top, as JFK did, is, by definition, corrupt.

    Truly corrupt politicians are seldom bothered by this, because whenever a politician, who genuinely wishes to challenge the vested interests of those they serve, makes it to the top, they themselves can more easily falsely label that politician ‘corrupt’.

  17. World is Now More Politically Polarized On Climate Change Than Ever Before … As a society we move one step forward and for some political reasons we go two steps backwards.

    In the 1990s major reforms put an end to broad-scale land cleaning in NSW. But the laws are being reworked… http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/4225933/an-age-of-restoration-or-an-age-of-degradation-opinion/

    Is Climate change real? Just ask 97% of the top climate scientists or any national science academy in the world. https://realitydrop.org/#myths/85?article=61841&user=G%20TB

    Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility – In One Pie Chart
    Polls show that many members of the public believe that scientists substantially disagree about human-caused global warming. The gold standard of science is the peer-reviewed literature. If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature.

  18. 1. Human activity is emitting huge amounts of CO2.
    2. Point out CO2 levels have not declined during while human activity has been emitting huge amounts of CO2.
    3. Claim because CO2 levels have not declined while human activity has been emitting huge amounts of CO2, reducing CO2 emissions is pointless.
    4. ????
    5. Profit.

  19. James, I’m not going to run any of your conspiracy theory material on this blog. To spell it out, any comment by you suggesting wrongdoing by anybody (including, but not limited to, the US government) will be deleted, and further attempts to post such material will lead to a ban. If you want to comment on policy issues, feel free, but stick to the issues.

  20. @Jozef

    “As a society we move one step forward and for some political reasons we go two steps backwards.”

    That occurs when the political and plutocratic elites are not answerable to the people. It happened under the Ancien Régime and it happens today under late stage capitalism. Since about 1974 (after the oil crisis of 1973), the monetarists and market fundamentalists have been rolling back social democracy. Wealth and power are concentrating at the top once again. Matters are once again close to a revolutionary crisis. “Close” is a relative term historically speaking. Maybe this system can persist for a few more decades. It’s hard to predict timing. But various unsustainable economic, social and environmental trends indicate this system cannot persist long term.

  21. @Moz of Yarramulla

    The authors first classify the “Homo economicus” model as a ‘textbook’ model in economics and then call it the “canonical” model in economics. It is not canonical (see literature on interdependent preferences – sometimes called ultruistic preferences and see the literature on satiated preferences, to give two examples). Moreover, even in first year undergraduate textbook model, individuals’ preferences are defined over physical goods and services and not over payoff in monetary terms. (Rationality is defined in terms of actions – choices – being consistent with preferences.) Their notion of ‘economic man’ is akin to the assumed behaviour of a corporate decision maker where Fisher Separation applies; another special case.

  22. @Jozef

    An excellent insight into how our keepers drive agendas with a mix of funny polls and scares while jockeying for power.

    However there was a link to a good article looking at non-tax possibilities, noting that the argument for a carbon tax is just that it is the “most efficient” based on arguments of economists.

    So it is our economists who have mislead society and led everyone down a blind alley.

    All this just demonstrates that despite all the talk-talk we get from our overpaid pollies, in fact nothing will be done and most countries are increasing production of crude oil as shown at:


    And all we hear today is how wonderful Paric was and how there is some pause in carbon emissions etc etc.

    We are living in a fool’s paradise.

  23. @Moz of Yarramulla

    The paper only looked at pre-capitalist societies, and gave no reference to the so-called canonical view (which only arose from bourgeois society)

    The paper chose:

    15 small-scale societies exhibiting a wide variety of economic and cultural conditions. Our sample consists of three foraging societies, six that practice slash-and-burn horticulture, four nomadic herding groups, and three sedentary, small-scale agriculturalist societies.

    Marx also looked at such societies and left his notes in his “Ethnological Notebooks”.

    The finding would have been very different if they looked at bonded immigrant labour societies in Middle East or any capitalist society.

  24. Jeepers, look at how much so called privatised education bodies are really costing.

    Australia’s biggest private colleges have received up to $264 million a year from taxpayers despite having completion rates as low as one in 10 students, new data reveals.

    …Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the figures were an “indictment” on unscrupulous providers who had preyed on vulnerable Australians by signing them up to courses they could never complete.

    The data is “littered with even more examples of rorting and shonky behaviour from some providers who continue to take advantage of students and taxpayers”, he said.


  25. even when all the evidence shows that the entire LGBT agenda has absolutely nil importance to the average Australian voter, this disproportionate (3%?) but very powerful insidious lobby of very shrewd chameleons is absolutely and totally committed to pushing through their agenda regardless of any objections which are all immediately labelled as ‘homophobic’ when clearly the majority of citizens don’t actually care about supposed changes to the marriage act or what that might mean in terms of the entire process of legal recognition & compensation to society at large.
    It’s as if this is the absolute MOST important item in the current parliaments agenda and the only real problem Australians are facing … oh really? Well give us a break and lets discuss some real issues rather than this very peripheral side issue that has no relevance to real life other than those few who want the rest of us to accept their form of behavior as if that will somehow give them moral relief from world opinion where at least 3 billion people believe otherwise. The blow-back from such social agenda’s are now the fundamental basis for absolute intolerance by the Islamic and supposed 3rd world .. are Australins really ready for this sort of confrontation?

  26. @david
    a simple due diligence check on Senator Brandis would clearly indicate exactly what sort of person he is .. without any derogatory comments .. it is quite obvious that simply based on the facts regarding the current split with the attorney general he is unfit for his position.

  27. @Ivor
    Ivor you are absolutely right we have passed the tipping point and now our only option to to mitigate and plan for species survival .. anyone up for a one way trip to Mars?

  28. @ralph

    Um, anybody who really thought that same sex marriage would lead to confrontation with “the Islamic and supposed 3rd world” would not think it was a “very peripheral side issue that has no relevance to real life”.

    Try not spewing a load of contradictory arguments over the message board next time, please.

  29. @ralph

    It’s a truism that minority rights seem unimportant to a complacent member of the majority. This is true until that that person realises there is some real issue or factor in which he/she is in a minority. Then minority rights are seen to be important. The idea is to not be complacent, to use a little imagination, and understand that minority rights are always important because everyone is in a minority of some kind. It’s one of the balancing acts of secular democracy; majority decisions while respecting minority rights.

    The majority of people appear to be on a bisexual spectrum though objective studies are difficult to conduct. Exaggerated fears of homosexuality usually relate to repressed fears about one’s own sexuality. Methinks you protest too much.

  30. @ralph

    SSM has nil importance to the average voter? Well it’s a good thing that there are no average voters then. Average is a statistical concept.

    There are many ways that freedom from the stupid rules that the religious right impose on the rest of us who do not fit into their notion of how a person should live, is very important.

    I think it is becoming obvious to some of the right wing voters I know personally, that although they might not want to marry a partner of the same sex, they do want the right be able to die when they choose to and this right is denied by the same people who deny gays the right to marry the same way as ‘normal’ people do.

    It is the religious right that imposes unfair and irrational behaviours on people; they are anti-abortion, anti-SSM, anti-euthanasia and if you don’t find these restrictions on our freedom objectionable then you are part of the problem.

    What’s with all the over-the-top language? Very shrewd chameleons? WTF is that about?

    And what’s with the ignorance about how many people are touched by the unnecessary religious prohibitions on people doing what people do? Just because you may not know any interesting people who live different lives does not mean we are all as boring and unhappy and live ‘average’ lives. Sad for you Ralphie.

  31. @Ikonoclast

    I’m not aware of any more recent polling, but in 2015 it was identified by voters as the equal 13th most important issue, along with agriculture, asylum seekers and taxation.


    Yet for some reason, you don’t have blog comments or newspaper opinion pieces complaining that too much of politicians’ attention has gone to the plight of dairy farmers, stopping the boats, or reforming taxation.

    The poll found that 59 per cent of voters view same sex marriage as being of medium or high priority. Ralph is simply wrong in saying that “the entire LGBT agenda has absolutely nil importance to the average Australian voter”.

    This polling was commissioned by a group opposed to same sex marriage, by the way.

  32. well said and yes every minority believes its rights are important particularly to the affected .. but is that really the most important parliamentary item of business for our beleaguered population ? the constant quotation of questionable statistics about what a supposed majority of Australians deem to be a priority to their lives is extremely doubtful and variable on any given day (paydays holidays weather etc). Australia is already so far advanced in the social acceptance of diverse social relationship since the days of Don Dunstan Chief Justice Kirby Gary Barr and our current Syd Gay festival etc .. this country of ours is way ahead of most other western democracies especially the US UK and many EU vassals. The same people who are barracking to bring down our boarders and send us the worlds poor unloved dissatisfied or oppressed masses must also realise that Australia has NO cohesive social process (or identity) to acclimatize these migrants to our non-existent multicultural (multi-purpose room) that serves absolutely NO purpose except to serve the profit mongers of the rental/housing mafia who capitalize on our supposed cultural diversity (fear) of one another so we fence ourselves in with the highest possible property fences in most Canberra suburbs and hope the folks next door will come over and say hello .. enough said about this tangent but mixing in the acceptance by these new migrants of very confronting social deviations from where they originate, is a recipe for the kind of single lone wolf actions that have been left out in the cold of a brutal economic structure that celebrates violence and tolerates anything under the guise that the ‘minorities’ positions are just as valid as the other 90% .. hey that is not a democracy, which is not working very well even in the land where it was supposedly invented .. undoubtedly we require greater cohesion amongst our vastly dispersed population but given that most of the native population have only recently discovered their own cultural heritage and the fact that we still do not have a unified rail gauge that is standard across ALL states and a general population that reads less each year and most have never read Light on Hill or Fatal Shores leads me to believe that you are dreamers living in your own reality .. go get a copy of the Jerilderie letter and wonder why Australia failed to actually have a revolution that it still needs!

  33. For anyone in or near Melbourne on November 14th at RMIT there’s a talk on wartime mobilisation as a model for climate action by Laurence Delina

    “In this latest Breakthrough forum, Dr. Laurence Delina will discuss his recent book, ‘Strategies for Rapid Climate Mitigation: wartime mobilisation as a model for action?’. Drawing upon episodes of World War II mobilisations Dr. Delina lays out contingency climate action strategies based upon the relative optimism provided by rapid deployment of demonstrated and proven sustainable energy technologies. In this assessment of accelerated sustainable energy transitions, Dr. Delina describes in a thought experiment how we could quickly mobilise the required technologies, finance, and labour resources, as well as how these processes can be coordinated by governments. Although wartime narratives can provide some lenses for getting us back to a safer climate, Dr. Delina acknowledges that this analogy is far from perfect.”


  34. @ZM

    I had a primary school teacher who used to say “Can’t means won’t.” Of course, this isn’t always true but it is true a significant percentage of the time with both children and adults.

    The current political economy system basically says (in actions which speak louder than its weasel words) it can’t solve unemployment and it can’t solve AGW. In each case “can’t” means “won’t”.

    When the plutocractic, oligarchic and governing classes (overlapping classes to some considerable extent) feel existentially threatened by total war they have no trouble organising a wartime mobilisation and making the economy far more of a command economy that it usually is. Strangely enough this works. Yet they tell us they cannot marshal society’s social and economic powers to fight unemployment and AGW. It’s a lie. Can’t means won’t.

    Why won’t they do it? It would entail giving too much power to change things to ordinary people. It would entail enabling the masses to realise they actually have the power to massively change things if only they combine in solidarity and use that power. This is dangerous knowledge from the perspective of the elites. The mass of ordinary people cannot be permitted to realise their full power.

  35. Ikonoclast,

    The Democratic Party Convention in the US decided to make climate mobilisation their party platform earlier this year, and have committed to having a summit within 100 days of Hilary Clinton winning/starting the presidency if she wins the 2016 election.

    And Race Matthews the Monash uni economics research fellow and former Labor MP has said on Facebook its not a matter of if but when the ALP will adopt a similar climate mobilisation platform.

    I think the main thing is developing the policy in more detail, and making sure there is participation from communities incorporated into the policy as otherwise I don’t think it will be successful since it is a long term policy so it needs buy in from the majority of the community. Something that was just top down couldn’t work for a period of several decades or longer in my opinion.

    In terms of unemployment there was an interesting article in The Guardian about the highest public servant — Martin Parkinson — in the Turnbull government this October 2016 talking about the importance of equity and redistribution in the light of current pockets of discontent with economic rationalism and globalisation. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/06/australia-must-deliver-benefits-of-globalisation-to-win-public-support-top-public-servant

    I think government policies are doing okay at encouraging people to start businesses as a solution for unemployment problems, but maybe not so good at other solutions where starting a business isn’t feasible. Maybe policies that promote social enterprises or co-operatives could help with unemployment.

  36. @ZM

    I shall await the summit, and any real action coming out of it, with less than bated breath. But let us see, maybe I will be wrong this time and action will really and finally start.

  37. Ikonoclast,

    I hope so 🙂

    There’s a something going around on Facebook asking people to collect real life signatures for a climate emergency mobilisation at the moment, since someone called Steve Posselt is going to kayak from Ballina to Canberra starting New Year’s Day 2017, and then on 25 February 2017 deliver the petition to Parliament House Canberra. He’s hoping to get 100,000 signatures, but I don’t know if its on the internet elsewhere or just on Facebook Climate Mobilisation Australia and other similar pages.

    I found it was pretty easy getting dozens of signatures for the petition the Women’s Trust did for climate change, some I collected myself, others I left copies of the petition at shops in town that supported climate action. Lots of people were happy to sign it, so I should print some copies out and do the same again for this one.

    There’s also people visiting their MPs, senators, and councillors getting talking to them about the idea of climate mobilisation and asking them to sign a declaration saying they support the idea. I’ve been pretty busy and haven’t asked my State and Federal MPs yet, but I should try and make an appointment with them at their next community listening post I guess.

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