Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

50 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. I briefly attended the Melbourne climate strike on Friday. Inspiring, to say the least. The sooner us old geezers get out of the way, the better!

    I also made the mistake of looking at the comments to Greta Thurnberg’s twitter feed. Amazing to see the denialism on display. And it seems that ad hominem attacks are allowed even if the hominem is a kid.

  2. I keep reading the phrase “it is the new normal,” or similar expressions, in relation to the more extreme fire seasons, drought, etc. Unfortunately, given the glacial pace of change of human behaviour (i.e. read lack of political leadership), this is not the new normal, for as we keep doing our climate “forcing” behaviour, the climate will keep changing in the wrong direction, insofar as ground temperature goes. At what point it becomes impossible for fire seasons to become more extreme, I haven’t a clue; however, there is nothing to suggest we have hit that point just yet, and so to say this is the new normal is glib at best, and misleading in general.

  3. Don – that is a reasonable point. I suppose the “new normal” phrasing is intended to emphasise how much climate has already changed, without considering that it can be interpreted to mean what we have now will persist.

  4. @rob99brown

    Ditto, I attended the strike in Newcastle and it was well organised and attended, energetic and purposeful – the kids are all over it and we oldies need to step aside.

  5. @rog

    Not step aside – support them however we can. The ‘kids’ can’t do it on their own.

  6. I’m not sure why I put kids in scare quotes earlier – the school strikers are literally kids after all. Maybe it was because there were also a lot of adults at the climate strike I attended.

  7. Second Tim Macknay on *not* stepping aside. The movement, and Greta in particular, have been very good at insisting that it is an abdication of responsibility to put it all on the young people. We crumblies are the ones with the money and knowledge and networks to make things happen, or not happen in the case of coal mines.

    Her short and brutal philippic to the assembled elites at the UN: Joan of Arc in the flesh.

  8. Any news of Epistemic & Personal Transformation: Dealing with the Unknowable and Unimaginable?

    “”Dr. House studies decision-making and behaviour in adults and children, how these vary across diverse societies, and how they are shaped by both cultural beliefs and evolved adaptations.”

    …”established the sharing patterns of adults in the eight societies, and then worked with children from the same communities to determine how they would split a set of rewards in an experimental sharing task.

    “Dr. House said: “These results suggest that during middle childhood children become sensitive to culturally-specific information about how to behave. This “information” may be encoded in local norms, which children acquire through an evolved human psychology for learning and conforming to normative information. This implies that that we ought to have a universally-developing psychology for becoming sensitive to normative information, and that variation in prosocial behaviour ought to be linked to variation in the content of a society’s social norms, and not to variation in development.”

    Universal norm psychology leads to societal diversity in prosocial behaviour and development

  9. If the Departmemt of Defense doesn’t kill off plans for nuclear, they are indefensible.

    JQ says in the Guardian today; “The recent drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil refineries has raised fresh concerns that Australia is not meeting our obligation to the International Energy Agency to maintain oil stocks equal to 90 days of consumption. Among other things, it has been suggested that the defence forces might run out of fuel.” And nuclear power. 

    Carbon price legislated 2024 – reactor to be commissioned in 2032 – and drones unleashed with sole intention of disabling transmision infrastructure. Easy for a disgruntled loner or terrorists. Or state aggressor.
    smh /world/middle-east/drone-attacks-strike-major-saudi-oil-facilities-20190914-p52rb2.html

    Say nuclear capacity 10% of our electricity supply. ONE nuclear reactor with ONE point of transmission adjacent to reactor and 20 years of money and planning rendered useless – by commodified drones. On day two. I won’t even bother to consider reactor supporting equipment (pumps, cooling, water supply) nor breach of reactor or release of isotopes. Nor any other critical infrastructure.

    And how easy will such attacks be?
    “This aerial vehicle is autonomous, meaning that it positions the nail gun on a nailing point, places the nail and moves to the next point without needing a human at the controls.

    ” that autonomous, useful, physical interaction and construction tasks are possible with drones,”

    And destructive tasks.

    In nsw we have 5 coal fired power stations. 20 wind farms and A MILLION micro generators – rooftop solar.

    Do we support ONE / five / 20 points of generation and transmission, or a million?

    I will feel safer when the grid is rebuilt as a mesh, via inumerable local generation, not nodes.

  10. the ability to control the mess exists.

    could it be the current situation is brought about by an all-in struggle to decide who gets ownership of the new system cash flow?

    the fin had a little article the other day of coal mine owners buying into a electric car recharge business set up.

  11. Rob – “The sooner us old geezers get out of the way, the better!”
    Unfortunately the kids are asking the old geezers to fix the problem – as those in positions of trust and responsibility should! Not nearly good enough to merely get out of the way; this takes commitment to economy and society wide change from the old geezers.

  12. Public Health Research & Practice
    Current Issue – September 2019

    Countering the commercial determinants of health: strategic challenges for public health

    Interview with Verity Firth: commercial interests and public health policy

    Public health over private wealth: rebalancing public and private interests in international trade and investment agreements

    Learning healthcare systems: a perspective from the US

    The revolving door between government and the alcohol, food and gambling industries in Australia

    Talking about a nanny nation: investigating the rhetoric framing public health debates in Australian news media

    Innovation in school-level dental risk assessment: an evidence based Index of Dental Risk

    Countering commercial interests: building advocacy campaigns to protect children from food marketing

    Proliferation of ‘healthy’ alcohol products in Australia: implications for policy

    Philip Morris International’s use of Facebook to undermine Australian tobacco control laws

  13. “Her short and brutal philippic to the assembled elites at the UN: Joan of Arc in the flesh.”

    Will you stop this nonsense? This is child abuse, marshalled towards energy deprivation. This is energy deprivation for sure. Its two generations premature to wean off hydrocarbons. The oligarchy knows this. Not all economists understand this because energy economics is a rarified field. When I did a paper in energy economics in 1985 there was only about 8 of us in the class. We were under the guidance of a world renowned Indian economist. At the start of the class he would hand us out cups of coffee. He would say “You have COBY?” So your average economist might think we can substitute away from hydrocarbons by 2040. But someone who had specialised in the subject would know that the goal ought to be 2080 and not to try too hard to get there on time.

    Joan Of Arc was so amazing that a close look at her record can challenge the beliefs of the hardened atheist. You are talking about a very normal girl being sorely used. Joan of Arc got an arrow through her shoulder, had it taken out, and was back lending support against the rampaging English that very same day. Here is a deluded child skipping school because of the unrighteousness of adults who ought to know better.

  14. Can’t have an economy if the environment won’t support it. Anthropogenic global warming, mass extermination of animal and plant life, and exponential growth in consumption—in part from population growth, in part from transitioning to so-called first world economies; these three issues become an existential threat to future economies. The fact that it took a teenager to put this in front of governments around the world is a terrible indictment of those governments. More power to her, I say.

  15. The greatest Australian was Bill Mollison. And the answer is permaculture, no matter what the question is. But we need to be free of this anthropogenic global warming nonsense. Even if it were true, permaculture would STILL be the right answer. And we definitely need to put environment before economy. Part of doing so is recognising that CO2 is the driving force behind the environment. And that this is never going to change.

    Look to our brother Barry Brook. He was an early advocate of artificial reefs. He is a true environmentalist. The environment comes first. So CO2 must come first also. Permaculture, artificial reefs, and oversight where industrial fishing is concerned. Are they throwing the right fish back? Have we got our artificial nurseries as good as we can get them?

  16. Don, it takes a teenager to shame our leaders – consistent top level expert advice has been in front of our governments and leaders for decades. Yet by their (in)actions we know they keep choosing to deny how serious AGW is.

    Scott Morrison’s response to Greta Thunberg – “I want children growing up in Australia to feel positive about their future, and I think it is important we give them that confidence that they will not only have a wonderful country and pristine environment to live in, that they will also have an economy to live in as well. I don’t want our children to have anxieties about these issues.”

    That level of condescension cannot seriously be intended to ease any anxieties! Is Morrison actually attempting to incite an brave and outspoken teenager to frothing rage, to get her to say something regrettable or something? I don’t believe any utterance by our PM on climate change is thoughtless. This was not thoughtless at all, it was provocation.

    I’m struggling for words to express how dismaying the clear underlying implication is, to know that, despite decades of consistent top level, science based expert advice right in front of him – detailing the gravest of threat to to a pristine environment and an economy to live in well – it doesn’t cause our Prime Minister the least bit of anxiety!

  17. Greta Thunberg demands that Congress not listen to her but “listen to the scientists” and in particular, the IPCC.

    The right are unable to properly respond to this, as they have no science, so resort to character assassination.

  18. Wealthy old men think they are being very clever trolling the young about climate change – they really are that clueless, but what choice do they have? The system that has served their short-term interests so well is the cause of it and the impediment to mitigating it.

  19. It used to be about evidence Surburbanite. You don’t have any. She’s a good girl but you are going to have to do better than listen to children if its scientific evidence you are after.

  20. “The IPCC aren’t scientists. They are bureaucratic liars”

    So says birdbrain, without presenting a shred of evidence in support of his slanderous allegation.

    This is drunken front bar pub talk, where you feel the need to impress those who you think are your mates.

  21. Most of the authors of IPCC reports – especially Working Group 1, that deals with the Physical Science Basis – are scientists. I suspect Greta Thunberg is informed enough to know that. I would not bet on Scott Morrison having any desire for ordinary Australians to be well informed enough to know it.

    It is quite clear the many science agencies and institutions studying climate change around the world all find those reports to be consistent with their own observations, study results and conclusions.

  22. Graeme, if you’re going to persist with this line, I’d appreciate an answer to my question from last week’s Monday Message Board:

    Do satellite photos documenting the disappearance of arctic sea ice over the last 40 years count as evidence?

  23. I wonder what the truth is behind the denial in the face of evidence, the denial that has such catastrophic consequences, does anyone have any ideas? Is truely that they are puppets linked to the mining industry, is it just money and the power that money brings? Deep down Morrison’s sudden awareness of recycling means he has no concept of anything but uncontrolled growth, with “Clean up Australia” trimmings. What does drive them?

  24. There are some professional denialists who are motivated by money, but very few. More likely it is the difficulty of facing up to the reality that the current economic system is built on unsustainable resource exploitation and externalising pollution. People have dedicated their lives to participating in this unsustainable and environmentally destructive economy and have had their identities shaped by it. It’s not an easy thing to face up to – far easier to search around for a source to confirm that everything will be OK.

  25. It’s primarily a cultural thing strongly linked to demography – even Prof Quiggin concedes that. A generation & gender who principally link such science and requested action to an ideological agenda that’s conflicting to their own. A demographic who are culturally conditioned to compete and achieve superiority. Who generally left school early and were raised and educated when an ethos of religion & dogma was central to character and “knowledge”. When empathy and awareness of social/cultural externalities weren’t such a consideration.
    Yes, I generalise & stereotype strongly and there are many other causes and reasons.

  26. In the age of the global search engine, those who are interested enough can find the scientific research, article by article, spread across the academic journals. To allude to it not existing, or not being of a quantity and/or quality to warrant serious attention, is pretty facile.

  27. I am not in the habit of writing a lot. In this case, I shall.

    Perhaps unnecessarily, I will say that the few who have a complete disbelief in the scientific evidence, well they have been shown to be wrong, repeatedly, and in fact wrong by under-estimating the impact of human caused climate change. While some of that crowd possibly believe there is no developing crisis, the rest of them seemingly think that they can earn so much money, they’ll be able to buy themselves and their children out of trouble; that’s the only sane way of viewing their aberrant behaviour.

    They have no clue as to the true nature of anthropogenic global warming upon our current environment, as we move towards the future. Even without that existential threat, we act as if oblivious to the longer term impacts of erasing much of the global environment. Perhaps in some basic sense, we’ll survive; that’s almost assured. What we should really want, however, is to know that each and every one of us on planet Earth is able to do more than merely survive, or dying to support an elite.^fn1 We want more than mere survival. We don’t want an inequality that is eventually to ensure the survival of a few elite, we want to know that we can support, sustain and allow to thrive, every one on planet Earth. It’s a reasonable proposition, not something to be smeared and derided by a sitting Prime Minister of our country (i.e. Australia, in my case). It is offensive, on so many levels, how our PM was so patronising towards Greta Thunberg. She is a sixteen year old person who has accomplished more in her short life than I’ll bet our PM had managed in the same time. If she gets the opportunity to look back, thirty years hence, she will be able to say to herself, I was there, and I did my absolute best to make the right kind of difference. If history is capable of measuring scales of justice, I doubt that our current PM, or in fact numerous PMs before, will be able to account for themselves in such a positive manner.

    Pushing coal or other ridiculous non-solutions at this point in our scientific discoveries is to be on the wrong side of the debate. We know more than enough to take the risks of current and future anthropogenic climate change seriously. We know more than enough to attribute blame to humanity, and hence to look for the means of extricating ourselves from the hole we are so stupidly digging. Obviously no person upon this planet can say we are definitely going to die because of our own self-induced climate change. If that’s what you are demanding from scientists, then you are clueless. On the other hand, at what point do we accept the evidence as strong enough to change our behaviour? I would have hoped it was 40 years ago, when we had a basic inkling that we might be disrupting climate in ways previously rare…or 30 years ago, or 20 years ago, 10 years ago…and we did, but one political party in particular ran a campaign of pretending to do stuff, yet actually doing the opposite. Even in opposition, they refused to allow bills through, and that was that. So, Howard, Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison: they all found ways of pretending to support the very thing they were essentially dismantling; while the ALP are not covered in glory, under the 2007 campaign they did at least support some of the economic and environmental changes we needed to make. Nothing they were presenting was going to crush society, or present an existential threat, and yet that is how Abbott, in opposition, behaved. For whatever reason, he got away with this. The Greens are painted as somehow politically naive, and yet their demands, with respect to steps the world must take (and hence implying we do something, not less than nothing) to avoid catastrophic climate change, well a quick glimpse of the heavily subsidised national rag today says we are mired in the 1970’s, stuck with a purblind belief that nothing we keep doing, despite all the warning signs, can come back to haunt us, or our children. It is the purblind belief of a those who hope to be among the elite when the shite hits the fan…an even more childish belief than the one of wanton denial they wallow in. Wallow in.

    If only a three word answer were possible. Anyway, as far as my personal feelings go, I reckon that Greta Thunberg, if she does nothing else, has achieved something immense. For F*x news to attack her as mentally disturbed, or as a mere teenager, is to be purblind to the basic truth: she has made plain the intransigence of governments to do what the people actually want, i.e. to move as rapidly as is possible away from polluting, climate changing, sources of power.

    I feel an amazing sense of Wow! when I think, this lady is just 16 years of age, and yet here she is, giving an essentially factual argument as to why our gutless politicians are failing us, the people. The fact is, it barely matters which country in the western world that we are talking about…her comments, her argument, is as salient. There are a number of people who read Prof John Quiggins’ blog who will disagree with me on this, but my simple response is that irrespective of why she feels so, she clearly puts the issue of evidence as a matter of what scientists have established, not what she might hope is true. Yeah, perhaps the scientists have got it 180 degrees wrong; the evidence of that is pretty much zero. Why bet against something that has so strong a base of evidence? Politics is about the only reason I can fathom as exhorting individuals to vociferously shout down people like Greta Thunsberg.

    Here’s the thing: she didn’t discover the crisis, nor did she have anything to do with it; nevertheless, her generation, and their children, are faced with it. If they believe we need some change in our manner of dealing with their environment, perhaps we owe them the basic courtesy of listening to their concerns. Unlike F*x news.

    fn1: Elite: I don’t mean academically elite, I mean elite through the means of great wealth or similar privilege. They are the ones who feel that climate change won’t materially affect them…and they are right, but at our expense.

  28. Tale of Two Capitalisms
    Sacred Economics in Nineteenth-Century Britain
    By Supritha Rajan

    “An interdisciplinary examination of nineteenth-century British capitalism, its architects, and its critics

    …”Rajan offers an inventive, interdisciplinary account of why this second narrative of capitalism has so long escaped our notice. The book presents an unprecedented genealogy of key anthropological and economic concepts, demonstrating how notions of sacrifice, the sacred, ritual, totemism, and magic remained conceptually intertwined with capitalist theories of value and exchange in both sociological and literary discourses.

    “Rajan supplies an original framework for discussing the ethical ideals that continue to inform contemporary global capitalism and its fraught relationship to the secular. Its revisionary argument brings new insight into the history of capitalist thought and modernity that will engage scholars across a variety of disciplines.”

  29. Over to Ove…

    “The ocean is key to achieving climate and societal goals

    Ove Hoegh-Guldberg1, Eliza Northrop2, Jane Lubchenco3

    … “But another just-released report (3) provides hope and a path forward, concluding that the ocean is not simply a victim of climate change, but a powerful source of solutions. Drawing on this report organized by the High Level Panel (HLP) for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, which quantifies and evaluates the potential for ocean-based actions to reduce emissions, we outline a “no-regrets to-do list” of ocean-based climate actions that could be set in motion today. 

    “These five areas were identified, quantified, and evaluated relative to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report concludes that these actions (in the right policy, investment, and technology environments) could reduce global GHG emissions by up to 4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2030 and by up to 11 billion tonnes in 2050. This could contribute as much as 21% of the emission reduction required in 2050 to limit warming to 1.5°C and 25% for a 2°C target. Reductions of this magnitude are larger than the annual emissions from all current coal-fired power plants worldwide. Considering each action area through a technical, economic, and social/political lens, the report concluded that carbon storage in the seabed requires considerable further investigation to address concerns regarding the impacts on deep ocean environments and ecosystems, but that the other four ocean-based sectors have substantial mitigation potential and could be readily implemented or initiated with the right policies, incentives, and guidance (3).

  30. Scomo’s promo visit yesterday to Dalby on the Darling Downs was a great example of the inadequacy of the word “drought” to describe climatic change, and their denial, associated with anthropogenic global warming. The Winter cereal crops of the past have disappeared from the area and have been replaced by the Summer crops sorghum and cotton, watered almost solely by hit and miss storms of varying intensity. Earlier this year areas around Dalby were in flood as a result of violent rain events, 250mm plus in a few hours which caused infrastructure damage and massive soil movement.
    Handouts may stabilise voting intentions but will further prolong denial.

  31. Make-believe. Its just another way of the trace-gas-hysterics running away from the need for evidence for their fantasies.

  32. Part of the fooling yourselves about matters scientific, is the Orwellian language that you are so dependent on. “Climate deniers” You cannot find one. There is no such thing as a climate denier. If you spoke English, you wouldn’t be able to keep the delusion going.

  33. Yeah very funny. But the reality is you cannot find anywhere, any such thing as a climate denier. People skeptical of the CO2-warming fraud are in fact much more sophisticated in their appreciation of climate, than you could ever be.

  34. GB. Yes. “People ARE skeptical of the CO2-warming fraud” – sters…

    And please drop the absolutist “There is no such thing as a climate denier. “. Worse than pendantism.

    And your last line puts you well under the plimsol line – where the conversation drew the line at having the niw less than 1% derail the 99% who are for precaution preventiin and possibilities.

  35. Thats Orwellian language. Its there in order to replace the evidence that you don’t have. There is no such thing as a climate denier. Anyone who says the phrase is a liar. Anyone who mixes up CO2-warming theory with “climate change” is a liar. Thats not speaking English. So get serious. Speak English. These are insults launched at people who know more about the science than you do.

    When I first came on this site I agreed that CO2 seemed to be warming, and obviously thats a good thing. There is no controversy that this is a good thing because we are in an ice age. How could a little bit of warming be a bad thing in an ice age? This is clear mass insanity. We know its orchestrated from the top.

    But the difference is now we found out that the data was being rigged. So now no-one can find the heating single in the data. This is just a fact. So now we have to stop the hysteria. Stop the lies. Stop the Orwellian language.

  36. It’s Orwellian to pretend “referring to someone as a climate denier” is Orwellian. Good grief, talk about a thin skin and a persecution complex.

    Plimer and Nova et al are very much climate deniers. They actively deny the temperature record and regard it as a fraudulent conspiracy, therefore they deny the climate. They refuse to acknowledge its true state. They pretend it is something different to what it is. They are climate deniers.

    Their views aren’t sophisticated. They’re understanding of climate physics and the atmospheric history of this planet is superficial and more or less at a 1979 Encyclopaedia Britannica level. They write polemics, not science.

  37. It annoys me that the gish gallopers are able to clog threads with shrill fake pedantry that has been refuted elsewhere. This truly is Agnotology.

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