Monday Message Board

Back again with 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


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67 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Bob Brown is right – it’s time environmentalists talked about the population problem
    October 22, 2020 2.31pm AEDT

    https://theconversation.com/bob-brown-is-right-its-time-environmentalists-talked-about-the-population-problem-148347

    The word limit limits the author’s scope and treatment greatly, but the author, Prof Colin Butler, does engage in the comments a good deal, and at the very least The Conversation has finally allowed some coverage of the issues. The comments and arguments are certainly worth reading: over 500 with numerous further links, and none moderated! Will woke Greeens ever wake up again, and in time? Will The Conversation ever allow an article on the SAP view of the issues?

    Also:

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/10/environmentalists-must-confront-population-problem/

  2. Victoria has the coronavirus under control – not unexpected, I’d say. I am very happy about it and I am impressed with the determination shown by the State government as well as the public. IMHO it is yet another example of reason, respect for science and public cooperation based on understanding being a prerequisite for commercial ‘recovery’. A policy based on the reverse order – monetary values before health – is like death by thousand little cuts.

  3. Has anyone begun researching the productivity gains accrued to businesses from working from home? Apart from the obvious gains due to the absence of long commuting downtimes, have other productivity gains being identified? This area and the one proposed by the ALP – heavily subsidized child care for working families – seems rife for research into possible productivity gains. After all this was the topic driving the debate about workplace reforms. Perhaps their is a third way to boost labour productivity.

  4. Its good to see more information publicly flowing on Wind Turbines and their externalities as referenced against a broader picture. Australian denialists got a lot of kilometerage out of bird kills, and now thanks to Trump’s perpetual sniping the bigger picture emerges as Wind Generator bird kill (these are US figures from their National Wildlife Service) : 234,000; Power Lines: 25 million; Windows: 600 million; Poisonings: 72 million; and Pets: 2.4 billion. That bird kill per Kilowatt Hour of generated capacity is steadily coming down as wind turbines become ever larger and the blades become more visible. Birds can cope with moving object speeds up to 90 kph though turbine tip speeds are higher their rpm’s are progressively lower and therefore easier to fly around.

    Svante, yes population growth must be addressed. The first step down that road is to make it a national conversation.

  5. No comfort here, and potentially horrible – yes. Yet we know. So we are able to ameliorate these potential pandemics.


    “A map showing newly emerging and reemerging infectious diseases that have recently or could someday pose a serious threat to people’s health. The dots indicate where they were discovered or are most relevant currently. (Image: Anthony Fauci, David Morens/Cell)”

    “Look at This Horrible, Horrible Map
    “Here’s the most depressing map you’re likely to see this week, courtesy of Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    “The map, packaged in a recent paper co-written by Fauci, showcases the many other emerging diseases besides covid-19 that pose a threat to our health.

    “The paper, released over the weekend as a preprint in the journal Cell (meaning it may be revised before its final publication), is intended to lay out the environmental and human factors that led to covid-19 erupting on the world stage in late 2019. Fauci’s co-author is David Morens, senior scientific advisor at Office of the Director at NIAID. It’s an educational read, delving into how newly emerging diseases like covid-19 and familiar enemies like influenza can become so dangerous to humankind.

    “Science will surely bring us many life-saving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics; however, there is no reason to think that these alone can overcome the threat of ever more frequent and deadly emergencies of infectious diseases,” Fauci and Morens wrote. “Covid-19 is among the most vivid wake-up calls in over a century. It should force us to begin to think in earnest and collectively about living in more thoughtful and creative harmony with nature, even as we plan for nature’s inevitable, and always unexpected, surprises.”
    https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/08/look-at-this-horrible-horrible-map/

    ****

    Morens’ & Fauci’s paper;
    “Emerging Pandemic Diseases: How We Got to COVID-19”
    Authors
    David M.Morens1
    Anthony S.Fauci1

    “Summary
    Infectious diseases prevalent in humans and animals are caused by pathogens that once emerged from other animal hosts. In addition to these established infections, new infectious diseases periodically emerge. In extreme cases they may cause pandemics such as COVID-19; in other cases, dead-end infections or smaller epidemics result. Established diseases may also re-emerge, for example by extending geographically or by becoming more transmissible or more pathogenic. Disease emergence reflects dynamic balances and imbalances, within complex globally distributed ecosystems comprising humans, animals, pathogens, and the environment. Understanding these variables is a necessary step in controlling future devastating disease emergences.”
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867420310126#!
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.021

  6. Thought for the day: John Quiggin is busy working to present economics as a discipline not entirely populated by soul-less abominations, but over on Club Troppo Paul Fritjers takes the contrary position on that as well.

  7. KT2, thanks for the map and the links. While I had read about health threats due to viruses and the likelihood of future pandemics, I effectively knew nothing. The information presented in the map says a lot! Yes, the notion of ‘balances’ and ‘imbalances’ also says a lot.

  8. bilb2 says above AT 7:18 PM – “yes population growth must be addressed. The first step down that road is to make it a national conversation.”

    72% of Aussies do not want a bigger population
    By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy, Immigration at 12:10 am on October 27, 2020 | 38 comments

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/10/72-of-aussies-do-not-want-a-bigger-population/

    Dr Bob Birrell and Dr Katharine Betts from the Australian Population Research Institute have released a new research paper examining Australian voters’ attitudes towards immigration, which is based on a random survey of 2,029 voters conducted from October/November 2019. Below is the Executive Summary along with the key charts:

    The post-Covid situation

    The immigration issue was already volatile when the pandemic hit. It has become more so as public concerns have mounted about job losses and migrant competition for available work, and about the risks to health if immigration should be revived. Australians have been asked to sacrifice their freedoms in order to quell the virus, and many have suffered severe personal and financial losses. The evidence currently available shows that they are hostile to any resuscitation of a Big Australia. Such a move would amount to telling voters that their sacrifices had counted for nothing.

    In this more volatile situation voters’ concerns about a Big Australia are likely to be more readily mobilised, as they had been in the UK and the US.

    This hypothesis has already been tested, from an unexpected quarter. It came from Kristina Keneally, Labor’s spokesperson for Immigration. In May 2020, she proposed lower immigration and an ‘Australia first’ hiring policy. This may have reflected recognition within Labor’s leadership that their parlous electoral situation required a search for a greater share of non-graduate voters.

    There is no need to speculate on the response. Polling in the aftermath of Keneally’s proposal showed that a big majority supported this hiring policy. This was especially the case amongst Coalition voters, 75 per cent of whom agreed with the proposal.

    Should pressure grow to revive a Big Australia, and with it public unease, it is unlikely that the Coalition would be united in support. This is why the Dutton faction is important. It would probably mobilise to oppose such a move, especially if Labor follows Keneally’s example and took a stand.

    Most commentators do not appear to understand the situation. The assumption seems to be that a Big Australia will be rapidly revived. We question this assumption…

    The Australian Population Research Institute
    New research report, 27 October 2020
    tapri.org.au/

    Click to access Big-Australia-finalV6.pdf

  9. Alan Kohler: Australia must wean itself off mass immigration
    By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy, Featured Article, Immigration at 2:00 pm on October 26, 2020 | 49 comments

    One of the best things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has caused Australia to confront its over-reliance on mass immigration rather than productivity to drive growth.

    In the ABC video above, Alan Kohler confronts the issue, arguing that Australia has become addicted to population growth and now must be weened.

    Good stuff.

  10. The Little Barrington Declaration

    I’d be interested In JQ’s take on the “Great Barrington Declaration” touting herd immunity as the pandemic strategy. (Great Barrington is a progressive small town in Massachusetts, and it is not at all pleased to be associated with this.) To get the ball rolling, a few thoughts. Links here: https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/10/26/american-institute-economic-research-great-barrington-declaration-herd-immunity-covid-19

    Of course, what the authors propose includes targeted isolation of the old and other vulnerable groups, as well as letting the infection rip among the low-risk remainder. Nevertheless, it’s very much a minority position in the epidemiologic trade. The majority view – try to suppress the virus by distancing until we have a vaccine – is given in the rival John Snow Memorandum.

    The Barrington case is that the lockdowns that result from the CW policy are too burdensome, psychologically, economically, and in indirect health burdens. It’s a very American document, since a good number of Asian and Oceanic countries have managed well with CW policies, and European ones are at least doing better than the USA. You can find the rebuttals easily. I’d just like to underline one point

    The Barrington plan reflects defeatism about the social discipline and/or political leadership of Americans: effective mitigation measures are too complicated and difficult. But their plan of segregating vulnerable groups – a third of the population – requires at least as much social discipline and policy coherence. The staff of care homes have to move in to the home for months; grandparents have to cut contact with grandchildren; an army of home delivery volunteers has to be mobilised. It seems to me that a society capable of doing this effectively would look very much like South Korea or Vietnam, which have succeeded with mitigation anyway at a much lower death toll. There is no reason to think that the USA would do any better than now under plan B.

    The above assumes that the Barrington Declaration is a good-faith if eccentric professional contribution to the debate. The deSmog post I linked to throws this assumption into doubt. The operation is funded by opaque groups in the Koch orbit, some of the people involved are professional climate denialists, and the declaration is boosted by dirty tricks like unverified signatories. In this perspective, the Declaration looks like classic agitprop: the Kochs found useful idiots to give respectable cover to the real Republican policy of doing nothing and letting the virus kill a million old poor and minority Americans.

  11. Explicit stricter rules and punishment for caregivers contagion private risk taking would make sense. There should be some kind of sliding scale that does include tolerable risks depending on how many and how vulnerable people someone could infect at work.

    Many very harmless things are not even tried in the first place, remain unthinkable for the political system. The corona tracing apps with their voluntarism and their extensive focus on privacy/individual rights protection are a particular disaster.

    The first most harmless step would have been to make them opt out instead of opt in with an auto upload. The next step would have been to allow the exclusion of app denialists by private parties. Instead, we got an explicit ban against mandating app use. Sending ones anonymous data after one is positive also remains voluntary. Turns out almost half of the few people who do use the app end up not sending the alert message in Germany. To put insult to injury, we can proud ourselves with one of the highest app use rates in the west….. Such a sad story when you sit in what by all reasonable expectations looks like a complete disaster just to discover everyone around you is doing even worse.

  12. James, the Great Barrington Declaration is on the same level as the Joker’s plan to put Smallpox in the Gothem City water supply except the characters involved are less colourful and more two-dimensional.

    It would mean perhaps 3 million more dead in the US when vaccines that could potentially be effective at preventing the spread of the virus if immediately given to everyone who may has been exposed are available now. (Physically available, but not yet being distributed due to misunderstandings about what the word “risk” means.)

  13. Svante – “Will woke Greeens ever wake up again, and in time?”

    Why is this up to Environmentalists specifically and not mainstream politics? Specifically. Is this another case of those in the seats of power saying “You care so much, you fix it”, to be followed by “Not like THAT!”?

    I don’t see any way to reduce global population rapidly, let alone in time to impact near term global warming or other approaching environmental limits, that doesn’t involve potential crimes against humanity – and plenty of greenhaters would pile on ALL Environmentalists should ANY propose enforcing child limits or mandating sterilisations. Pile on with great gusto and glee… adding to such slanders as greenies wanting to take humanity back to the stone age by calling for an end to fossil fuel burning and that anyone who remains a part of our modern society is a hypocrite if they call for an economy wide shift to low emissions without going stone age themselves first. Whereupon they can be deemed extremist nutcases and ignored.

    We can encourage people to have less children and many “Environmentalist” voices appear to do just that- nothing new there at all. We need to put in place access to education, healthcare and contraception in support – and for meeting of basic economic needs – but that has to come from and through mainstream politics, reflecting a society wide understanding and appreciation of the problem. Preferably because mainstream politicians and parties face up to the issue rather than hand it off to a minority political movement they despise, who’s proposals they can then criticise and attack for short term political gain.

  14. “In the Czech Republic, >>>only one in five users who test positive self-report their status on the contact tracing app<<< eRouška (“eFacemask”), the government’s chief hygienist, Jarmila Rážová said on Oct. 16, according to local media. (The chief hygienist declares and implements measures to protect public health). The Minister of Health said that 6 million people would need to download the app for maximum effectiveness, but so far only 1.2 million people are users, according to local media on Oct. 16."

    https://time.com/5902172/europe-coronavirus-second-wave-belgium-czech-republic/
    Just amazing.

    "Experts speaking to TIME say they can’t point to anything specific that has made the Czech Republic or Belgium unique among E.U. states in their handling of the pandemic, instead attributing the rise in cases to a combination of factors, and the relatively arbitrary nature by which a virus spreads through populations."

    Ok, lets help the experts with this one: Cultures differ, the same government orders have different effects depending on the culture they are applied to. Won't claim I saw this coming in Czechia, but a good ad hoc response early on combined with a certain above average risk to get careless on the long run is in line with cultural research.

  15. Posted on Oct 26 at Cassandra’s Legacy by Ugo Bardi:

    “In the article below, I engaged in an examination of the consistency of the data we have for the pandemic. It turns out that, for Western countries, the data are almost always correct, with just a few possible exceptions, mainly Belarus. It seems that it is easier for governments to use their propaganda machines to terrorize people about the pandemic, rather than actually falsifying the data, with all the risks involved if discovered.”
    See: https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2020/10/the-pandemic-did-they-hide-truth-from-us.html

    The “COVID deaths per million vs Z-score” graph looks interesting.

  16. mrkenfabian at 12:07 PM, if you haven’t yet, please read Prof Butler’s article and his and the other comments that follow. You’ll find several prominent lines of argument in answer developed therein. In Australia Greens can no longer simply be conflated with environmentalist!

    “Why is this up to Environmentalists specifically and not mainstream politics? Specifically. Is this another case of those in the seats of power saying “You care so much, you fix it”, to be followed by “Not like THAT!”?”

    But it is mainstream politics! 28% of Australian voters don’t want population growth! The mainstream is united against the populace! The mainstream moneyed political backers run the whole show.

    Some of The Greens are environmentalists, many, as evinced by their population non-policy, are not. Most environmentalists in Australia are not Greens. For some 20 years huge population growth in Australia has been only through incomparably high immigration! Australia had reached a natural replacement and steady net overseas migration stable population before the gates were thrown wide open by rapacious neoliberals with the full support of the The Greens and their swing to oxymoronic or just plain moronic supposedly justifying explicatory notions of “sustainable growth” and similar.

    “I don’t see any way to reduce global population rapidly, let alone in time to impact near term global warming or other approaching environmental limits, that doesn’t involve potential crimes against humanity – and plenty of greenhaters would pile on ALL Environmentalists should ANY propose enforcing child limits or mandating sterilisations.”

    Really? Well then think about what you may do where you may actually have a significant say in change, ie., in Australia for starters. It really isn’t that hard. You could compare SAP policy related to population and immigration with that of The Greens. You could improve on that further. Sad to see, the rest is just a The Greens hard idealogue pro-forma defensive deflection.

    “All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people and harder – and ultimately impossible to solve – with ever more people”

    “Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.”

    “I have no doubt that the fundamental problem the planet faces is the enormous increase in the human population” – David Attenborough 2012

    Do you really think any half sensible voter would have conflated The Greens of yore with the emerging Hansonites? Would have seen The Greens as racist? It beggars belief. No, that’s just a line the hard left putsch employed in the takeover of The Greens back then which played straight into the hands of the growth without limit hard right neoliberal environmental curse.

    Do you really think any half sensible voter would have conflated The Greens of yore with the emerging Hansonites? Would have seen The Greens as racist? It beggars belief. No, that’s just a line the hard left putsch employed in the takeover of The Greens back then which played straight into the hands of the growth without limit hard right neoliberal environmental curse.

  17. If the looming crash in iron ore export revenue wasn’t already enough to wipeout the Australian balance of trade now Japan has called time on coal.

    Japan’s net-zero pledge adds more pressure on Australia

    10:43pm, Oct 27, 2020 Updated: 11:17pm, Oct 27

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2020/10/27/japan-australia-net-zero-emissions/

    Australia risks losing billions of dollars in export revenue and alienating crucial trade partners unless the federal government announces a firm deadline by which to achieve net zero emissions, analysts have said.

    The warning comes after Japan, the largest importer of Australian thermal coal and liquified natural gas (LNG), announced a target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

    …The announcement is a major departure from Japan’s previous objective of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by mid-century and net zero achieved “as soon as possible” in the second half of the century.

    And the edict comes just weeks after China surprised the UN General Assembly by committing to “carbon neutrality” by 2060.

    Blueprint Institute chief economist Dr Steven Hamilton told The New Daily both announcements point to an “inescapable conclusion” that the Australian coal industry is in decline.

    With Japan and China accounting for 52 per cent of coal exports, Dr Hamilton said the latest move underscored the need for Australia to embrace cleaner energy to capitalise on its “generous, low-cost stores” of renewable energy.

    “There is a lot at stake, economically speaking,” Dr Hamilton said.

    “Coal exports are worth around 2 per cent of our national output, which is enormous – it’s of massive economic value to Australia and particularly to areas like Queensland, which rely heavily on coal.”

    According to the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), Japan’s statement means more than 60 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade partners have an established net-zero target, with that figure to climb beyond 70 per cent if the United States elects Joe Biden as president.

    The IGCC suggests Australia could benefit from $63 billion in additional investment dollars over five years if the government announced a firm net-zero deadline.

    Beyond the immediate ramifications for coal and gas, Dr Hamilton noted Japan’s decarbonisation pledge had implications for local high-export industries such as agriculture.

    Along with the European Union’s proposed ‘carbon border adjustments’, Australian exporters could pay a significant price for the government’s inaction on climate amid jeopardised free trade agreements, he said.

    “If Japan aggressively decarbonises over the next 30 years as a significant trading partner of ours, they’re going to start applying pressure on us to reduce the carbon intensity of these goods to prevent leakage,” Dr Hamilton said.

    ANU Climate Change Institute director Professor Ken Baldwin agreed, suggesting a timetable allowed trading partners to take “the moral high ground on the energy transition process in Australia”….

  18. Svante,
    You state: “If the looming crash in iron ore export revenue wasn’t already enough to wipeout the Australian balance of trade now Japan has called time on coal.”

    Indeed.
    Also China – announced net zero target by 2060 – Australian coal (thermal & met) imports into China are apparently being quietly blocked.
    See: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-13/government-looking-at-reports-chinese-ban-australian-coal-import/12760406

    Also South Korea – apparently today President Moon Jae-in pledged in parliament carbon neutral by 2050.
    See: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/south-korea-beefs-up-climate-goal-amid-mounting-global-pressure

    The recent “Resources and Energy Quarterly September 2020”, on page 51, provides a 2019 breakdown of the top five countries that were importing Australian thermal coal:
    1. Japan: _ _ _ _ $9.6 billion *
    2. China: _ _ _ _ $4.0 billion
    3. South Korea: _$3.3 billion
    4. Taiwan: _ _ _ _$2.8 billion
    5. India: _ _ _ _ _ $0.3 billion
    Rest of World: _ _$2.6 billion

    China is the world’s largest thermal coal importer (20% global share), followed by India (17%), then Japan (13%), then South Korea (8%), then Taiwan (5%).

    Indonesia is the world’s largest thermal coal exporter (41% global share), then Australia (20%), then Russia (17%), then South Africa (7%), then Colombia (6%).

    Page 40 provides a 2019 breakdown of the top five countries that were importing Australian metallurgical coal:
    1. India: _ _ _ _ $10.2 billion
    2. China: _ _ _ _ $9.7 billion
    3. Japan: _ _ _ _ $7.4 billion
    4. South Korea: _$3.8 billion
    5. Taiwan: _ _ _ _$2.5 billion
    Rest of World: _ _$7.7 billion

    China is the world’s largest met coal importer (27% global share), then India (21%), then Japan (17%), then South Korea & EU (both 13%).

    Australia is the world’s largest met coal exporter (55% global share), then USA (15%), then Canada (10%), then Mongolia (9%), then Russia (7%).
    See: https://publications.industry.gov.au/publications/resourcesandenergyquarterlyseptember2020/documents/Resources-and-Energy-Quarterly-Sept-2020.pdf

    Where’s Australia’s / NSW’s / Queensland’s transition plans? Scomo? Gladys? Annastacia?

  19. Who gets money from the coal? Mostly multinational corporations and their shareholders. Ordinary Australians gain little benefit. Royalties are derisive. Coal miners can be transferred to renewable energy projects.

  20. Silver tsunami or silver lining? Why we should not fear an ageing population

    Sustainable Population Australia – Discussion Paper
    Lead Author: Jane O’Sullivan
    October 2020

    https://population.org.au/publications/discussion-papers/ageing

    With people living longer than ever and the baby-boomer generation reaching retirement age, some people worry that we will run short of workers and taxpayers. Media reports and political discourse about our ageing population often adopt a tone of panic.

    But is this panic justified? This in-depth discussion paper commissioned by SPA untangles the facts from the myths, so that Australians can look afresh at the population ageing issue.

    Authored by Queensland academic Dr Jane O’Sullivan, the paper contains original data analysis and extensive literature review, to help separate the facts from the spin.

    This paper addresses key questions, including:

    • Will an ageing population blow government budgets?
    • Will ageing cause a shortage of workers?
    • Is high immigration and more population growth the answer?

    A thorough analysis of the evidence finds that each of these concerns is unfounded. Far from being an economic calamity, our demographic maturity offers many advantages for improving social and environmental outcomes.

    Sustainable Population Australia’s Discussion Paper series – population.org.au/publications/discussion-papers – provides in-depth analysis of key issues relating to population policy and discourse. You may also be interested our short summary video on YouTube – youtube.com/watch?v=MAiLhCIMXsQ&feature=youtu.be

    Discussion Paper (PDF) [highly detailed, 52pp, 3.7MB]
    PDF icon SPA-Silver-Tsunami-or-Silver-Lining-Discussion-Paper.pdf

    Click to access SPA-Silver-Tsunami-or-Silver-Lining-Discussion-Paper.pdf


    Report per macrobusiness.com.au/2020/10/report-why-australia-shouldnt-fear-an-ageing-population/

    Key Points

    1. With people living longer than ever and the baby-boomer generation reaching retirement age, some people worry that we will run short of workers and taxpayers. But demographic ageing will stop well before that occurs. Retirees will never outnumber younger adults.
    2. In the countries that have aged the most, there has been no shortage of workers. Instead of less employment, they have less unemployment and underemployment. Economic models that predict less economic activity as populations age are based on false assumptions.
    3. The rise in the proportion of older citizens accounts for only a small fraction of the rise in health costs. The major increase in costs is due to new, improved and more services per person.
    4. Longevity has deferred, rather than extended, the period in which the elderly need more health care and aged care.
    5. High levels of immigration can slow, but not prevent, population ageing. But the cost of extra infrastructure and education to sustain population growth is greater than the avoided costs of pensions, health care and aged care.
    6. Those with vested interests in population growth have overstated ageing concerns, to make high immigration seem essential. The resulting negative social and environmental impacts continue to accumulate for no net economic gain.

    dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8882601/Overwhelming-number-Australians-say-country-doesnt-need-immigration.html

  21. Ikonoclast says:OCTOBER 28, 2020 AT 7:53 PM “Who gets money from the coal?”

    Who? It’s circular. What comes around goes around… So, it’s the country you buy your TV from and almost everything else you purchase except most of your fresh veges! Balance of payments. How’re you/we gonna pay in a future soon upon us?

    That project in the Pilbara – https://theconversation.com/super-charged-how-australias-biggest-renewables-project-will-change-the-energy-game-148348 – better get a move on, and a huge number of others similar along with a massive restructuring of the economy or else Australia is stuffed financially in addition to just being stuffed.

  22. Victoria has done well to get from 700 + cases per day down to 0 in about 139 days. This shows what can be done .I am genuinely impressed with the unity and spirit with which Victorians undertook the task . England  and France had about the same numbers as us back then but didnt do the work during their summer when it would have been easier to do , now they are headed into winter with tens or thousands of cases per day  . We were lucky that our first wave wasnt really a wave -it was just a few easy weeks. As they are finding out in Europe it is not easy to get a good long lockdown out of people when they feel they have already done one .International experience shows that for the relatively wealthy countries there are 3 parts to success 1) good government 2) compliant citizens 3) no dissenters in the media. Morrison et al and Murdoch tried hard to spoil things ;- they are infuriated with Chairman Dans enduring popularity ,” why would you congratulate the arsonist for helping you put the fire out ? ” .Our Vic  opposition leader’s approval rating flounders at just 15 %. Morrison has been useless ,making unhelpful contributions and only occasionally doing good when forced there by others. Once we have a bit of distance between us and this pandemic it will be pretty obvious what worked and what didnt – I think it will be hard to put much of a spin on the comparisons .The YTD excess death number for the US is now above 300,000. A friend in China tells me life is basically back to normal there now.

  23. Interesting new take on dry rock geothermal energy from a Canadian company called Eavor: https://www.rechargenews.com/transition/unlimited-on-demand-renewable-energy-anywhere-in-the-world-is-eavor-loop-climate-changes-holy-grail-/2-1-901385 .

    Instead of trying to make cracks in hot deep granite to make a pathway for injected water, which has proved difficult to scale up from demonstrations, they just use drilled loops of constant diameter, heated conventionally by contact with the surrounding rocks. The scheme piggybacks on the improvements in drilling technology that have given us fracking, including horizontal wells and very accurate location. Still a longish shot, but the idea looks sensible and tolerably risky, and the talk coming out of the company is refreshingly realistic. The major snag is that fracking wells are drilled fast in soft shale, while the best hot rock is hard granite. Perhaps a born-again oil major like BP will jump in with real money?

  24. Germany is more or less in lockdown again. It’s a private life only lockdown. No restaurants, no sport teams, private meetings with no more than two households. Little to no restrictions on business activities. Again almost scarily in line with the always a bit at risk of too broad stereotyping national culture literature. Schools will stay open, not sure about universities. Not my favorite approach. There should be far more restrictions on work activities, e.g. strongly encouraging remote work wherever possible and strict absolute limits regarding the number of attendants of in person business meetings.
    Universities also have no business doing any conventional mass lecture, no matter how rarely or if its done with masks (most is still remote, or at least in very small groups). Mental health support, in all likelihood will fall through the cracks again, with important support networks being classified as leisure activities. Based on experience from the last lockdown, large parts of the professional staff will go in hiding and almost all will reject video alternatives. In a sad but not entirely unexpected turn of events, the doctor’s association (in contrast to the majority of academic subject experts and public health department doctors) has positioned itself against a lockdown.

  25. The USA, UK and EU have demonstrated gross civilizational incompetence in the face of this pandemic. This has to be called for what it is; an egregious and grotesque failure of near catastrophic proportions by these polities. Matters will get worse yet. On current trends, the year 2021 will likely be much worse than 2020.

    At the root of this incompetence lies neoliberalism or market fundamentalism, the destruction of the capacity of government and the rule of our societies by neoliberal and capitalist elites. These elites are selfish, incompetent and ignorant. They are science deniers. They have been permitted to rule by a compliant and foolish working and middle class population which does not properly understand the basis of its own prosperity. Once again, late stage capitalism has demonstrated its sclerotic inability to respond to changed conditions; the sign of a grossly maladaptive system. If China can cope with COVID-19 and prevent widespread epidemic in its own country and the West largely cannot, this indicates a watershed moment in history where modern global ascendancy has passed from the West to China.

    Can the West recover, not ascendancy, but a workable balance with China? Yes, it certainly can. The position is not hopeless yet. To recover, neoliberalism and the rule of the monied elites has to be completely overthrown. Genuine democratic socialism has to come to the fore on many issues. Democratic government must be strengthened. Natural monopolies must be nationalized. Strategic industries, infrastructures and assets must also be nationalized. Equality of opportunity and welfare supports needs to be pursued as a national priority. Nation building must recommence and be our central focus. Health, welfare, education, science, research and development, on-shore production, renewable energy and ecological remediation need to become our major tasks.

    Footnote: It has to be said that those economists and others (including me) who from the start called for lock-down to effective elimination of the virus (in each polity) have been vindicated and proven 100% correct. Those nations which lost control of this virus are now in a very parlous social and economic condition, facing repeated lock-downs and far more economic damage than one initial concerted lock-down to effective elimination. Australia has succeeded so far with one concerted lock-down to effective elimination, except for Victoria which has required two lock-downs to date. The determination and wisdom of our state government leaders, in contrast to the feckless and reckless “reopen-too-soon” bias of our national government, has saved us from disaster. This shows the strength of Australia’s Federal system but also simply the good fortune of being a low population, large island continent far from the primary and subsequent epicenters of the pandemic. Luck has played a significant role but wise, science-driven policy at the level of the states has also played its role. The strength of the combined Premiers is a good counterbalance against the remote and out-of-touch Canberra political bubble.

  26. Svante – Onselen’s commentary looks like fairly standard and hypocritical diversionary Right leaning “Environmentalists are hypocrites” stuff to me – in this case criticism for not supporting reduced immigration/reduced refugee intake that the RW pundits popularise through “African gangs”, “Terrorist refugees”, “sex changes paid for by taxpayers” memes. Sure, The Greens don’t particularly want to go there – “wicked” problem and all that – but nor does the LNP or ALP, both with much greater resources, including institutional, for developing policy.

    Looks like Onselen at least is deliberately conflating Australia’s immigration policies with global population policy and population policy with climate policy, that to care about global population and climate requires The Greens – or Environmentalists in general or people who care about issues like global warming (who are lumped in with The Greens) – to support the LNP’s (and ALP supported/tolerated) harsh refugee policies. They are expected to oppose immigration or face criticism for it, a criticism he has not leveled at the ALP or LNP. Given how climate refugees are going to feature highly in the future there is need for international responses other than walls, boats and armed border patrols but I am not seeing it from the combined LNP/ALP’s absolute majority.

    I don’t think it has been demonstrated that it works the same for population as for climate and energy, for all that Onselen and others seek to conflate them – Australia could phase out export coal and gas mining for example, local action with global consequences but opposing immigration is not a contribution to global population policy. Onselen shows little if any sign of sincere desire to get better national or international population policy, not from the LNP or ALP, no more than for climate policy. With his finger pointing at immigration policy faults in The Greens the focus is (again) shifted from policy faults of the LNP or ALP. That this is somehow the fault of Environmentalism being unreasonable is unreasonable.

    “You care, you fix it” gets followed by “Not like THAT!”. Anything except “We care too and we propose THIS!”. Opposing what The Greens propose or criticising what they fail to propose, in place of a policy is the antithesis of having a policy.

    I think that whilst Australia should indeed be doing more on climate change locally, marking our nation clearly and unequivocally in the international sphere as belonging to that group of nations seeking to address the issue rather than aligning with nations that seek to impede global action. Marking ourselves as supporting availability of the healthcare, voluntary contraception and improved prosperity that result in lowered birth rates around the world does not require supporting restrictive migration or refugee policies locally.

  27. James, I’ve been disappointed in geothermal; it seems to have a lot of potential that has failed to be realised. The systems that required less drilling than this looped pipe proposal – just vertical boreholes into existing wet rock or fracked and water injected dry rock – have not been notable winners. Of course parts of the fossil fuel industry – the drillers – would find much to like in significant improvements, through a different type of geothermal. Especially should their efforts to prevent restrictions and boost subsidies on fossil fuel use, through lobbying and influence and lawfare, fail.

  28. ” They have been permitted to rule by a compliant and foolish working and middle class population which does not properly understand the basis of its own prosperity. ” -Iko

    Yes I mainly blame the middle and upper middle class too ,not so much the working class tho. The Capitalist class always needs a large administrative class to implement their agenda – these are well rewarded and also educated so they should know better .The working class are usually desperate ,distracted and under informed. Nothing better could be hoped for from the Capitalist class ,they are just doing what they always do and are probably beyond help. The administrative class enthusiastically went along with the Neo liberal agenda when they didnt have to.

    Unfortunately successful Covid management in China means a government tracking app on your phone. There seems to be some other large population countries with significant poverty that have done OK without resorting to that .Having too much of the Freedom virus is the biggest hurdle .

  29. Ikonoclast,
    You state: “These elites are selfish, incompetent and ignorant. They are science deniers.”

    When it suits them. When it directly affects/threatens them (or their families), I’d suggest it’s the case for them of “do as I say, not as I do”.

    For example, Trump publicly played down the threats of COVID-19 but it seems took full advantage of the best advanced experimental science to help him overcome his infection. Some of the treatments used remain unavailable to most Americans.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/05/trumps-use-of-regenerons-experimental-coronavirus-treatment-creates-very-tough-situation-ceo-says.html

    You also state: “If China can cope with COVID-19 and prevent widespread epidemic in its own country and the West largely cannot…”

    It depends on whether you can fully trust the information coming out of China. I’d suggest information in China seems to be tightly controlled by the CCP. Many Western reporters seem to be either constantly harassed/detained if they don’t toe the CCP line, or ultimately forced to leave.

    You also state: “Nation building must recommence and be our central focus. Health, welfare, education, science, research and development, on-shore production, renewable energy and ecological remediation need to become our major tasks.”

    If we/humanity cannot solve the climate crisis then nothing else will matter in the longer-term. I’d suggest the climate crisis is THE top priority, together with energy security. Nothing happens without energy. That doesn’t mean others you mention aren’t important.

    From Ian Bayly, published Aug 16:
    “Coronavirus will have a temporary effect on much of humanity but global warming will have a permanent impact on the whole of humanity. Our current federal government relies heavily on science to deal with the former but largely rejects it for the latter. Here we see politicians using science to take quick and effective action on Covid-19 partly to secure their immediate survival but callously, if not criminally, ignoring the science of climate change and with it the future survival of our young Australians. It is bad enough that we have now saddled future generations with an enormous financial debt in an endeavor to save the Australian economy from a virus-induced collapse. However, it is unconscionable that future generations should additionally suffer an existential climate crisis because of wilful ignorance.”
    https://johnmenadue.com/40-years-of-climate-warnings-ignored-by-australian-politicians/

  30. Clearly, the best thing to do regarding population and the environment would be to stop damaging the environment and start repairing it while increasing immigration in order to:

    1. Have more people to help with this task.
    2. Remove them from countries where their presence will result in more environmental harm than benefit.

    I suggest going carbon neutral in 5 years and carbon negative in 6. In can of course make sense to increase immigration before that if people’s presence here will result in less environmental harm than it would if they remained where they are.

  31. Ronald,

    It would be grievous mistake to recommence immigration into Australia on any large scale. Australia is the most arid, populated continent on earth. Its environment is already degrading severely with just 25 million people and an agriculture system that produces food for 75 million overall when our net food exports are counted. Every million people extra we feed here on this continent will be another million we don’t feed elsewhere with our food exports. Significant immigration into Australia is and will continue to be a zero sum game in global terms. Indeed because of various externality effects (further environmental degradation here and our propensity to over-eat) putting more people in Australia will actually be a negative sum result which would mean more people starve overseas. It would be better that we remain sustainable and a net food exporter to assist some other nations. The best thing we can do to help the world overall is to cease exporting coal.

  32. Ikon said “but wise, science-driven policy at the level of the states has also played its role.”

    A bit of good news… “unencumbered by financial contracts”…(bit of a dig too imo)

    Yay. Science & simulation models, multidisciplinary team & pollies who listem. Amazing what we could achieve.

    “Melbourne’s coronavirus second wave seemed impossible to defeat. Our modelling showed exactly how to do it

    “Firstly, our team was unencumbered by financial contracts. There was no financial nor other employee-employer relationship that influenced us to deliver DHHS a “preferred” solution. On such critical work, the arms-length (or at least 1.5m) freedom to agree and disagree with government in the collaborative process of model building is paramount.

    “Secondly, our team is multi-disciplinary. 

    “Scientific progress should be driven by both theory and observation. Observation alone is not enough if all it leaves us with is an ability to describe the past.

    “Simulation models of the kind our team used allowed policymakers to think through the future and provide a basis for better-informed real-world decision making.

    “All of us — including world-leading scientists — have learned something important this year. We have learned the value of simulation models as an additional contribution to science, and to public health.”…
    https://abc.net.au/news/2020-10-29/coronavirus-melbourne-how-we-hit-our-target/12826692

  33. mrkenfabian says: OCTOBER 29, 2020 AT 8:29 AM – apparently you’ve not read Prof Butler’s authoritative article and his and other comments that follow as I suggested. You’ve apparently ducked that perhaps because the The Greens ‘true believer’ pro-forma party-line arguments in those comment threads, such as you are making here yet again, are so thoroughly dealt with. You’ve apparently read Onselen’s remarks only, and choose to deal with what you believe is Onselen’s position on this ponzi Big Australia/environment issue, one you misconstrue as his being limited only to criticism of The Greens on this and not the liblabs et al.

    “Environmentalists are hypocrites” – it’s made plain that’s far from necessarily so. However it does apply to The Greens party formally and it’s environment negating population/immigration “sustainable growth” non-policy waffle. That plays straight into the plans of the growth without limit vested interest neoliberal moneyed elites. All the bleating and deflection about refugees doesn’t mask the central facts. Australia can have an excellent refugee policy, an excellent immigration policy, an excellent Australian population policy, an excellent foreign aid policy with respect to population issues beyond Australian borders, and an excellent environmental policy, but Big Australia however it’s sold is not it, not even a part of it!

    “Australia could phase out export coal and gas mining for example, local action with global consequences but opposing immigration is not a contribution to global population policy.” – But Big Australia with it’s unparalleled immigration numbers and population growth is! Do tell.

    “pointing at immigration policy faults in The Greens the focus is (again) shifted from policy faults of the LNP or ALP. That this is somehow the fault of Environmentalism being unreasonable is unreasonable.” – So get rid of the faults. Suck it up, they aren’t the faults of “Environmentalism”, they are the faults of The Greens. At core The Greens are increasingly seen to be seriously flawed. Bob Brown sees it, and it’s noted you don’t go there even though Brown’s recent apology and revisionary comments are why The Conversation allowed the article you seem not to have read!

  34. Svante, I did read Butler’s article but not all the comments. He failed to say anything about the population policies of LNP or ALP at all – not one word, although at least he wasn’t conflating local immigration policy with global population policy like Onselen. So why single out The Greens except Bob that Brown DID speak about global population?

  35. mrkenfabian,

    Brown recently declared the world’s population must start to decline before 2100, telling The Australian newspaper:

    We are already using more than what the planet can supply and we use more than the living fabric of the planet in supply. That’s why we wake up every day to fewer fisheries, less forests, more extinctions and so on. The human herd at eight billion is the greatest herd of mammals ever on this planet and it is unsustainable to have that growing.

    What part of Prof Butler’s opening Bob Brown quote above does not apply to Australia?

    Prof Butler later posed the question:

    As Brown said, we should be “having a mature debate” about population growth. But where to start?

    Try starting with Dr Jane O’Sullivan’s SPA discussion paper quote of Angela Nagle as a mindful point of reference. From the above linked (OCTOBER 28, 2020 AT 8:10 PM https://population.org.au/publications/discussion-papers/ageing ) discussion paper “Silver tsunami or silver lining? Why we should not fear an ageing population”:

    These responses characterise the double bind of the Australian population debate, which on one
    hand demands that numbers be discussed separately from ethnicity, and on the other hand
    ensures that any attempt to do so is called out for “dog-whistling xenophobia” or “greenwashing
    racism”. This manifests itself in the near-silence of the environmental movement on the subject
    of population numbers, which were a central environmental concern before accusations of racism
    suppressed the expression of this concern. American left-wing commentator Angela Nagle
    labelled such accusers the “useful idiots of big business”
    .^135 (page 35)

    Then at least read the 4 page section containing that from page 31 headed “Merchants of myth: the creation of the ageing population panic” for a succinct history of how the moneyed elite took over and twisted everything concerning population and immigration in Australia for their own vested interests.

    “Where to start?” Well, one wouldn’t choose to start from here, but ascertaining the facts and knowing how one got to here does offer a re-starting point out of the corrupted mess… just as Bob Brown and Jane O’Sullivan in their own ways again lead the way.

  36. mrkenfabian, re “at least he wasn’t conflating local immigration policy with global population policy”:

    Colin D. Butler
    Honorary Professor, Australian National University

    In reply to Graham Clews
    Hi Graham, thanks for your comments. I deliberately dodged the issue of Australia’s pop’n in the essay – you are right – but clearly in 800 words trying to do so much would have left me vulnerable because it’s not enough space (ie with the other issues I discussed.)

    But I have (naturally) thought about Australia’s population, and I also published on the idea, a little, for the Australian Academy of Science, in 2013. http://www.sciencearchive.org.au/policy/australia-2050/volume2.html

    My position is complicated and unpopular. I will try to briefly summarise the key points: … (17 paragraphs) …</blockquote

    https://theconversation.com/bob-brown-is-right-its-time-environmentalists-talked-about-the-population-problem-148347#comment_2368450

  37. From PVMagazine: “… renewables such as solar PV and wind power have accounted for 52.4% of national electricity generation [in Germany] thus far this year. [… ] the chances are good that renewable energy will account for more than half of all electricity generation for the full year as a whole, from around 46% for all of 2019.”
    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/10/29/solar-other-renewables-heading-for-new-record-in-germany/

    IIRC this is the first time a major national economy has broken 50% relying mainly on wind and solar. Brazil is above it, based on huge legacy hydro dams including Itaipu, and there are a handful of high-renewable minnows like Norway, Iceland. Denmark, Costa Rica. Paraguay, and Bhutan. Note that Germany’s grid (SAIDI around 10 minutes) is much more reliable than Australia’s (around 200 minutes).

  38. Svante – dead link, but if the immigration policies of The Greens was so pivotal, Butler would have mentioned it in the body of the article. It wasn’t even about Enviromentalists per se. Again, why is this specifically an issue for Environmentalists to address and solve and why are they to blame for the failures of LNP and Labor to have policies that address global population growth?

    Climate policy is within a framework of global co-operation arising, not from Environmentalism, no matter they are loud voices on it, but from decades of top level, science based expert advice by, for and to participating nations. It an international framework which Australian governments joined but have mostly sought to impede and undermine once they realised it was serious, but it is not an issue that belongs to any one political party of any one nation. Like Butler, like Onselen, you have not even mentioned LNP/ALP population policy. The climate and population issues are intertwined but they are not the same.

    Ikonoclast – I don’t know how many people Australia can take. I suspect we don’t use our resources very efficiently and are extravagantly wasteful for the most part and could take more, but with looming climate change likely to eat away at carrying capacity. I don’t support open borders but want Australia making positive contributions to international efforts around refugees, that should include taking some, even if the priority is to aid people in place. As one of the world’s biggest wholesale suppliers of Global Warming, there is responsibility.

  39. Of course Bob Brown is right about overpopulation. But endless-growthers don’t want to hear about biological, ecological and biosphere-physics facts. The endless-growthers are an unholy alliance of the rich elites, big business, geo-strategists (who conceive of population as power) and theologians plus “ethnic nationalists” (who want to out-breed “competitors”). What a sad ambition it is to desire to rule in a collapsing world.

  40. mrkenfabian,

    As I previously outlined to Ronald, Australia has a population of 25 million and produces enough food to feed 75 million people; Our net food exports feed about 50 million people. Even at that rate we are degrading our environment plus Australia faces imminent, real devastation from climate change. The idea that we can expand on that, r significantly feed part of the the world or take significant numbers of immigrants and refugees is a non-starter.

    We can do a little globally speaking. We should cease thermal coal production and remediate our environment so that (hopefully) our current food production does not degrade the environment further. We could provide aid and refugee places to Pacific island nations affected by climate change and sea level rise. We could even fix our native peoples problem perhaps? Charity begins at home.

    In any case, the COVID-19 pandemic means immigration and emigration plus international tourism are excluded as realistic policies for the next 4 years at least after this year. A total of five years crisis is the minimum we face from COVID-19. Indeed, the world will probably never go back to the old “normal”

    I think it unlikely that this crisis will be over before January 2025. Before this, no vaccine has ever been made for a pulmonary coronavirus. Before this, no vaccine has ever been made for humans for any coronavirus. In addition, vaccines for pulmonary diseases are incredibly difficult to make effective (and safe). They will be pushing the boundaries of technical feasibility to even get a safe, effective vaccine. And then immunity might only last as little as 3 to 6 months. And the virus can mutate. Then we have to roll out a vaccine to 8 billion people near enough and maybe vaccinate everyone twice a year, every year. Good luck with that.

    The old world is over. A new world had begun. It will have far less places for humans. Humans will need to distance and stay at home and in their onw locality by and large. That is how humans lived for most of history. That is how they will have to live again. Those that can’t learn and show some sense will die unless fortuitously young, healthy and naturally resistant. Humans think they have a right to own and dominate the whole world. They don’t. Nature will show them (us) in no uncertain terms that we do not have this right or ability. At least half of the whole world has to be left to re-wild and we probably need to reduce to about 3.5 billions with a modest lifestyle. If we don’t do that in a voluntary, planned, intelligent de-growth manner then nature will do it for us and it won’t be pretty.

  41. From Coalwire, without comment: “Coal baron Bob Murray, a backer of Donald Trump and advocate of mining deregulation, has died from black lung disease.”

  42. Ikonoclast (re your comments at OCTOBER 30, 2020 AT 8:51 AM)
    IMO, you mostly make some good observations well argued points.

    You state: “Our net food exports feed about 50 million people. Even at that rate we are degrading our environment plus Australia faces imminent, real devastation from climate change.”

    Most Australian soils are generally deficient in phosphorous, due to extensive weathering. While native plants are adapted to these low levels, introduced crops and pasture grasses are not, which means phosphorus-based fertilisers need to be applied to soils to achieve productive yields.

    Why we need to transform phosphorous use in the global food system:
    1. Phosphorous = food – phosphorous is as essential as water, carbon or oxygen;
    2. A growing food demand means a growing phosphorous demand;
    3. The world’s main source of phosphorus-based fertilizer – phosphate rock – is finite, and we’ve used up most of the easy, high grade resources;
    4. All farmers need phosphorous, yet just 5 countries (Morocco, China, Algeria, Syria & South Africa) control 88% of the world’s remaining known phosphate rock reserves – a geopolitical risk;
    5. Phosphorous is mismanaged – four-fifths is lost or wasted in the supply-chain, from mine to field to fork;
    6. Cheap phosphorous-based fertiliser is now history for farmers – up to a billion farmers lack access;
    7. No international or national policies, guidelines or organisations are responsible for ensuring long-term availability and accessibility of phosphorous for food production.
    See: http://phosphorusfutures.net/the-phosphorus-challenge/

    You state: “We can do a little globally speaking.”
    I disagree, if you mean “we” as Australia.

    In 2019, Australia was the world’s:
    * largest met coal exporter (55% global share);
    * second largest thermal coal exporter (20% global share), after Indonesia (41%);
    * fourth largest total coal producer – energy content basis (7.8% global share), after China (47.6%), Indonesia (9.0%), USA (8.5%);
    * equal largest LNG exporter (22% global share) with Qatar;
    * seventh largest fossil gas producer – volume basis (3.8% global share), after USA (23.1%), Russia (17.0%), Iran (6.1%), China (4.5%), Qatar (4.1%), Canada (4.3%).

    What Australia does matters globally.

  43. Geoff Miell,

    I was referring to food production and population carrying capacity. Australia has little capacity in that regard compared to the overall global population. I agree that we can do a significant amount more for the world by stopping coal, oil and gas production in that order and soon. Our oil production is very low in any case.

    China of course is asserting its perceived right and/or imperative to catch up to the West. In doing that it will provide the coup de grace to the climate on its own. I agree that Australia should stop using fossil fuels. I also hold that China, USA and India should stop doing the same and very soon. Plain fact of the matter is that they won’t stop. They see their geostrategic struggle as trumping the effort to save the climate. Hence, we are pretty much doomed. Australia is an ant other than in coal and gas production. When the elephants fight the ants get crushed. – reputedly an old Zulu saying.

  44. Ikon said “They will be pushing the boundaries of technical feasibility to even get a safe, effective vaccine. And then immunity might only last as little as 3 to 6 months. And the virus can mutate. Then we have to roll out a vaccine to 8 billion people near enough and maybe vaccinate everyone twice a year, every year. Good luck with that.”

    Immunity, physical distancing, soap, maks will it seems, be with us for the medium term -3-5yrs??? or 2025 as Ikon states – without a 100% EFFECTIVE vaccine, for everyone, everywhere.

    “[Note: biostatisticians use the term efficacy when the data come from the gold-standard randomized clinical trial while they use effectiveness when the data are observational.]”^1.

    “Cutting infection rate by half is not the same as protecting half the people from infection

    “That assumption is directly contradicted by information from the vaccine trials. My review of the Moderna trial documents revealed that the cumulative baseline rate of infection over a six-month period is (assumed to be) 0.75%. So, only 7 or 8 people out of 1,000 who got placebo during the trial are expected to get infected over six months. This puts a lid on how many people can actually benefit. A 100% efficacious vaccine would eliminate these 7 or 8 infections. A 50% efficacious vaccine would reduce infections by half, that is to say, 3 or 4 infections. Cutting the number of infections from 8 to 4 per 1,000 is still a good thing but it’s not true that 500 people are protected.

    “Remember no one knows which 8 people would catch the virus. If we knew, we would just vaccinate them.
    “Cutting infection rate by half is not the same as protecting half the people from infection

    ^1.
    https://junkcharts.typepad.com/numbersruleyourworld/2020/10/cutting-the-infection-rate-by-half-is-not-the-same-as-protecting-half-the-people-from-infection.html
    ****

    “How do we measure how well influenza vaccines work?
    “Two general types of studies are used to determine how well influenza vaccines work: randomized controlled trials and observational studies. These study designs are described below.”
    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/effectivenessqa.htm

  45. Weird quibble. If 50% of those who had gotten infected otherwise don’t get infected, that’s just the same, unless you are counting vaccination costs per avoided case. As that other post already points out, that 50% vaccine should do:-” Herd immunity now complicates this picture. If enough people get the vaccine, typically 60% or higher, the amount of virus circulating in the population is suppressed enough that the infection rate for the unvaccinated will dip below 1% so collective action creates a positive externality.”
    https://junkcharts.typepad.com/numbersruleyourworld/2020/09/masks-and-vaccines.html%20
    So we add some softer current measures like masks in public transport, no mass events with lots of drunks yelling load, no hand shaking etc…., that will do to get the reproduction a lot below 1 and the virus close to extinction. The vaccine should also reduce death rates among those who get infected anyway. That point could already be achieved by the end of the next year in the richer nations. The most important people – those with the highest death risk and the highest risk to spread the virus further should get the vaccine much earlier, some already in January. That will already be a major relief.

  46. Ikonoclast,
    “I was referring to food production and population carrying capacity. Australia has little capacity in that regard compared to the overall global population.”
    In absolute terms, I agree. But as you highlight, Australia proportionally ‘punches above its weight’ re our food production. I’d suggest there’s a future risk from dangerous climate change (as you highlighted) and long-term phosphorus supply (as I highlighted).

    “Our oil production is very low in any case.”
    In absolute terms, yes – Aus crude oil + condensate production average in 2019 was 400,000 barrels per day equivalent (0.5% global share).
    Relative to Aus total liquid fuels domestic consumption average of 1,088,000 barrels per day equivalent (1.1% global share) – I’d suggest it’s still significant, although most of our finished fuels (petrol, diesel, LPG, Jet-A1, etc.) are imported. That’s a serious energy security risk. If Australia’s petroleum-based liquid fuel supplies are substantially disrupted then the country will grind to a halt within a few weeks.
    See: https://crudeoilpeak.info/australias-oil-consumption-highly-vulnerable-to-events-in-the-middle-east

    “I also hold that China, USA and India should stop doing the same and very soon. Plain fact of the matter is that they won’t stop.”
    Economics is a powerful driver for change.
    Many companies are waking-up to the climate crisis and the existential threat to their businesses’ ongoing endurance/survival.
    The question is: Will it be too little, too late?
    How we/humanity respond now and before 2030 is crucial for how much further we fail – how much more hostile planet Earth becomes – Mid-Pliocene (+2.0–3.0 °C above pre-industrial age, sea levels +10–22 m higher) OR Mid-Miocene (+4.0–5.0 °C, sea levels +10–60 m higher) like climate.

    China, Japan and South Korea have flagged change. I’d suggest Aus pollies are still in denial.
    See: https://reneweconomy.com.au/foreign-minister-refuses-to-welcome-zero-carbon-pledges-as-australia-goes-it-alone-93762/

  47. Grrrr… ” Amazon’s attorney wrote, “An individual does not need to read an agreement in order to be bound by it.”… Cory Doctrow said “We’re in a golden age of digital feudalism.”

    “Amazon says only corporations own property 

    “Even when it comes to nondigital transactions, Amazon goes to enormous lengths to ensure that the traditional property rights that we take for granted do not apply to its customers, workers or suppliers – but remain intact for Amazon itself.

    “Think of its onerous terms of service, its binding arbitration waivers, its confidentiality agreements, misclassifying the bulk of its workforce as “contractors” who are not entitled to workplace protections and the remedies of labor law.

    “In this regard, Amazon is no different from the bulk of large firms, whose preference is that property rights – and all other rights – are the exclusive purview of transhuman, immortal colony organisms called Limited Liability Corporations.

    “Artificial persons are the only people who get to own property, or seek protection under the law. Flesh-and-blood humans – customers, workers, etc – are little more than occasionally inconvenient gut-flora.

    “We have a name for a system in which only a tiny elite get to own property and everyone else has to lease that property and confine their uses to those that are in the interests of the aristocracy: it’s called feudalism.

    “We’re in a golden age of digital feudalism.”…
    https://pluralistic.net/2020/10/29/victim-complex/#digital-feudalism

  48. mrkenfabian says: OCTOBER 30, 2020 AT 8:04 AM,

    “if the immigration policies of The Greens was so pivotal, Butler would have mentioned it in the body of the article.”
    – Why? He said why he did not, and could not do so, ie., limited space, hostile woke editorial, etc. He intimated that the sole reason The Conversation allowed him some air this time, after so many times denying it, was the relationship and importance of Bob Brown to The Greens in Australia (a supposedly environmentally concerned political party), and the significance of and media attention received by Brown’s recent sadly apologetic and revisionary comments about Those Greens.

    In the comment I linked earlier you would have seen Butler state: “So, I support immigration to Australia, though at a lower level than pre-covid. But it’s not because I personally like it.”

    “It wasn’t even about Enviromentalists per se.”
    – Correct! It was about The Greens! About the big business’ useful idiots of the Left position on immigration/population vis-a-vis the consequential negatives for environmental and human/social/planetary welfare.

    “why are they to blame for the failures of LNP and Labor to have policies that address global population growth?”
    – Pure whataboutery. Deflection as a cover up is all they have left when seen not to be wearing any clothes.

    “Climate policy… but it is not an issue that belongs to any one political party of any one nation.”
    – More deflection. Yes. they are nation based, and each has a proximal/primary responsibility for what goes on in their own backyard, for what they may have a direct and immediate say in controlling.

    “…decades of top level, science based expert advice by, for and to participating nations.”
    – That’s a complete crock! See Prof Steve Keen’s latest on climate policy and climate “science”, for one. With respect to immigration/population viz-a-viz the negative consequences for environmental and human/social/planetary welfare the Kochs, their CATOs and innumerable other fronts, their fellow travelling elites, their influence, their vested interests in high growth of their personal fortunes through greater profits delivered through creating high unemployment and marginal employment driving ever lowering wages and working conditions, their money, their power here there and everywhere have seen to it.

    “Like Butler, like Onselen, you have not even mentioned LNP/ALP population policy.”
    – Funny, neither did Bob Brown!

    “The climate and population issues are intertwined but they are not the same.”
    – And so …? Loads of issues are intertwined with climate but “not the same”. This “not the same” is yet another deflection. It is the intertwining that is crucially relevant.

    Click to access SPA-Silver-Tsunami-or-Silver-Lining-Discussion-Paper.pdf

    Read this and weep:
    https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2018/11/the-left-case-against-open-borders/

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