A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

5 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. The Voice.
    “The solicitor-general was very clear. The Voice “would not pose any threat” to our system of government. In fact, it would “enhance” our system.”

    This phrase; “However, parliament could always amend or remove such a requirement. The Voice is subject to parliament.” is the one which makes me very frustrated at ‘No to the Voice’ people, as it indicates The Voice will be about as powerful as The Climate Council.

    Vote Yes to The Voice.

    “Solicitor-general confirms Voice model is legally sound, will not ‘fetter or impede’ parliament

    Published: April 21, 2023 5.02pm AEST

    “The solicitor-general was asked to advise the government on two questions.

    – whether the proposed amendment is compatible with Australia’s system of government

    – and whether the proposed amendment gives parliament the power to decide the legal effect of any representation, or whether parliament and the executive are required to consider or follow those representations.

    “What does the advice say?

    Question 1
    “The solicitor-general was very clear. The Voice “would not pose any threat” to our system of government. In fact, it would “enhance” our system.

    “Donaghue reached this conclusion for two reasons. First, the Voice does not alter the powers of parliament or government in any way. Section 129(2) makes clear the Voice has no veto. Section 129(2) also does not impose any obligation on parliament or the executive to consult with the Voice or follow its advice.

    “Second, more fundamentally, the Voice would remedy a “distortion” in our system of government. The solicitor-general explained that the Voice would help overcome “barriers that have historically impeded effective participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in political discussions and decisions that affect them”. In short, it would improve our democracy by ensuring Indigenous people can have their voices heard.

    Question 2
    “The second question was directed at the scope of the Voice’s power. It asked whether the parliament or executive would be required to consider or follow representations made by the Voice.

    “Once again, the solicitor-general was very clear: the answer is no. Donaghue explained that although it would “plainly be desirable for the Executive Government to consider any representations that the Voice makes to it”, parliament has the ultimate say.

    “This means parliament could enact a law to require ministers or public servants take the advice of the Voice into account when making decisions. However, parliament could always amend or remove such a requirement. The Voice is subject to parliament.

  2. The bird has flown

    Via CleanTechnica, an unassuming photo of a hundred or so people in a room in Basel:

    They are discussing CDR, carbon dioxide removal. Not, perish the thought, CCS, carbon capture and storage; the Bigendians and Littleendians are not on speaking terms. Blog post

    I think it means that greens who oppose carbon removal as a distraction from urgent mitigation, including many in this forum, have lost the argument. The junket was small, but represented an emerging alliance of key stakeholders: policymakers, including a desk officer for CDR at the European Commission; half-a-dozen technology startups, hoping to sell future removals; intermediaries like the organisers Carbonfuture, trying to grow a market in these; scientists; and potential private funders like Swiss Re. Many of them are highly motivated by two beliefs. One, they want to save the world. Two, they plan to make a lot of money doing so. They will not be deterred by being cut out of Greta’s Christmas card list, or swayed by sermons here.

    They are right to think the potential business opportunity from a state-created market is enormous. I tried my luck at guesstimating the bill for getting the world back to a 400 ppm CO2 concentration, where it stood in 2015: sequestering 700 gigatonnes of CO2 at say $50 a tonne, making $35 trillion over say 25 years, or $1.4 trn a year. This is certainly wrong in detail, but it fairly shows the order of magnitude. Future CDR conferences will be much bigger – and a steadily deteriorating climate means that public pressure for decisive action will grow.

    They are also right to think there is now no alternative. Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, puts the knockdown argument for climate repair:
    “‘Net-zero’ alone is insufficient: net-negative emissions will provide foundations for shifting current dangerous GHGs back towards pre-industrial levels that underpinned stable, hospitable climate patterns for millennia.”

    My advice to blanket opponents of CDR is simple. Give up, it’s too late. Hold your fire for the many bad-faith actors trying to use carbon removal as an excuse for fossil BAU, and the hucksters who will try to sell dud sequestration nostrums to a panicking world. King and Lamy are not fools but tough and experienced negotiators. They need support and intelligent criticism, not excommunication as heretics.

    I often comment on blog posts on the climate disaster to the effect “don’t forget about the massive and distinct health damage from air pollution by fossil fuels”. IIRC nobody has ever responded with accusations that I am promoting a dangerous distraction from the urgent need to cut carbon emissions. Why is CDR different?

  3. While some kind of net negative sounds good, it patently fails to recognise the (most) likely existence of irreversible thresholds, so that even if we do find ways of removing some of the past two hundred and change years of CO2 and CH4 releases, it is not going to address the dynamical systems issue of hysteresis, and since that’s a longer run problem, I see no reason to think that the captains of industry would be remotely concerned about this.

  4. James and Don, could you repost these in the Monday Message Board. I want to keep the Sandpit for stuff I don’t care whether I read or not/

  5. In my opinion, it is becoming more and more clear that the SARS-CoV-2 virus almost certainly *was* created in the Wuhan lab. Then it was leaked accidentally, not deliberately. However, we cannot be completely certain even yet. Most fact check sources suggest continuing uncertainty and differing opinions (on probability of origin) among researchers and government agencies. Some agencies point to the continuing egregious lack of full cooperation from the Chinese government dictatorship and its apparatus.

    Raina MacIntyre’s book “Dark Winter” made no final determinations. Like other researchers, Prof. MacIntyre still lacked essential facts, at time of writing, to make a full determination. However, Prof. MacIntyre at least raised the strong implication that the circumstantial evidence spoke strongly of potential human creation followed an accidental lab leak. To me, predisposed as I am by the broad facts of human behavior to see humans (at least under a self-interest system) as in the main venal, corrupt or corruptible and capable of almost any dishonesty to save their own skin, this looks very likely. There is a long global history of experiments, industrial accidents, lab accidents, leaks and cover-ups involving dangerous agents (biological, radiological and toxic, by private interests, governments, scientists and researchers, separately or in conspiracy, all covering up for their own interests while throwing their citizens and even humanity, potentially, under the bus.

    The true facts still remain difficult to ascertain. What may be happening here is the international confluence of elite interests over national interests and mass interests. It is in the self-interest of elite government, capitalist, medical and research groups in China, the US and elsewhere to deny their likely shared culpability in this matter. They are all trying to hoodwink their citizens to protect themselves. The current powers-that-be have shared incentives to lie to their citizens and to global citizens in general.

    US funders and researchers (not necessarily on site) were involved in assisting virus research in the Wuhan lab: involved in assisting coronavirus research with bat coronaviruses. Why they were doing something so unwise and assisting a foreign dictatorship clearly inimical to democracy, human rights, their own national interests and general global interests may be something only known and seemingly sensible to them. It certainly makes little sense except if careerist self-interest trumps all other human and humane considerations. The gains of this research are slim, or the gains can be made in safer ways, and the dangers are very high. It’s a high-risk endeavor with horrendous (fat) tail risk. Government bureaucrats and government themselves, at least in the US, were clearly asleep at the regulation and compliance wheels to allow this to happen. If all this were the case, they too of course would prefer to cover it all up.

    There was also the desire of the corporate capitalists and oligarchs to continue with business as usual with no measures (apart from leaky vaccines, it turned out) to impede the spread of the virus or the flow of their own profits. They too had a vested interest in saying it was a natural, not a man-made, virus. “Natural” sounds less dangerous (although that is not necessarily so anyway) and “natural” sort of sounds “inevitable and necessary”. “Oh, it’s natural and necessary. It’s inevitable, you can’t stop nature.” Then the whole “mild”, “natural”, “necessary and inevitable” calliope was wound up (steamed up?) to sound its tooting cacophonies of idiot talking points and help spread the bitter sorrow of mass death and mass disablement around the world.

    Much worse is almost certain to come. This pandemic in reality is still escalating, considerably due to the importance given to the suppression of data over the suppression of actual transmission. Are we going to let the likely culprits get away with this? Or will there finally be a full investigation and a proper professional and legal reckoning over what has happened? Professionally and legally heads should roll (not literally obviously). First, we need the true facts to come out. Going on past history, this can take up to 20 years unless some truly expediting measures are taken or unless too many hard and undeniable facts intrude sooner. I predict this crisis will worsen much further from the current point. Surely the pressure must continuously increase for the real truth to come out.

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