SPC News August 2019. No issue matters as much as climate change.

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No issue matters as much as climate change

Editorial

While the Morrison government dithers, climate specialists are alarmed that the chances to limit global warming are slipping away, with the likely result that we will be left facing truly catastrophic changes to ­the weather.

The former Liberal leader John Hewson, in the Fairfax media on 1 August, castigated the Morrison government for ignoring the overwhelming advice from, among many others, experts, fossil fuel miners, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and finance and insurance sectors. ‘I despair at just how long our Australian government can continue to deny the undeniable.’ Yet Australia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels, so damaging to the environment. Britain and Germany are planning to abandon coal in the ‘climate emergency’, while our government simply ignores the ‘urgency of the climate challenge’.


$trillion space games & false prophecies by billionaires, while Rome burns

Andrew Glikson

History testifies to powerful rulers’ aspirations to the position of gods, including the Pharaohs and Roman Emperors such as Caligula or Nero. Nowadays, such rulers are mimicked by billionaires and their followers, including some scientists, with false messianic prophecies in public and the media of ‘intergalactic civilisation’. Included are predictions of making life interplanetary by giant proprietors of space hardware, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson, with plans for space tourism, asteroid mining, and permanent human settlements on the Moon and Mars. By some estimates, such programs would be expected to cost about $1 trillion by 2040.

These ideas are closely linked to the rise of climate disruption and potential nuclear calamities, as well as to the upsurge of fascism. Billionaires’ space playgrounds can only come at the expense of the multitude of humanity left behind. Coupled with plans for militarisation and even weaponisation of space, humanity may be left with a few barren rocks in space to support a few survivors temporarily.

History testifies to powerful rulers’ aspirations for the position of gods, including the Pharaohs and Roman Emperors such as Caligula or Nero, nowadays mimicked by false messianic prophecies of ‘intergalactic civilization’ made by billionaires and their followers in public and the media, including some scientists. This includes predictions of making life interplanetary by giant proprietors of space hardware, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, including plans for space tourism, asteroid mining and permanent human settlements on the Moon and Mars.  This would by some estimates be expected to cost about  $1 trillion by 2040.

These ideas are closely linked to the rise of climate disruption and potential nuclear calamities and with the upsurge of fascism.  Space playgrounds of billionaires can only come at the expense of the multitude of humanity left behind where, coupled with plans for militarisation and even weaponisation of space, humanity may be left with a few barren rocks in space to temporarily support a few survivors.


How good is Scott Morrison?

Michael Keating

By any standard, Scott Morrison’s Government has a very threadbare policy agenda. Furthermore, the Government seems resistant to new ideas, whether from its backbench or from the public service. According to Scott Morrison, the role of the public service is limited to implementing government policy. This may help explain the thinness of his Government’s policy agenda.

Scott Morrison recently told a press conference that ‘the initiatives I want to see the public service focus on [are] implementation, implementation, doing’. ‘The public service… is the engine room through which a government implements its agenda, [and I] expect them to get on with the job of implementing the Government’s agenda’. ‘The public service is at its best when it is really getting on with things’. And to emphasise his point, Morrison then cited ‘The North Queensland floods [as being], I think, a very good example of our public service at its best’.

When questioned by a journalist about ‘the important advisory role of the public service’, Morrison’s replied, ‘It is the job of the public service to advise you of the challenges that may present to a Government in implementing its agenda. That is the advisory role of the public service’ (my emphasis).


‘Nuclear energy is never profitable’. New study slams nuclear power business case

Michael Mazengarb

A new study of the economics of nuclear power has found it has never been financially viable, that most plants have been built while heavily subsidised by governments, often motivated by military purposes, and that nuclear power is not a good approach to tackling climate change.

The study has come from DIW Berlin, a leading German economic think tank. It found, after reviewing trends in nuclear power plant construction since 1951, that the average 1,000MW nuclear power plant would incur an average economic loss of 4.8 billion euros ($7.7 billion AUD).

The report’s authors are also pessimistic about the future of nuclear power, concluding that it will remain unprofitable into the foreseeable future.


40 years ago, scientists predicted climate change. And, hey, they were right

Neville Nicholls

Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole in Massachusetts for the first meeting of the ‘Ad Hoc Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate’. It led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report, the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide.

Over the ensuing 40 years, as the world warmed pretty much as Charney and his colleagues expected, climate change science improved, with improved models which included some of the factors missing from their 1979 deliberations.

This subsequent science has, however, only confirmed the conclusions of the Charney Report, although much more detailed predictions of climate change are now possible than in 1979.


Treasuring our earth, even in the Californian earthquakes

Danusia Kaska

Recently, I had the joy to travel to California with a friend, and to appreciate the natural beauty of Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks, as well as the rugged coastline of the California coast. It was breathtaking in every way, and very humbling when standing beside a 2,800 year old Sequoia tree, or standing on top of a 9000-foot clifftop. It puts everything into perspective, how small we are in the grand scale of the earth. We are merely humans on a journey in God’s awesome country.

With all this beauty and spectacular scenery, there was another reality we experienced, that of natural disasters. Earthquakes of 6.3, 6.1, and 7.1 on the Richter scale (very large) displaced and rattled thousands of people, although thankfully they did not result in serious injuries or deaths. 


SPC membership renewals 2019-2020 & donation appeal

Thanks for your valued support for SPC. If you have not done so already, we invite you to become a financial member, or to renew your membership. Follow these links to download your 2019-2020 membership renewal or joining forms. Subscription fees remain $40 for individual members, and $80 for organisations.


SPC Video Selection

The Terraton Initiative

The Terraton Initiative seeks to reform farming practice, and so increase carbon content in the soil and absorb greenhouse gases.


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