Townsville — tropical Queensland

I have a cousin, Julie, in Townsville. She posted on Facebook that she is safe. On the floods there see Townsville flooding forces hundreds to evacuate, leaves police clinging to trees after dam gates fully opened.

Julie has posted quite a few photos. These two — not taken by Julie — highlight another danger from floods in that part of Australia.

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Quite a dramatic few days

Especially when it comes to weather. I stayed home yesterday. Wollongong at times looked like this — and by the way as I write the sun has just come out!

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But Sydney got it worse.

Meanwhile in Queensland!

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And dear me, in the weird world of media — specifically The Oz — even more remarkable things have been noted. I can’t help wondering if after all we should revisit that moon landing really being faked in Hollywood or 9/11 being an inside job! I think the Oz has gone quite mad….

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Tony Cheshire Cat?

Saw Tony Abbott’s doorstop on ABC News at 9.00 am. The face said it all, as it so often does. The words were calculated as a facsimile of reason. I do find myself rather endorsing this person, who clearly has a bit of a chip on the shoulder though. (Kaye describes herself as a middle-aged woman in jammies. She knew Tony Abbott when they both attended Sydney University where she studied for a Bachelor of Science. After 20 years teaching mathematics, with the introduction of the GST in 2000, she became a ‘feral accountant’ for the small business that she and her husband own. Kaye uses her research skills “to pass on information, to join the dots, to remember what has been said and done and to remind others, and to do the maths.”) But do read her Tony Abbott is responsible for our high energy prices, if only as a counterpoint to the stuff appearing on the groupie/anti-Turnbull media.

When the 2010 election did not produce a clear winner, Gillard negotiated the support of the Greens and Independents to form government by promising to introduce carbon pricing.  The policy was introduced in 2012 with the effect of bringing down emissions and prompting a surge of investment in renewable energy projects.

With old coal-fired power stations reaching the end of their ‘technical’ lives, this investment was crucial to help cover the transition as they closed down.  Gas could have been an option to help during this period except the government had agreed to export it with no compulsion to retain sufficient to cover domestic needs, leading to skyrocketing prices locally which are unlikely to come down any time soon.

Then the wrecker won in 2013 and threw out any certainty the industry thought they had.  Investment in new generation ground to a halt.  No-one was going to invest in coal and the rest of the world were more than happy to accept their investment in renewables.

Emissions started rising again for the first time in a decade and energy prices continued to rise astronomically, much higher than any increases due to the carbon price.

But Tony couldn’t care less about that as his tweet this weekend showed.

“To have a chance of winning the next election, the Coalition must create a policy contest on energy, not a consensus.”…

In Spectator Terry Barnes (senior adviser to Tony Abbott in the Howard government from 2003 to 2007) makes an interesting if rather odd comparison:

Turnbull’s handling of the National Energy Guarantee is a fiasco.

It is perfectly conceivable that Turnbull’s leadership could be on the line very soon, either in the party room or on the floor of the House of Representatives when former PM Tony Abbott and the other the NEG rebels have the chance to park their bums where their mouths are.

So, while Peter Dutton is being touted as the likely challenger, it’s fair to ask whether an Abbott restoration has any real legs. For better or worse Abbott is a known quantity and still the Liberal base’s favourite, while Dutton remains an enigma as a potential leader.

Don’t doubt that Abbott would take it if it comes. He would be just like Marshal Petain in France’s darkest hour in June 1940: when the French government collapsed suddenly, the newly-recalled Petain was asked by his president to form a government, and instantly took a piece of paper out of his pocket listing his ministry. It was always there, just in case….

The first sentence there is, alas, only too true. Hence this, God help us!

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So many issues involved here! I find myself sadly reading the best in-print introduction I know to climate change, The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson. My copy is the 2008 edition, so ten years old. Again sadly, it ably and convincingly refutes just about every assumption still made ten years on by the mockers who parade terms like “global warmist” across, for example, the Murdoch tabloids. I note with interest that the American Meteorological Society has more recently published Henson’s The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change. I am sure it is very good.

Online you should look at Skeptical Science. You will get the latest there from a site that deservedly won a Eureka Prize a few years ago. Alas, the voices against such good science have lately been strengthened by the actions and tweets of you know who: It’s not okay how clueless Donald Trump is about climate change.

Finally, I share two graphics from a still reliable US source: first, Global Climate Report – June 2018 — 2018 year-to-date temperatures versus previous years.

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Second, Year-to-date (January–June).

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Let’s get serious… about climate

It has been quite a long time since I last posted about climate change. Now I do, visually in the main, taking images from far and near. The moral? Expressed as well as can be here: We can’t hide from global warming’s consequences.

In early July, the temperature in Ouargla, Algeria, reached 51.3 C, the highest ever recorded in Africa! Temperatures in the eastern and southwestern United States and southeastern Canada have also hit record highs. In Montreal, people sweltered under temperatures of 36.6 C, the highest ever recorded there, as well as record-breaking extreme midnight heat and humidity, an unpleasant experience shared by people in Ottawa. Dozens of people have died from heat-related causes in Quebec alone.

Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East have also reached all-time record temperatures. In Northern Siberia, along the Arctic coast, the temperature was over 32 C on July 5, much hotter than ever recorded.

My friend Russell Darnley posted this on Facebook just now:

  1. If anyone is still doubting the reality of global warming. This image is from Rovaniemi, Finland, last Wednesday.
  2. One more fact to share about this photograph is that it was taken in a city which is located within the Arctic Circle!

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Then we have California:

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Less spectacularly and closer to home:

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Another friend, Julie McCrossin, posted this from her property near Wellington NSW.

It is desperately dry out here. The wild life obviously suffer too. We have many kangaroos on our land. There are hills behind our property & the roos come down looking for grass. One has moved into our yard & seems unwell.

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Closer to home:

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Photographer Sandpiper has posted this recent image from Marulan:

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Finally, a must-watch video: a screenshot —

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Fire and fury this weekend!

And I am avoiding talking about Syria or Donald Trump in any form. Sprayed a bit on Facebook though…

No, locally we have been very much watching this. A relative was in the firing line.

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See Police hunt ‘arsonist’ after out of control bushfire in Sydney’s south west eases. Fortunately thus far there has been no loss of life and little property damage. Great job by the firefighters!

But how about this? What a bizarre thing! This view was taken from a passing suburban train!

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See Train drives through bushfire zone.

It is unusual to have major bushfires in this part of Australia in April. See my 2013 post Still on bushfires. See also Bushfires in Australia.

A bushfire of another kind has been fanned by the Closing Ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Now I watched quite a lot of the Games and loved them, even generally loving Channel Seven’s coverage. But how on earth did they manage to OMIT the participants — the traditional entry of the athletes — from the televised coverage of the Closing Ceremony? At first I tended to blame Channel Seven, thinking they had prioritised My Kitchen Rules over the key part of the ceremony, but apparently it was not their choice to bring the athletes in almost an hour before the telecast began.

Not enough athletes. Too many speeches. An overlong presentation for Birmingham. I ended up turning it off…

So Peter Beatty has done a mea culpa. But maybe the problem began here:

Some controversy has surrounded the appointment of Jack Morton Worldwide – an international firm with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Fortitude Valley – to run the Gold Coast’s Commonwealth Games 2018 opening and closing ceremonies, rather than an “Australian company”.

There were four applicants to the tender.

Tender rivals including Ric Birch, who has produced opening and closing events from Brisbane’s 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo 88 and then six Olympics, and David Atkins, wrote to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk earlier this week (December 2015) to protest Jack Morton Worldwide’s appointment….