Saturday, August 18, 2018

Turnbull has been given a reprieve on leadership

Malcolm Turnbull has been given a reprieve on leadership while he faces a test on policy.
'It's personal': former prime minister Tony Abbott.
His fate depends on an unlikely – perhaps impossible – settlement to his own party’s endless wars on climate change.

The Prime Minister has given his critics a huge concession on the National Energy Guarantee but it is not enough. It will never be enough. A clash is certain.

Read the comment by David Crowe from The Age - “Turnbull has been given a reprieve on leadership.”

Parties race to pledge lower power bills as energy contest heats up

Households will be promised a $165 cut to their electricity bills in a new political contest on energy, as Labor and the Coalition race to announce tough new measures on big retailers, including penalties for price gouging.
Both major party's are promising lower power prices.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will reveal plans for simpler bills with “capped” prices under a Labor government, assuring voters he will force the big electricity companies to scrap “standing offers” that push up costs.

The move comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also prepares a power price crackdown that will set a price range for default electricity packages and fine the big retailers if they exceed the cap.

Read the story by David Crowe from The Age - “Parties race to pledge lower power bills as energy contest heats up.”

(The conversation about carbon emissions has been hijacked - all Australians, from our politician down, should have one prime concern and that is about how we go about reducing the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, that matter of costs should be secondary consideration, for if we don’t pay now we most certainly will later. Determined to preserve his job, Malcolm Turnbull, along with his coalition cohort, have changed the conversation from one which should have clearly, and responsibly, been about reducing Australia’s carbon emissions, to one that is purely about price.

The Australian electorate is price-sensitive and so the Labor Party and most other politicians, not The Greens, have jumped on board the price band-wagon and are riding it to the abyss - Robert McLean)

India monsoon: Hundreds dead in Kerala floods as rescuers work to evacuate survivors.

Rescuers have used helicopters and boats to evacuate thousands of people stranded on their rooftops following unprecedented flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala that killed at least 320 people, with the actual death toll feared to be much higher.
Troops step up desperate rescue attempts in India's
 flood-stricken Kerala after more than 100 bodies
were found in just 24 hours.
With heavy rains stopping after a week, rescuers moved quickly to take those marooned by floods to 1500 state-run camps.

They used more than a dozen helicopters and about 400 boats across the state, relief officials said.

(Climate change? Well, yes and no. The monsoons have long been a regular pattern for India and in fact, are depended upon by many people because of that regularity and the life-giving rain they bring. Probably the only thing that could be attributed to climate change is the ferocity and intensity of the present event, and that intensity fits near perfectly with what the climate scientists have predicted - Robert McLean)

Understanding change in marine ecosystems: a grand challenge for science

Observing and understanding changes in the marine realm is a critical challenge for science — and the future of our oceans, argues Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas.
Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas.

Listen to Ockham’s Razor on ABC Radio - “Understanding change in marine ecosystems: a grand challenge for science.”

With Nature against climate change

Science has shown, beyond doubt that humans have brought climate change upon themselves, but in an act illustrating insanity continue to use the technologies fundamental to the trouble, all along largely ignoring the help nature offers.

Invest just 30 minutes of you time to Anthony Fennel on the Future Tense podcast discuss the wonderful help nature affords and it is something we simply need to cooperate with rather than compete with.

Listen to the “With Nature against climate change” podcast from Future Tense.

Little pleasure ahead for Turnbull as MPs wrestle to control energy policy

In a ridiculous old Woody Allen movie, Sleeper, his character is cryogenically frozen in the 1970s and wakes up a couple of centuries later. He soon finds himself to be a fugitive from the law.
Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
He disguises himself as a domestic robot and is assigned to serve a rich family as butler. When the family holds a party, the hostess brings out the entertainment - the orgasmic orb.

This futuristic pleasure accessory is a metal sphere about the size of a grapefruit; just touching it is enough to bring on great waves of gratification.

The robot's task is simply to hand it from one guest to the next. But the faux robot finds himself in such a swoon of pleasure that he refuses to let go. Hilarity ensues as the others try to separate an enraptured Woody Allen from his cheap thrills.

In Australian politics, the orgasmic orb is energy policy. The political parties get such intense gratification from touching it that they just refuse to let it go.

Read the comment from The Age by Peter Hartcher - “Little pleasure ahead for Turnbull as MPs wrestle to control energy policy.”

Transforming Australia's energy system should not be beyond us

Over the past 100 years, Australia has built a secure, reliable and affordable energy system, based on large, centralised, fossil-fuelled power stations close to the major cities. Over the next 30 years, this system must be transformed to one based almost entirely on widely-distributed, low-emissions energy sources such as solar and wind with complementary storage. This is an unprecedented economic, political, social and technical challenge.
Rapid reductions in the cost of solar power
suggest technology will not be a constraint.
It shouldn’t be beyond us. Australia has abundant primary energy resources and we are a nation of early adopters of technology. Rapid reductions in the cost of solar power and battery storage suggest that technology will not be a constraint in what will be an electric century.

Read the comment by Tony Wood from The Age - “Transforming Australia's energy system should not be beyond us.”