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Environment

Angels and Demons

By | Economy, Environment, Politics, Society | 8 Comments

This is not a critique of Dan Brown’s best-seller, or of the film of the book. Rather it is an exploration of the twin forces that drive us, and drive any collectivity to which we belong. It is connected to the paired notions of ‘tough-minded’ and ‘tender-minded’. It comes from a lengthy discussion I have been having with my elder son on our Saturday drives in the bush. And it provides a useful lens through which to view our politics and the society we are part of. I’ll start with tough-minded and tender-minded, categories that the 19thcentury American psychologist and…

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The Lord of the Rings

By | Books, Environment, History, Language, Society, Theatre | 12 Comments

For the last few days I have been revisiting the mammoth film version of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I first encountered the story via a three-volume Christmas present from my wife in 1961 (I think), and was immediately enthralled. The depth and the breadth of the story were beyond anything I had ever read before. It took some days to read it, to go into the appendixes, and to marvel at the thoroughness of the detail. Then I read it again, and kept going back to it for some years. A few years later I…

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How feasible are these 2050 targets?

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, Politics, Society | 118 Comments

The year 2050 is the target moment for those who want an end to greenhouse gas emissions, and a lot of countries have signed up to it. Ours hasn’t yet, thank goodness. The target year is a long way away, and nearly all of those who have signed up to it won’t be alive then, I should think. I shan’t be there — I’d be 113 if I were, and that is rather unlikely, to say the least. How is the process of transition going to work? I haven’t seen any detailed plans for implementation. I doubt there are any,…

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Back to energy, again

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, Politics, Research, Society | 387 Comments

Driving in the bush with my son on Saturday I saw some gigantic wind turbines on top of a small range, and he told me there was a line of them stretching up to Crookwell, quite a way away. That got us talking about the fantasy of wind power, while later the talk took me to another excellent Judy Curry piece, the origin of which I have begun to read. Since it is nearly 350 pp long I will give readers bits of the Extensive Summary instead. Written by two members of the European Parliament, Katinka Brouwer and Dr Lucas Bergkamp,…

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The Right Talk

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, Media, Politics, Society | 25 Comments

There I was at the National Press Club, to hear the new Prime Minister. Some years have passed since I was last there. Often the take-home message has been given to the media, so you know what the speech is all about. But not this time. I had my recorder on, and I can tell you that this is exactly what he said. Friends, he said, I have heard a lot of people speak in this renowned venue, and most of them look happily to the future, because of what they and their government, or their corporation, are going to…

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The gentle art of blaming

By | Climate Change, Environment, Health, Politics, Research | 196 Comments

I rely on Judith Curry of Climate Etc to alert me to useful and provocative essays, articles and books, and she recently wrote a new essay herself, which you can read here. I think that the core element of her essay is the proposition that blaming gets in the way of doing anything sensible about whatever the problem is thought to be. Or, putting it another way, that the goal of the blamers is the immediate punishment of the offenders, not searching for a solution to the imagined problem. She uses material from the pandemic to try to find what…

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Our 30th Prime Minister

By | Climate Change, Environment, History, Politics, Religion | 9 Comments

Our Prime Minister is not someone I have ever met. At 52 he’s much too young! The last PMs I knew moderately well were Paul Keating and John Howard. Morrison has been PM since August 2018, though it seems that he has been there much longer. Perhaps that’s because he’s been around for some time. He was the state director of the Liberal Party in New South Wales twenty years ago. He made his way into the Parliament as the MP for Cook in NSW in 2007, and served as shadow minister shortly afterwards in a variety of portfolios. In…

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Oh dear, elections are approaching

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Politics, Society | 20 Comments

For weeks now there have been short election ads urging viewers to vote for a new party, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. The really old ones amongst us, that is, people older than me, will remember another UAP which flourished in the interwar years in part because of a Labor split. But there have been no ads from the majors. It hardly matters, since the nightly news telecasts have abundant image and text about the coming election and the daily promises made by the leaders. But I guess we’ll see a proper Labor or Coalition ad once there is an…

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There’s nothing like a good ban!

By | ABC, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Society | 34 Comments

The ABC announced the other day that the ACT Government was considering a total ban on single-use plastics, like plastic bags, knives, forks and other picnic and fast-food essentials. The relevant Minister said that the Government thought a ban was a good idea, but the community ought to be involved, so there would need to be a discussion paper. We in Canberra have a lot of discussion papers. What effect they have on public policy is rarely clear. Before I could gather my own voice, I heard my wife say, loudly, ‘What a silly idea!’ and I agreed. It is…

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Climate change: has anything actually changed?

By | ABC, Books, Climate Change, Environment, History, Media, Politics | 437 Comments

For some time now my only exposure to the world has been through five minutes of radio news on Classic FM, plus some TV news at 6 pm (how much I get is affected by our dinner time at this nursing home). But, bit by bit, I’ve been hearing and seeing more. The coming elections in Australia and NSW have rather passed me by, though I have become more impressed than I once was by the Prime Minister’s capacity to speak cogently and apparently without notes. The issue that has grabbed me most, especially in the last few weeks, has…

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