Tuesday 27 September 2022

Workers’ Mail: Proud to Protest.


In Australia we’ve grown used to be endlessly lectured on how lucky we are for living in a liberal democracy. It’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people” this; “rule of law” that. Aussie pollies go around the world in a crusade against foreign autocrats.

It sounds good, right?

Thursday 22 September 2022

Quotable Quotes: BOOM!

This is the context of that particular fragment of Vladimir Putin’s announcement:
They [Washington, London and Brussels] have even resorted to the [sic] nuclear blackmail. I am referring not only to the Western-encouraged shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which poses a threat of a nuclear disaster, but also to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia.

I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.

I think that reminder is needed because, watching the news this public holiday, I noticed nobody seem to have it in mind (I’m looking at you, Jeremy Fernandes and your guests at The Drum).

Sunday 18 September 2022

What’s Degrowth?


Let me begin by saying something degrowth is not. Degrowth is not the most frequent subject in the media.

A Google search returned no hits whatsoever for the string “degrowth de-growth abc” on the ABC written media (it did return one discussion on Radio National … back in 2014). With 26,800 hits, a similar search fared better at The Guardian (as a rule of thumb, I’d say that The Guardian, and certainly its Aussie franchise, seems to assign climate and the environment a higher editorial priority). That, however, is not much compared to the Green New Deal: the search ““green new deal” guardian” returned 16 times as many results.

Correspondingly, the overwhelming majority of those pushing for climate change action take for granted that some variant of green growth/GND is the only possible prescription for climate change.

That assumption is seldom disputed, in part because GNDers and Degrowthers debates are unusual (two exceptions: the brief Branko Milanovic versus Jason Hickel …. back in 2017 or Robert Pollin and Noam Chomsky, on the GND corner, against Hickel on the Degrowth in 2020).

So, what’s Degrowth, exactly?

Tuesday 13 September 2022

We’re on a Roll: three Niñas, One After the Other!


Since records began in 1900 Australia had only two triple La Niña events. Now we have three: the Bureau of Meteorology just declared the third La Niña. Like I said, we’re on a roll. Kate Doyle has the story.

Meteorological services overseas had declared the start of La Niña last August, but our BOM follows a slightly more conservative methodology and had refrained from following them. No more.

This third La Niña comes after two extremely rainy years (see above) and the ground is saturated, rivers and creeks and dams are full.

Monday 12 September 2022

A Tale of Two Lakes.

What you see in green in the left-most image below was Pakistan’s Lake Manchar (June 25th): the largest freshwater reservoir in that country. After catastrophic monsoon rains and with increased meltwater inflow from the Himalayas, the swollen lake has suffered breaches (accidental and deliberate), resulting in the two images to the right (August 28th and September 5th).


A more comprehensive view of the Indus Valley floods (in blue, waters)::

August 4th (source)

Fourteen days later.


By contrast, this was Lake Poyang (Jiangxi Province) on July 10th, fed by the Yangtze River:


This year’s high temperatures and scarce rains have reduced the Yangtze River, the world’s sixth by discharge, to a trickle. As a result this was Poyang on August 27th:

On average the Yangtze discharges some 30 thousand cubic metres of water per second. By comparison, the Rhine and Danube, also drying, discharge on average some 3 thousand and 7 thousand, respectively.

So far the average world temperature has increased by something like 1.1 - 1.2°C. If we were to stick to the commitments countries made at COP26 - a big if - we will be on our way to 2.4 - 2.6°C.

Just let that sink in.

Thursday 8 September 2022

The Bad and the Good Foreign Interference.

Australia was sidelined by the US. America completely disregarded the concerns of its supposed ally under the Anzus Treaty, Australia was treated with contempt … And the end result of this war was that Australia lost 41 soldiers killed, 241 wounded and over 500 who have since committed suicide, for the Taliban to be replaced with the Taliban” – Hugh Poate, whose son, 23-yo Robert Poate, was murdered in Afghanistan by an Afghan National army soldier in 2012. Our American “friends” let the murderer go without even warning their Australian vassals mates.

Foreign interference and, more broadly, influence is something that worries well-informed Australians. Well, to be precise, only some foreign interference worries Aussies. Apparently, we prefer to remain uninformed about some of it. You know, we don’t need to worry about foreign interference from our “friends”. You see, they love us and are benevolent, thus their interference is good. Australia and the US are “like-minded” nations, as has become fashionable to say.

Worried about agents of foreign influence? Just look at who owns Australia’s biggest companies

Most of Australia’s biggest companies are majority-owned by US investors. www.shutterstock.com
Clinton Fernandes, UNSW Sydney