Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Thoughts on the upcoming Carbon Tax revelation

July 6, 2011

So this Sunday the PM will deliver on prime time TV (well on ABC at least) her much awaited Carbon Tax plan. You remember the one she said would not happen whilst she was Prime Minster.

That we have got this far is a miracle, as all the Government’s ‘partners’ have been heartily sick & tired of the governments constant dribbling of information in-order to gain some sort of vague superiority over the Oppositions quite effective negative campaign against the tax. Although the Greens finally managed to slide the knife in by organising a press conference themselves proclaiming their disappointment that petrol would not be included in the Carbon Tax, however their price for that will in all likelyhood mean that non-business fuel will be affected by a carbon tax/price within the next three years. So putting the boot into the PM’s claim that it will never happen (much like a carbon tax then eh Prime Minister)!

My problem is not with the fact that we will be having a Carbon Tax (some of you will note that I’ve supported such a tax for a while now). My problem is with how it is being orchestrated and how the Prime Minster has deported herself on the matter (I’m leaving the Opposition’s  position out of this for the moment).

The PM can dissemble all she wants, but in the end she made a statement about the possibility of the Carbon Tax under a government she led. Added to the fact that it was she (along with our great world famous treasurer) who helped kill off the ETS, I cannot she why she and the ALP are surprised that outside of their few remaining strongholds there is now a groundswell of distrust about anything she says. Once the minority government was formed the PM should have made it crystal clear that part of her ability to form said government was an understanding with the Greens that she would seek to legislate for a carbon tax before the next election.

But she didn’t, so even if there is no negative aspects to the C-tax the voting public are unlikely to forgive & forget.

My other big problem with this policy is that it should be about changing how the public and business treat energy use. This should mean the following:

  • Making electricity more expensive
  • Making fuel more expensive & penalise larger non-business vehicles (yes urban 4WD & UTE owners I’m looking at you)
  • Making it uneconomic to maintain brown coal based power stations and mines.

To offset this any policy should:

  • Encourage R&D into renewable energy sources.
  • Encourage (or enforce via the BCA) that all new buildings have solar panelling to help offset energy use. This would also provide enough demand for panels to be made once again onshore rather than importing from other countries.
  • Encourage the use of power efficient appliances, along with making the costs of usage clear (in $ and cents).
  • Utilise the majority carbon tax funds to develop a sovereign fund to help with the above along with water use (Murray-Darling basin anyone), and general sustainability programs.
  • Encourage mass transport programmes (such as high speed links down the east coast).
  • Subsidise the energy consumption of those who are not able to pay (but obviously base this on energy usage, so no using that 50” plasma grandma).

The government should not be claiming however (as they are at the moment) that we will not be significantly out of pocket by the new legislation. This is for the following reasons:

  • Firstly we need to change how we act and so the stick of higher power & petrol bills hopefully will encourage us not to have big energy hogging appliances and cars. Also if the market bombs for these items then designers will look at more energy efficient models.
  • Consumers do pollute (sometimes directly sometime indirectly) therefore the consumer should contribute as well as the primary polluters.
  • It is naive in the extreme to assume that the primary polluters will not try and improve their margins when they have to start paying the C-Tax now the question is will the money the guvmnt is shoving our way cover those increases? I think we all know deep down that costs will continue to rise. So the electoral bandaid that are the tax offsets and direct bungs are unlikely to potential gaping wound.

In the end however we do need to see the reality of the policy and proposed legislation, which the PM will provide us on Sunday.

Unfortunately I feel it is already a failure.

Tony, Julia & Kevin. The Odd Couple of Menege a trios!

June 20, 2011

The Mad Monks move to try and have a plebiscite on the Carbon Tax is a smart piece of politics but a dumb move. It’s smart as he knows it’ll be applauded by a voting public that is seemingly tired with the current government and it’s policies. It’ll also be applauded as ‘sound reasoning’ by the Shock Jocks & the bottom dwelling filter feeders that read rags like the Daily Telegraph & the Sun Herald.

It’s dumb however as the government has no need under the Westminster system to seek popular support as long as it continues to receive support from the Independents and the Greens one MP.

But this is where it becomes a smart move again as the government has shown itself to be a past master as not being able to defend its position in a manner understandable to those who are not APS’s or Pollies. Also its smart, because a true progressive party would not hesitate to go to the nation on a matter of important legislation like the Carbon Tax for which it dismissed out of hand just days before last years election. But the ALP ceased to be a true progressive party many, many years ago. Julia & her Senior Ministers know that their grasp on power is tenuous in the extreme and thanks to Tony Abbotts constant electioneering, poor press and the fact that the legislation is looking like a dogs breakfast anyway, going to the voters would mean that the Carbon Tax would die a death.

There is a school of thought that states that the ALP’s desire to remain in power no matter what is good as it keeps the Mad Monk out of power. It is a continuous argument that is rehashed every day in the Comments pages of the Fairfax and ABC websites. It misses the point however that no matter what the ‘informed’ believe to be correct the ‘people’ have the right to vote how they like, and yes that means that we might yet see the Mad Monk as PM *shudder*.

This is where the next strand of this polluted little passion play comes in, at a time where the government is even more unpopular than the Rodent ever was (well according to opinion polls). It is nearly a year since our glorious Foreign Minister was removed from his previous position as Prime Minster by a collection of pollies and union powerbrokers who believed that Kevin 747 was an albatross around the neck of the Party. One can almost imagine Shorten doing a Terry Jones impression before a select band of caucus and union leaders “he’s not the Messiah he’s a naughty boy!”.

How they must have larffed!

Surprisingly The Boy Kevin has not taken his Caesar-like removal well & his current harping on & media appearances have reinforced his dislike of the PM & her supporters. The fact that he was planning to hold a party this week to commemorate his removal, shows clearly that he wants to make the party suffer. Also he believes that the PM will do nothing against him as she ‘knows’ he will resign, so triggering a bye-election which will mean the effective end of the current government.

So Kevvy can do his little song and dance routine and remain untouchable, whilst Julia’s popularity continues to drop. That Kevin seems to self delude himself that the party will remove the PM before the next election is indicative that he is still surrounding himself with yes men. His supposed damascene acknowledgement that he was a less than perfect PM, made it abundantly clear that this piece of humility is more based on his greater popularity than the PM as leader of the ALP (again according to the opinion polls), than a self realisation that he was elevated above his ability.

I still believe that the right thing for the ALP would have been not to try and form a minority government last year. It could have used the post election period to reform itself & start developing in depth some real policies to take to the electorate. Unfortunately though the movers & shakers in the party and it’s affiliated organisations, could not face removing their snouts from the trough of power and patronage.

In the end though what does this mean for us, the people who these great & lordly members of the Political Class allegedly serve? It means that we will get more and more anger against the government as it is perceived by the majority of voters as being disconnected from the realities of normal life. It will also mean that the government will resort to more and more desperate measures to try and score votes. So although the QLD ALP have voted for ‘mixed’ marriages, don’t expect gay & lesbian marriage being on the cards at the ALP conference. Julia needs the conservative Christian vote. So the ‘Malaysia Refugee Solution’ will go ahead if the Malaysians agree to the deal (even though the benefit to Australia will be minimal). As for live meat exports the government is in the cleft stick but will likely back down. It’s lost the farming vote almost completely now after the Murray-Darling debacle & now this.

Oh and the reform of the party? Forget it.

And on the sidelines Kevin will wring his hands and brief against the government whilst spending ever more time abroad & the Mad Monk will run around with his box of matches. Could be worse though at least we’ve got another mining boom on the way & we’re not Greece!

Chaz Day in Melbourne 2011

March 4, 2011

Well only a couple of weeks until Melbourne gets to feel my special luurrvv!

Am in town for 2 Green Star design courses on the 22nd and 23rd.

We’re looking at celebrating Chaz Day on Tuesday the 22nd March.

Relatively early kick-off as its a school night and all…

Now as to a venue.. I was originally thinking of Squires Loft but after finding (to my horror on my last trip over) that they use a baste. I think we can safely kick that into touch.

So I think the following are possible:

Mitre tavern (as we had a good meal there last year)

Cookie: lots of people watching

Curry Vault: opposite the Mitre and now viable option as Havsy has finally admitted to eating  ‘foreign muck’

What say you all?

BTW for those of you are are calendarly challenged the 22nd March is a TUESDAY!! (you know who you are)

On the edge of the Abyss

August 27, 2010

Pakistan is not a materially rich country, but is rich in culture and history. It’s poverty though strikes at many levels from material to resources to politics and morality and education. It is also fractured along religious and cultural lines which is worrying for a nuclear armed state.

The current flood disaster has helped emphasise how fragile the Pakistani state is and how the polices of governments (past and present, civilian and military) have failed the nation as a whole.

The Pakistani state has been set up seeing India as the main threat to it’s survival. It has waged a proxy war in Indian controlled Kashmir for decades under both civilian and military governments. Neither government type has tried to strengthen civil society, and this has lead to the current fractured state we see today.

The military governments bolstered the primarily Pashtun Federal administered areas to the west. These areas formed the spawning grounds of the Taliban and their cultural influence straddles the uneven and very porous border areas. This quite overt handing of the city gates (effectively) to a grouping that is inimical to the ideals of the original state of Pakistan has of course come back to bite the country right in the sphincter as these areas are now the home to many groups who wish to see a wahabi style jihad not only against the West but also anyone Muslim who does not meet their religious requirements.

This in turn has lead to a secular underground war in Pakistan between various Islamic sects and of course events like the Mumbai attack. The complete non-acceptance by the Military and Civilian government of the threat to the state from these groups. This threat is not only a direct threat to govern the country but also bringing into play risks of attacks against foreign states which may bring retribution (anyone who does not believe that India was willing to flatten Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks is living on opiates).

The State has been more willing to spend money on either grand projects or military spending or both. Basic infrastructure is poor and the people just don’t believe in their leaders, thanks to the corruption of the political classes and the failure of the state to protect them, keep them healty and educate them.

This leads us to the current issue. Tens of millions of people in dire straits, the government powerless to act and into the cracks are now stepping Islamic ‘charities’. My second thought after thinking ‘this is going to be bad’ when the initial reports of the flooding happened was “where are the nukes’.

Lets face it even a first world country would at first be hammered by such a major event as this, however iot could be argued that as our infrastructure is allegedly better we can recover quicker, look at recent large scale floods in Europe for example. However it is clear that neither the government of military really know how to act. Considering the area is renowned for natural disasters you’d have thought by now the military would have an operational plan…

I’d lay good money that alot of the military is still awaiting an Indian attack and is prepared for that not for helping their fellow countrymen & women. This further weakens the state and it wil be something the Islamic groups will play on to their upmost. They will be the first to get organised (and allegedly already are), and will be spreading a hard propaganda line about the failiure of the government to help the people and the people should ‘Follow Allahs will’ etc, etc. Once the flood waters have receded these groups will be in a very strong position, and the irony is that from recent reports alot of this will be carried out using western aid. The West and its various aid agencies are usually the biggest donors and quickest however it will be the Islamic charities that will reap the glory.

There were already many displaced people in Pakistan due to the militaries much belated attempt to stem the tide of the Taliban rise to power. This was causing a fair amount of discontent especially when they were pushed back to their homes even thought they were not secure.

In the ruins of Pakistan after the floods it will become much, much harder for the state to actively defend itself against the Taliban and their allies and you are bound to see additional infiltration of the armed forces and also discontent amongst the junior ranks. And that brings forward the day of either a coup backing the Taliban or a few nukes going missing….

Either way my friends this natural disaster could not have happened in a worse place at a worse time.

By the way this should not be seen as a request not to aid those suffering in Pakistan. Please support groups like MSF, Red Cross/Red Crescent etc etc to bring aid to those hit by this disaster.

Not long now til the next election..whoopee!!!!

February 19, 2010

Well as the election year moves along and the signs of another possible double dissolution draws nearer we really have to look at what ‘The Rudd Government’ has achieved.

The apology for the Stolen Generation is probably the Keystone of the parliamentary term. A historic event full of hyperbole but long, long overdue. However movement on aboriginal health, housing and education has been glacially slow and to be honest there has been very little change in performance of policy than under the Rodent. The continual screw ups made by the state governments do not help and the actual results of the NT intervention are not being highlighted, which in a country now ruled very much by spin means that, that initially well intentioned but still patriarchal policy is probably failing.

Next came the burial of Work Choices. We can all remember the apocalyptic adverts run by the ACTU on how evil bosses are and how they pick on single mothers. There was again balance in the legislation brought in by the new government and it’s probable success is based on the fact that all sides found fault with the rules brought in.

The Murray-Darling river system had been the subject of some fairly hard hitting legislation by the Rodents government and its intent was to effectively federalise the river system if the states would not play ball. This was the first of the ALP’s failures’ as the Boy Kevin it seemed would not challenge the SA,QLD and NSW state governments about their wholesale destruction of the river system. This more than the ETS, is a damning indictment of Penny Wong and a clear indication of her lack of suitability for the position she holds. It is now over 3 years since the matter was first politically highlighted and still the Federal Government has not acted decisively.

The slow motion car crash that is our health system was meant to be another defining moment for the Rudd Government as Kev 24/7 made lots of macho posturing about federalising health care if the States didn’t pull their finger out. Obviously at the time it was NSW’s health system that was most in peoples minds. So whats happened? Errr… nothing. It is likely that the Ruddbot will be launching a policy to go into the election with. So any potential improvements are at least 1-2 years away. The health system is however likely to be a main plank of the ALP’s election policy with the potential for a double dissolution in the medicare levy coming back up for a 2nd bite of the cherry in a few weeks. It seems that with the ETS becoming less and less important politically that Kevin may try and call an election on health rather than climate change. This in itself is risky as his failure to act as promised will be a big stick that the Libs will use against him.

Now who remembers the biggest issue of our time? Yes Climate Change. The ETS was another BIG IDEA that Kev 24/7 was going to sort out this term…and it’s been bounced twice by the Senate, and is more than likely be bounced again shortly. This piece of policy shows Kevin Rudd’s hubris more than any other. Rather than try and explain what was a bad piece of complex legislation (where a more simple carbon tax and sustainability investment policy would have works much, much better) the Ruddbot and his cheerleaders just happily descended into the school yard and just insulted anyone who disagreed. Why they do not see this actually puts the electorate off and encourages the climate change sceptics is beyond me. However I suppose as this is the general attitude of the majority of the so called AGW proponents I find it completely unsurprising that the general public are becoming more sceptical of the reality of AGW. Penny Wong’s assertion the other day that climate change sceptics are no better than those who didn’t believe smoking damaged your health clearly shows the depths to which the current administration are willing to plumb and why more and more people disagree with the governments assertions on climate change. That the Ruddbot refused to go for a double dissolution on the ETS shows a fragility in the government and perhaps a real weakness in their ability to argue the policy rather than just spin it.

The economy may be Kev’s rescuer. We have not suffered like most of the world over the last couple of years. However I must admit to being sceptical that the various bungs that were paid out to people could not have been better organised so that policy was created to encourage people to gain real jobs and for more job creation..say in sustainable industries. How many people remember Kevin and Swanny rubbishing the Australian economy just before the rest of the world went down the gurgler? That they now criticise that idiot Barnaby Joyce in his worries about us being able to pay off our debt is ironic to say the least. Of course in the end the reason why we in Australia have dodged the bullet is because of the PRC and India.

Education was another big Kevvy promise, well the Laptop promise became less core as time went on. Then came the education infrastructure programme that was so badly run that money had to come from the homeless housing programme to balance the books (well I suppose they think that the very poor don’t vote). The government’s inability to run big programmes became even more clear though this year.

‘Free Insulation for Everyone’ what a great idea. However rather than planning this properly and running it over a longer time period the policy was created on the fly and HAD to be finished before the next election. This has lead to the deaths of four installers and allegations that a sizable proportion of installations were done incorrectly and formed possible health hazards. I feel sorry for Peter Garrett ,but then Pete has been royally shafted by not being able to really being the passion he has for environmental causes to the fore as Penny (the polluters lawyer) Wong got the role he should have had. The Ruddbots jellyfish approach to Whaling has now been re-emphasised by giving the Japs until this November to stop whaling in our waters. I bet they’re really scared.

Then we have lack of communications, Stephen Conroy’s plan to filter out of the internet whatever he wants has been roundly slammed but the opposition has not really taken it to heart. The we have the bung to the TV stations of $250 Million that was quietly slid in this week. And finally a Grande Projet to roll out highspeed broadband across those all of Australia..that already has it. The national company set up to do this has no business plan and it seems the best way to get a job therein is to be a corrupt ALP pollie/staffer. Basically the government who allegedly was so communications savvy actually has no idea how the internet works.

The big problem is though that there is no alternative…none that it that really deserves power. The Libs may reclaim lost ground as it seems that the Mad Monk is reclaiming a lot of disillusioned floating voters so it might be that we get a narrowing of the gap. If the ALP don’t improve in the senate it’s not going to be a happy time for Kevvy over the next few years. Maybe it’s time for Julia to take over as I for one am tired of Kevin Rudd’s sermonising. I find it funny that the ALP attack Papal Skills for his religious views when the Ruddbot goes on (constantly) about his faith and cosy’s up with Fielding and the rest of the religious nutters.

Anti Development rant

January 29, 2010

Saw this add on Realestate.com.au and it made my blood boil.

http://www.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?a=o&id=105928944&f=0&p=10&t=res&ty=&fmt=&header=&cc=&c=89163684&s=qld&tm=1264724466

Now I know that it’s not the first piece of forest to be ‘developed’ but what annoyed me was that my uncle lives nearby and the area backs onto national parkland and has a high eco-diversity. Developing this area would do nothing except increase traffic, pollution in the area and would seem to me to being just a tool by the council to increase the council levies in the area.

There are hectares of land that are not forested  and can built on, between Bonnogin and Brisvegas so why destroy this area? This is of course is hot on the heels of the Federal Guvmnt not wanting to class the Koala as ‘endangered’, as the decline in Koala numbers is linked primarily with the redevelopment of the forests they live in and of course the states where the veggie dropbear lives are under ALP control and in the pocket of developers you might be very cynical as to they the Federal Guvment is behaving in this way.

Time for a bex and a lie down I think

War against whalers about to escalate?

January 6, 2010

The sinking of the Sea Shepard ship the Adi Gil in Commonwealth bay has in one foul  move showed the world how firm the Japanese are in their intent to continue their Illegal whaling campaign no matter what the cost.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/whale-protest-boat-cut-in-half-20100106-ltp7.html?autostart=1

I say ‘illegal’ as their whaling campaign is not for real research and is in reality a cover for harvesting whalemeat for the japanese domestic market. despite this market being well served by the legal indigenous catch. The ‘market’ is in fact a cover for a small but vocal lobby group. What is really disappointing is that this is happening during a sea change in Japanese politics and with a centre left government in place.

The Japanese ICR (sic) have even been running ISR missions from Albany to locate the anti-whaling vessels. The success of these flights is seen in todays sinking.

Our illustrious government is as usual steely eyed in its opposition to whaling in the Southern oceans as can be seen by this statement by Pete Garrett our Environment Minister (allegedly)

“We have reminded the masters of protest vessels of their obligations under international law to take all steps to ensure safety of life at sea, particularly in the inhospitable conditions of the Southern Ocean. We are also passing the same message to the government of Japan.”

So I bet the Japanese whalers are really scared. In fact there is a Team America colouration to the Australian governments response to the continual slaughter of cetaceans by the Japanese. By threatening to go to  court if the Japanese don’t come to a diplomatic agreement to cease their activities.

My question is where are our vessels? And our ISR assets making sure that the Japanese stay out of our waters whilst they continue their internationally condemned activities. Japan is not the economic power it once was and I’m sure the PRC wouldn’t mind helping out by making sure that no whaling vessel could dock in Asia. Until of course the japanese government removes the latest schoolbooks which excused the Imperial Armies excesses in WW2.

What amazes me is the lack of noise from the environmental lobby and the zero demands for boycotts of japanese goods. We should be seeing mass media protests against the whalers and it’s just not happening. Maybe Al Gore could do a film about it…. I also just wonder how long it is before lethal force is used by either side in this sad yearly event.

My position is clear any whaling vessel caught in our national waters should be boarded and confiscated by naval vessels not coast guard vessels. And we should have naval vessels shadowing the whaling fleet whilst in international waters to protect the protesters.

Ideally i would like the ships sunk in their home harbours preferably by the DGSE who are good at that sort of thing. However I can’t see that happy event occurring.

Environmental Rant Time

December 14, 2009

Well the Ruddbot and all his little helpers are off to Copenhagen for the Global warming conference that will in itself cause huge amouns of CO2 to be produced and thats just counting the travelling to and from Denmark.

That the conference will not produce a legally binding frame work is bad enough, that the biggest non-western polluters won’t play ball and want to still pollute merrily as it is their ‘Right’ is even worse. And that we still are not seeing anyone willing to green up their economies except the poorest countries whose kleptocratic owners just want more handouts to put in their Swiss Bank accounts is just downright sickening.

No my rant is about our glorious leader, the shining St Kev, of the fair shake of a sauce bottle. Oh and his government.  The ALP came into power in possession of one of the Rodents few (if not only) good evnironmetal laws which was to try and halt, if not reverse the decline in the Murray-Darling river system. Now the States involved NSW,VIC, SA and QLD wanted no change and did not approve of the Liberal Federal Govmnt taking away their rights to allocate water how they saw fit, nevermind the cost.

Now the ALP came into power with St Kev going on about the evils of climate change and how “Something must be done”. He quickly emasculated the only ALP MP with any real ecological veritas Pete Garrett ,and put Penny Wong in charge of climate change and water. Now Minster Wongs background  is linked mainly with the causes of climate change and water degradation having worked for both the CFMEU and also the Carr Government, her training as a laywer is also not exactly what the role needs.

Anyway since being the elected in government the ALP has done basically nothing, only watering down the requirements from the states and when they got shirty. Kev did nothing, again.

The solution to the quandry is quite simple we have to take out less water than is being put into the system, much less infact as the whole system needs regenerating. It doesn’t need complex calculations, it basically needs someone with the politcal balls to say ‘enoughs, enough’ and sort out paying dosh to those effected in a fair and reasonable manner.

Someone with a few smarts could also use it to roll out a green economy across rural Australia. So have the federal government done that? No in a word. They instead pushed forward with a hideously complex ETS programme which has been voted down by the Opposition..twice. Of course this was a great loss of face to St Kev, as he couldn’t go to Copenhagen being the only PM to actually have a ETS system in place ready to go. Missing the fact that what we need is a ‘polluters’ tax which would actually encourage business to clean up their act and help develop a green economy.

In revenge he just accused anyone who disagreed with HIS ETS policy as a climate change denier. All very mature.

Yet again therefore, the current federal government have let down the people of Australia by not being tough on environmetal problems.

Obviously halting massive environmental shutdown is not a core election promise.

Dread Cthulhu stirs… and other fishy goodness

July 31, 2009

Looks like we may have dodged the bullet and the stars are still not right, as the east coast of the States saw very strange high tides durign the start of the summer, but fortunately they are now ebbing away…

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/07/hightides/

Ona nother note I see some really interesting research being released on the effects of ocean life on the oceanic water column.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/07/jellyfish/

 

This is great stuff and may see a quantum leap in how we perceive the effects of living creatures on the seas. Maybe Organic oceanography is not that far away as a subject. Having studied a bit of chemical and physical oceanography meself I’d see it as an exciting step..but then I just don’t get out much at the moment!

Finally something that might put us at risk from either ol squid face or some other bottom dwelling  thing from beyond the stars..

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/07/nankai/

This is the sort of science I think we should avoid. i can still remember the rumors of soviet scientists looking at creating earthquakes on sea floors as a military application, back in the 80’s.

Becoming an accredited professional

April 9, 2009

Now some of you might remember that Chaz Day was celebrated with due  pomp and circumstance back in Feb. However there was another reason i was in Melbourne and that was to attend a study course held by the Green Building Council of Australia

http://www.gbca.org.au/

The reason? To gain accreditation as what they call a Green Star Professional. In reality this means making it easier to get work running or helping develop (if I get my act together with some more courses)  energy/water efficient buildings. obviously the latter is more preferable as it means more money..

Anyways I took the exam and passed with a not too slack 86% not bad wheh you consdier that the exam is very targeted towards Archtects,  Interior Designers and civil engineers. And yesterday I got confirmation of my Accreditation so I am now one of only 4 property managers in WA who are accredted and one of less than 20 PM’s in the whole of Australia with such a qualification. Yeah Me!!