Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

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2012: The year the world snoozed

31 December 2012

The Guardian described 2006 as “The year the world woke up” to climate change. If that’s the case then I guess 2007 was the year we rolled over and went back to sleep. Our alarm clock has continued to ring ever more loudly and clearly, but we just keep on hitting the snooze button – if we even hear the alarm at all. The events of 2012 have continued the pattern, both in Australia and around the world.

January

A diverse group of organizations warned there is a “carbon bubble” in global financial markets. Yawn… oh look, Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open!

February

Mining magnate and climate change denier Gina Rinehart tried to take over an Australian newspaper chain. Business news is so dreary… wow, congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II for reaching her Diamond Jubilee!

Australian ex-PM Kevin Rudd attempted to regain the top job and lock in a meaningless greenhouse gas emissions target. Hey, someone leaked a video of him saying the F-word!

March

Greenpeace exposed Australia’s plans to multiply its already-world-beating coal exports on a scale dwarfing its emissions at home, to which the government responded by passionately defending the industry. Soporific stuff… look, Clive Palmer is fighting with his soccer team!

Australia introduced a tax on coal mining profits that failed to raise any revenue. How dull… whoa, Sachin Tendulkar scored his 100th international century in cricket! Read the rest of this entry ?

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Climate change, foxes, and hens

25 September 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced yesterday the Labor Government will introduce a tax on the consumption of hens by foxes.

“By making hen consumption more expensive, this policy will make alternative food sources relatively cheaper,” said Gillard.

From 2015, Australia will have a hen consumption trading scheme, in which foxes will be able to buy and sell rights to eat hens.

The scheme aims to cut hen consumption by 5% by 2020.

“A market mechanism is the most cost-effective way to reduce hen consumption,” said Gillard.

All her economic advisers agreed, rejecting demands by animal rights groups that the market mechanism must be complemented by other measures including fox-proof fences around poultry farms.

“We look forward to working very closely with foxes and other stakeholders over the coming months to ensure we reduce hen consumption at the lowest possible cost and while maintaining the competitiveness of our fox industry,” said Hen Minister Greg Combet.

Reaction from foxes

The pro-hen industry coalition, the Global Organization of Businesses for Bantam Liberation and Emancipation (GOBBLE), cautiously welcomed the announcement.

“We will work with the government to achieve a price on hen consumption, as it is the most cost-effective way of reducing the consumption of hens.” said a spokesperson for GOBBLE, who was previously a senior government adviser. “It’s much cheaper than, say, just banning hen consumption.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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Americans Know Nothing About Climate Change

19 October 2010

A new survey of 2,030 American adults (weighted according to demographics and political party allegiance) confirms what previous surveys have suggested: that the American public’s understanding of climate change is dismal. The researchers graded the participants based on percentage of questions answered correctly (although some questions were harder than others). A majority, 52%, received an F. 25% got a D, 15% a C, 7% a B, and only 1% got an A.

I am not aware of any similar surveys of Australians — I hope we are not quite as bad, but there is a powerful climate change denial lobby here too. For context, it’s not just climate science about which Americans are ignorant; it is part of a larger problem of general scientific ignorance. Surveys have consistently found that about 40% of Americans think the Earth is only a few thousand years old; about 20% do not know that a year is the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun.

The results are pretty depressing considering that the US is a democracy:

  • Only 63% of Americans say global warming is happening. 19% think not, and 19% are not sure.
  • Only 50% say humans are the main cause of the current warming (compared to roughly 97% of publishing climatologists). 35% say natural changes are the main cause.
  • Only 39% say that most scientists agree global warming is happening; 38% think there is a lot of disagreement among scientists. (Clearly the contrarian line of “no scientific consensus” is working.) Read the rest of this entry ?
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My View of the Election Campaign

21 August 2010

This is my second post on Australia’s 43rd federal election, which is taking place today. Part 1 contains some background on the Australian electoral system and political parties. I had hoped to say everything that I wanted to say about the election before it was over; but time is fast running out, so I decided just to post what I can. I’ll write a followup post tomorrow. The split is not entirely logical, but this post has more of an emphasis on rhetoric and tomorrow’s will have more of an emphasis on policy. By the time I post the rest of my analysis, the polls will have closed and the result will probably be known. Sorry, I decided not to write the followup. However, I have posted a summary of the results. I am not entirely happy with this post, but I was forced to compromise between writing the perfect wrapup and writing something I could post in time. Kind of like politics, I suppose. Anyway, here is what I’ve written so far.

To recap: the incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party is led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The centre-right Liberal Party of Australia led by Tony Abbott is in a long-standing Coalition with the rural conservative National Party of Australia. A growing third party, the progressive Australian Greens, is led by Bob Brown.

Most observers, including I, agree that there is little difference between Labor and the Coalition other than their rhetoric, and unfortunately rhetoric is mostly what the campaign has been about. So I’ll briefly summarize some of the spin that’s been flying around. Both major parties have framed the economy, population, and “border protection” as the major issues of the election, while attempting to neutralize the issue of climate change. Read the rest of this entry ?