Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Steyn forgets who'll be the new superpower

Today I discovered an article written apparently for renowned right-wing social commentator Mark Steyn that takes a very dim view of what Barack Obama wants to do to the United States.

The article's description of America's future is despairing, but my previous post suggests it is likely to be correct simply because outside of Australia there is little support for moves to reduce wasteful government spending (he seems to forget that many on the right do not want a military as large as America has now or the big business bailouts described here).

Once a country becomes fully secularised and its women fully masculinised it is unlikely that it will recover anything other than violent hatred for marianismo and any form of religion. The extreme selfishness of the populations of Europe, East Asia, North America and New Zealand that desires wealth without any work and makes no room for the slightest soft feelings that undoubtedly play a major role in sustaining cultures.

Outer suburban Australians, for all their weaknesses in terms of conformity, lack of creativity and an appalling ecological record, has been able to very strongly maintain a reasonable degree of independence from government due to the low cost of land and the absence of competition from mass tourism or huge business developments. This alone will make sure that during any coming economic crisis Australia will be the country most likely to maintain growth.

If Mark Steyn is right and people of any age in Europe, Asia, the Americas and New Zealand simply cannot accept the tiniest short-term sacrifice which people in outer-suburban Melbourne showed they could accept during the Kennett years (admittedly in part to get things that do benefit them personally but have immense ecological consequences) then within a couple of decades, if the crisis comes to an end then, Australia will probably

- be the world's leading economy with the highest fertility rate outside sub-Saharan Africa
- monopolise the remaining oil and gas supplies
- be able to maintain a much smaller government than any other "superpower" has
- continue to attract migrants put off by the tax costs of funding an economy with a 1:1 worker-to-retiree ratio

Sunday, 29 March 2009

PIGs' solutions unpopular - except perhaps in Australia?

Last night, after seeing for the first time the cover of Robert P. Murphy's new PIG (hastily written because of the economic climate) my mother told me that she was watching a documentary about the Great Depression from an expert on the topic.

The evidence the PIGs give that government spending cannot get a country out of a depression is so convincing I was very curious to find out whether the person, described today by my mother as an expert on the Great Depression, really known about the Austrian School and the major Austrian economists like Mises, Hayek, Rothbard and their modern successors.

I had no evidence on this topic from my mother, but what I did find is that the person interviewed on the ABC last night did firmly say one thing. this was that, at least in Britain and the US, depressions have tended on the one hand to encourage people to help support each other via charity, but on the other hand - and more importantly according to my mother - they have tended to increase support for the big government that Austrian economists and the Politically Incorrect Guides describe as destructive. The man illustrated this to my mother very well with the support for FDR and the present riots planned for Britain soon.

However, as it seems with many other things, Australia appears very different. In the 1930s, Australia's government stuck far more strongly to the old classical formula of cutting spending to relieve a depression - with considerable success according to Wikipedia. The way in which even a Labor government is doing nothing like Obama plans lends further support to my suspicion that Australia really is the only society to retain the traditional free-market liberalism of pre-World War I Europe as described by Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

One can easily imagine, then, that this coming Depression, if real, will turn Australia into the global superpower, though that is something its vast mineral and usable land resources have made likely ever since the Industrial Revolution. Failing to emphasise the ecological cost - as I have done on this blog - is, however, a major mistake and one people both here and abroad should never make..

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Proof Australian petrol prices are an outrage

This mildly optimistic article in the Sydney Morning Herald shows just how much an outrage Australian petrol prices are. It proves that even a modest decrease in the volume of petrol a dollar buys will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. If Australia was serious about having the carbon emissions its ecology dictates - approximately four percent per capita those of Eurasia, the Americas or New Zealand - it would need to contribute about fifty percent of the total fuel tax of OECD nations rather than less the one percent. The fact that our people are unaware of the climate we are headed for with out current emissions levels of 400 to 500 percent those of the EU means they are willing to accept petrol that, in terms of ecological impact, is practically free.

Worse still, the way the Rudd Government is going it will give the mining companies who are a prime cause of Australia's exceptionally bad greenhouse emissions levels unwanted concessions. The only way Australia can control their political power, which constitutes a granite block against emissions reductions is, for all its inefficiencies, probably outright nationalisation.

The technology certainly exists for Australia to cut the fuel consumption of its cars to around one litre per 100 kilometres, which ought to be a standard required of all private vehicles in a sensitive environment like Australia. The need for innovation, a trait which Australia can afford to lack because of its monopoly on essential metal ores, would greatly alter the country’s culture to something that might approach sustainability.

The way in which this requires an activist government is unique in the world. Free markets give virtually no incentive to conserve Australia's coal and land reserves: supply exceeds demand to an extent never found in any previous human culture. The problem is that people in Australia know that their extremely free markets give a level of prosperity and wealth that has - adjusting for living costs - been consistently the highest in the world ever since Australia was settled. They are unwilling to lose this even if there is no other means of creating incentives to be massively more energy-efficient than countries in Europe, Asia, the America or New Zealand. Yet Tim Flannery has for over fifteen years consistently shown this as exactly what Australian wildlife has always had to be. Australian people should too try to be the most efficient in the world!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Final proof we are wasting our money on climate research rather than educating the public

Although I have always been suspicious of the IOD-based explanations for the drying of southern Australia, it is refreshing if despairing to see from Ian Smith an
utter refutation of the arguments for these IOD-based explanations – and for simple, known proof global warming is the culprit
and that within a decade or so Melbourne and Hobart will be in the same climate zone historically occupied by Coober Pedy, Birdsville and Tibooburra.

The slowness of the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology at coming up with answer to such serious problems as rainfall declines in southern Australia and increases in northwestern and central-western regions of the continent I am now convinced could have been avoided easily with available statistics from pre-Quaternary paleoclimate data and from known atmospheric circulation changes that show a major poleward shift in both hemispheres (ruling out the hyped “Asian Haze” explanation) of the tropical Hadley circulation since the 1970s.

If the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology had done the sensible thing and been willing to accept this cause of rainfall changes over the continent, they could have persuaded ordinary Australians and foreign governments that Australia is a rogue state not only with the highest per capita greenhouse emissions in the world, but with per capita emissions that are anything more than not at least an order of magnitude lower than those of any other country. Australia’s water resources have such sensitivity that acceptable per capita emissions would probably be two orders of magnitude lower than those from Europe, Asia, New Zealand or North America.

Had the Australian public and foreign governments taken in all the information known even in 1996 about paleoclimatology, Australian ecology and changes in rainfall over the western half of the continent, the greenhouse mafia would have been under immense pressure rather than ruling as if they were regarded as having the “Mandate of Heaven” as outer suburbanites with their cheap housing and car-dependent lifestyle give them. Ideally, we would have seen rallies and public pressure force the greenhouse mafia out and a rigid policy whereby every cent of transport and energy planning was devoted to railway building or freeway demolition developed – along with efforts to greatly improve Australia’s network of conservation reserves that would make housing or energy (or both) less cheap to provide more incentive for innovation in the place that ecologically needs it most.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Are the scientists going off-line again?

The last month has seen a spate of articles linking the decline in rainfall over southern Australia to a succession of positive Indian Ocean Dipole events and an absence of negative ones since 1994.

People now are saying that the IOD is the principle cause of rainfall variations over Australia, yet even apart from the increases over central-western Australia that I have tried desperately hard since 2001 to draw towards the CSIRO’s attention.

However, I recently discovered a map that casts a lot of doubt as to IOD-based explanations for the drying of southern Australia. One might think that the absence of wet negative IOD events between 1880 and 1905 when Melbourne gathered thirty percent more rain than since 1997 is due to poor data. However, when I e-mailed the publisher of this data, Bob Beale of the University of New South Wales, he said that there really were no negative Indian Ocean Dipole events between 1880 and 1905. That contradicts the statement in the article “...the longest period of its kind since records began in the late 19th Century.”

What irritates me no end is the failure of people at the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology to take the following statement about rainfall increases in central-western Australia that came to me from an e-mail by Ian Smith:

My thinking at the moment is that the increase represents a response to the Australian continent as a whole, warming up faster than the oceans over recent time. This would increase the land-ocean temperature gradient and drive a stronger monsoon-like circulation. We have some climate model experiments, which tend to support this hypothesis.”

This may not necessarily seem to relate to the decline in rainfall over southern Australia. However, what I think – and observe from real synoptic charts – is that the “stronger monsoon-like circulation” increases the northerly component of airflow over southeastern Australia. This produces dry winds from the interior, especially in areas like southern Victoria shielded by the Great Divide, and a consequent reduction in rainfall. Why others at the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology fail to take this idea serious I do not know, but suspect highly political motives are involved.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A list that has most of what it takes

Today I discovered a list of the All Time Greatest Albums from a radio station in Virginia. Although I know the list reflects what the person grew up with much more than I have come to see as in any way needed, I still enjoyed reading the list enough that I will list all the albums included:

- Material Issue: International Pop Overthrow
- Possum Dixon: Possum Dixon
- Replacements: Tim
- Pooh Sticks: Million Seller
- Pooh Sticks: The Great White Wonder
- The Clash: London Calling
- Big Star #1 Record
- Big Star Radio City
- Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend
- Counting Crows: August and Everything After
- Def Leppard: Hysteria
- Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True
- Guided By Voices - Alien Lanes
- Feel: Feel
- Gin Blossoms: New Miserable Experience
- Hüsker Dü: Candy Apple Grey
- Sugar: Copper Blue
- Sugar: File Under: Easy Listening
- INXS: Kick
- Joe Jackson: Look Sharp!
- Joe Jackson: I’m The Man
- Ramones: Mania
- Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking
- Jane's Addiction: Ritual de lo Habitual
- Van Halen: Van Halen
- Primus: Sailing The Seas of Cheese
- Primus: Frizzle Fry
- Alice In Chains: Dirt
- Pearl Jam: Ten
- Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger
- Nirvana: Bleach
- Nirvana: Nevermind
- Nirvana: In Utero
- King Missile: The Way To Salvation
- Bob Marley & The Wailers: Legend
- Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom: …And You?
- Metallica: Metallica
- Beastie Boys: Ill Communication
- Fugazi: Repeater
- Ned’s Atomic Dustbin: God Fodder
- Offspring: Smash
- Offspring: Ignition
- Green Day: Dookie
- Green Day: Kerplunk!
- Green Day: 39 Smooth
- Jesus and Mary Chain: Automatic
- Buffalo Tom: Let Me Come Over
- Operation Ivy: Operation Ivy
- Rancid: …And Out Come The Wolves
- Cure: Standing On The Beach - The Singles
- Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
- Social Distortion: Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
- Semisonic: Great Divide
- Paul Westerberg: Eventually
- Frogpond: Count To Ten
- R.E.M.: Out Of Time
- Tom Petty: Damn The Torpedoes
- Tom Petty: Full Moon Fever
- Rolling Stones: Steel Wheels
- Ani DiFranco: Not A Pretty Girl
- Morphine: Cure For Pain
- U2: Achtung Baby
- Ween: Pure Guava
- White Stripes: White Blood Cells
- The Pretenders: The Singles
- XTC: Nonesuch
- The Wood Brothers: Loaded
- The Wood Brothers: Ways Not To Lose

Those who know me intimately might realise I used to listen to INXS as a child they were unavoidable on radio in Australia anyway) but nowadays tend to accept the criticisms of people like Joe S. Harrington. Despite the fact that I really, utterly hate the Offspring and Nirvana, I do not mind the way in which the writer here comments about his musical history: after all, that was one of the factors that solidified Joe S. Harrington and David Keenan in my memory.

There are some obscure albums on ths list, notably one by a female duo called Frogpond.

A discovery that a joke was wrong and my thought not so certain

For years, I had assumed that the leader of Socialist Alternative, Sandra Bloodworth, was legally blind and that she obtained her money from the pension for this disablement. My brother's response to this was to call her "blind to the truth" in her pursuit of the Trotskyist aim of worldwide socialist revolution.

Yet, on my accosting journey this last Monday, I discovered a man who actually knew Sandra Bloodworth quite well. What he said was that he had confirmation she was not legally blind at all.

So, we see that one joke of my brother's that I have had fun with for years was totally unfounded! How on earth an organisation with only fifty members could have two "Sandras" I do not know. Also, it makes my point that those on the Left are much less sensitive and compassionate than conservatives a little less certain.

Monday, 2 March 2009

A pity I could take no picture!

Today, I spent most of the day travelling around on buses in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, mainly looking for secondhand bookshops. I did not find anything I had not known of before, but I unfortunately was accosting more people than I ever had done before owing to my feelings about the ongoing global warming disaster affecting Victoria. Many of the people actually liked me and quite a number enjoyed talking to me – often I took great pains to ask people I was accosting whether or not I was actually offending or hurting them. The subject of all accostings was the same: petrol prices. Given that most of the people were from ultra-car-dependent outer suburbs, it was not surprising that they disagreed that petrol was too cheap.

However, they were generally very willing to listen to my point that the fifty or more percent loss of rainfall in thirteen short years was a good point in favour of radically higher petrol prices.

One exception occurred at Ringwood Station where a man angrily said that if my argument for $50-per-litre petrol was acceptable said that I should imagine $50 daily public transport fares. He then told me to watch The Great Global Warming Swindle. I decided not to rebut his argument as I felt I might be hurt or would lose in an aggressive debate. Another person at Ringwood East station got very upset when I pointed out how we would have twice the rainfall we have now if every single cent spent on CityLink had been devoted to railways or road demolition. On this occasion, though I apologised extremely willingly and the man accepted.

Still, when I finally came home my mother was upset to be told I had accosted people about petrol prices. She also said that people in the outer suburbs were likely to be kind and hide the fact that they did not like me accosting them – something I am willing to accept with few if any grudges.

A more interesting highlight of my visit was looking at the doomed forests of the Dandenong Ranges on my trip to Belgrave. Every moment I was moving between Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave I just knew it would be my last chance to photo these wonderful forests, which still looked pretty good although doomed.

Every time I heard the radio today there was news of catastrophic fire danger and 40˚C temperatures. All that was unaccompanied by needed calls to fight for a rigid zero emissions target (that Australia should have reached before now without the slightest overseas emissions reduction) or even pointing out in the most sensible manner that the coal and car industries have caused these dangerous bushfire scenarios and should pay for them.

What we will sadly see tomorrow is more than just bushfires. It is the destruction and extinction of an entire ecosystem. Evidence from international climate models clearly shows that southeastern Australia is likely to experience far larger declines in rainfall that the 40 percent decline observed since 1997 (see here). With declines in rainfall of over 80 percent, there would be nowhere for the mountain ash forests to go and even the drier forests would not survive. Instead, what we will see is a barren sandy desert that is already creeping up on Melbourne’s suburbs as it is. They way I imagine it, even on the exceedingly rare occasions it does rain significantly (say, over 10 millimetres once every decade) there is not likely to be much vegetation growth, especially if annual seedlings are burnt out be the very high temperatures likely to be experienced every summer from now on.

The real pity that I regret is that I could not be the last one to take a picture of the mountain ash forest before the fire burns it to the ground to be replaced by a desert as dry as the Sahara. In an age where rain in Melbourne is as rare as a unicorn, a souvenir of how southern Victoria looked before Robin Underwood, Jeff Kennett and the coal and electricity companies turned it into desert would no doubt be a valuable rarity that I sadly will never have the luxury of possessing.