Contemplating climate change on a frosty June morning



They’re contemplating it on the Gold Coast too, in a remarkably under-publicised conference.

TONY EASTLEY: The first international conference on adapting to climate change opens on the Gold Coast today (29 June). Scientists are warning that even if the world stops all greenhouse gas pollution today a certain amount of warming is inevitable. Jennifer Macey reports.
JENNIFER MACEY: Scientists warn that if the world does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions world temperatures will rise on average by about four degrees Celsius. The pledges made at the Copenhagen climate conference put the world on track to about three degrees of warming. So experts say it’s time start seriously considering how to live with these rises in temperatures.
ANDREW ASH: We’ve put a lot of emphasis in the last few years on how we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the impacts of climate change are upon us and they’re unavoidable in the coming decades. So, we need to start looking at how we can adapt to those changes.
JENNIFER MACEY: Dr Andrew Ash heads the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship. The CSIRO and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility are co-hosting an international conference on the Gold Coast to consider how best to respond to these changes…


Given the tenor of the comments I am adding some recent reading.

Scientific Guide for Skeptics.

Other people’s flowers again

I start my internet day by checking the mail, the newspapers, and my Google Reader. I find so many things to share with you, to the extent that this has become one of the main functions of this blog. Well, why not?

1. Funny take on Julia Gillard


Click the picture to see the whole DEUSEXMACINTOSH post.

2. Posts related to Islamic matters and/or immigration

# Tikno in Indonesia

tikno-about-me Lately, I feel very worried by unscrupulous users of Facebook who already out of the spirit of Facebook motto namely "Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life". Some of Facebook users who use this site only for uploading pornographic images and shared it using private setting to certain people (not shared to everyone) and the other using it for spreading the hatred feelings, like a Facebook Group calling for Obama’s death.

Although a very controversial Pages on Facebook namely "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" which it created by Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris has been closed by Facebook after receiving protests from various parties including protests from the Indonesian government, the most recent controversy is the two opposing group on Facebook who mocked each other namely: "Everybody Draw Mohammed day (Indonesian version)" and the other one is "Everybody Draw Jesus day (Indonesian version)". As I observed on its language it seemed the both pages was created by Indonesian users. I saw it was clear that the hatred feelings on both pages still raging and releasing fracas on Facebook…

It’s very sad if the spirit of "connect and share with the people in your life" turned into a virtual battlefield. How according to you?

# Tanveer Ahmed in The Sydney Morning Herald

Africa is essentially a collection of 10,000 tribes forced by colonial masters to form 50 nations. How these ancient cultures from the cradle of humanity interact with modernity will be one of more interesting stories of the coming century.

African migration is just beginning to have an impact on Western societies like Australia. Most Africans who arrive here are Muslims…

The sudden prominence of the genital mutilation issue coincides with the release of Nomad, the latest book by the Somali-Dutch activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali, herself a victim of clitorectomy, asserts without evidence that the practice occurs commonly throughout all Muslim communities. An old World Health Organisation report from 1997 quotes a figure of 130 million cases worldwide, but primarily in East Africa.

In this respect, the practice is a cultural one. However, the African cultures in which it does occur are largely Islamic, although religious practice is often interwoven with local animistic beliefs. Male elders are able to harness Islam’s deep fear of female sexuality, the driver for many of its views on social organisation, to argue that the ritual is consistent with strict Islamic law.

The tribal history of Africa correlates closely with Islam’s origins. The hijab is a case in point when trying to discern whether practices are cultural or religious in nature…

According to this theory, keeping fertile women away from the gaze of foreign tribes and maintaining them in the role of producing offspring was deemed vital. Hence the idea of the hijab or burqa.

While this hardly justifies its use in the 21st century, it gives an insight into why it is a symbol of safety and modesty for Muslims, and not oppression.

What much commentary on the hijab misses are the varied reasons Muslim women in the West wear it. In my experience, it is rarely worn because husbands or fathers insist on it, although I’m sure this does occur. I have seen elderly women wear it as a link to their ancestral culture or, after becoming widowed, as a symbol of mourning. Among younger women, it is very much an expression of selfhood. In this respect, it is as much a product of the local, Western culture as it is of Islam.

While it may be a form of social protest, an expression of alienation from mainstream culture similar to abnormal piercings or joining obscure subcultures, it is very much an assertion of individual identity.

The average young woman who wears the hijab has little interest in regulating the male gaze, knowing the outfit will only increase attention from passers-by. Both the hijab and the disgraceful practice of genital mutilation illustrate the complex interaction between ancestral cultures, the modern West and religious decree. This interplay between culture and religion will reach new complexities among African immigrants. Their footprint on our own culture is just beginning.

Yesterday in the bus Sirdan and I noted two 15-ish young girls in hijab (and ugg boots) who were generally behaving and gum-chewing like 15-ish girls. We suspect blowing people up was far from their thoughts, which seemed much more focussed on hot guys, fashion, and so on…

Legal Eagle did a good post on this last month: Going Burq-o.

# Legal Eagle on Border Protection

… Much has been made in the news about “boat people” arriving in greater numbers. I think that one of the reasons why people react so viscerally to the asylum seeker issue is the symbolism of it — the desperate people on boats attempting to land on our shores — there’s a sense in it is seen as an invasion of our boundaries. We are an island, and we’re not used to people crossing our borders easily. The word “insular” means both “inward-looking” and “of, or pertaining to, an island”. If we shared a border with another country, perhaps we’d find it less challenging. I believe, also, that people find newcomers challenging because it’s a deep-seated human instinct. Rather than pigeonholing people who are afraid as inevitably racist, and writing off their fears, it’s better to engage with those fears and try to allay them, to ensure that integration can occur as smoothly as possible. It’s not good, either, to pretend that problems don’t occur from time to time – of course they do, and sometimes problems emanate from both sides of the fence, newcomers and existing residents (as I have discussed in relation to Sudanese refugees).

It seems to me that asylum seekers wouldn’t need to make the risky and possibly life threatening journey if it were easier to apply for a visa from outside the territory. So, rather than excising various areas from the migration zone (Christmas Island & etc) or detaining people who come here illegally, maybe it would be better to make it easier for legitimate asylum seekers to apply for refugee status from outside Australia, and to make sure that the visas you got were roughly comparable. That way, people wouldn’t feel the need to risk their lives to come here. To me, it seems really stupid to be putting all these resources into patrolling the seas, detaining people, prosecuting people smugglers and the like when perhaps there’s another way of fixing the issue…

Mormon Prof Mauls Monckton

Whatever else you may say about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, support for left-wing plots is not something that comes to mind. It is interesting, then, that Barry Robert Bickmore, a professor in the department of geological sciences at Brigham Young University, gets stuck into the egregious Lord M.

Recently, Prof. John Abraham criticized Lord Christopher Monckton for citing scads of scientific papers to back up his opinions about climate change, but when Abraham actually looked into those papers, it often turned out they didn’t support Monckton’s conclusions, or they even contradicted those conclusions.  Prof. Abraham also criticized Monckton for improper citation of others’ work and data, often making it difficult to figure out where he was getting his information.

Given his rap sheet (including numerous infractions mentioned on this blog), I thought it would be fun to start examining Lord Monckton’s recent testimony before a committee of the U.S. Congress.  What if I were to scan through the document, randomly pick one of Monckton’s claims that I don’t know much about, and start investigating the literature he cites?  Would I find that he makes reasonable points, or that he has continued his nearly unblemished record of propagating scientific-sounding nonsense?  Tim Lambert has already shown that Monckton’s testimony was flamboyantly incompetent about three issues (solar brightening, ocean acidification, and Snowball Earth), so I picked another topic that has to do with variations in the radiation output of the Sun…


The blog where this is posted is Anti-Climate Change Extremism in Utah.

I’ve recently been involved with other scientists and scholars in Utah trying to stop the spread of outright lies, half-truths, abuses of data, and distortions about climate change.  Much of this disinformation is coming from (or through) some Republican members of the Utah Legislature, and the other Republican (and some Democratic) members have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.  A few local media outlets, like Provo’s Daily Herald, have also been active participants.  Climate change is not just a global or national issue–it will also be played out at the state and local levels.  Therefore, I see a need for some watchdogging specific to our neck of the woods.  (In addition, I’m a Republican myself, and it galls me that my own party has locally fallen for a bunch of conspiracy theories and scientifically incompetent trash.  In my opinion, something has to be done to save the party from disaster in the long run.)

This blog is meant to 1) archive a record of the ongoing disinformation campaign in Utah, and 2) examine it in detail.  Democracy depends on accurate information being readily available to the public, and I see people who propagate such disinformation campaigns as enemies of Democracy.

Can anyone take Monckton seriously and keep a straight face any longer? See also Lord Monckton: 3rd Viscount of Brenchley, King of Fantasyland.

Pathetic performance by Tony Abbott last night

Tony Abbott is well pissed off about the Labor leadership change. On The 7.30 Report last night this led to one of the worst disingenuousness attacks I have ever witnessed.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Death squads. Execution, death squads, Stalinist knocks at the door.
TONY ABBOTT: Kerry, they execute leaders who they don’t like. It was as if Paul Howes was on Lateline the other night saying, "I determine, or my union determines, who leads the Labor Party and the circumstances under which they lead."
KERRY O’BRIEN: In fact there are some clear similarities between the departures of Turnbull and Rudd. Both alienated significant members in their party with their autocratic style; both came into conflict within their party over policy. Let me demonstrate how similar by playing back your own words on the day you became leader.
TONY ABBOTT: [earlier this year after knifing Malcolm Turnbull] I have said to my colleagues that I will do my best to be a consultative and collegial leader.
Political parties don’t work when people just announce what they’re doing and expect everyone else to follow.
I will not be that kind of a leader.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Now, that sounds remarkably similar to me, and I wonder again if your own hands and your colleagues are clean enough for you to be so holier-than-thou than Labor.
TONY ABBOTT: Kerry, that was all about policy. I became the leader and I immediately changed a policy.
KERRY O’BRIEN: But hang on …
TONY ABBOTT: My turn. Julia Gillard …
KERRY O’BRIEN: Why are you talking about being more collegiate than Malcolm Turnbull?…

KERRY O’BRIEN: I’ll say again: the similarities are these: his style was under serious attack within your party. Wasn’t Malcolm Turnbull – didn’t Malcolm Turnbull alienate many people in your party to the extent that you became leader, you challenged, you beat him, with factional heavyweights organising your numbers, as factional heavyweights organised numbers for Julia Gillard and you then took the podium and you said, "I will be more collegial. I will consult"?
TONY ABBOTT: That was a difference over policy; this is just a difference over personalities. And the point is: she was the co-author of the dud policies. What they’ve done is they’ve dumped the salesman, but they haven’t changed the product.
KERRY O’BRIEN: The fact is that both major parties can be equally ruthless in dispatching their leaders when they – when it suits. I’ll move on or we’ll just keep going round in circles. I’m sure that you’ve already put a lot of thought into how you’ll tackle Julia Gillard – a very different person to Kevin Rudd, even though you clearly will continue to tie her in with his policies. Fair enough…

TONY ABBOTT: Look, Kerry, Kerry, you had a good night with me a few weeks ago.
KERRY O’BRIEN: This isn’t about me having good nights with you, Mr Abbott; this is about your credibility.
TONY ABBOTT: But the point is, Kerry, I will let the Australian public make a judgment about me. That’s what happens in politics. But I tell you what: the Labor Party made a judgment about me this week. They made a judgment that if they stayed with Kevin Rudd, they were gonna lose.
TONY ABBOTT: That was a judgment about the effectiveness of this Opposition.
KERRY O’BRIEN: And tell me this: if you were in their position, if this was your party and you could see, in your terms, that you were going to lose with your leader, wouldn’t you want to change that leader?…

Kerry O’Brien 10, Abbott 0.

The polls this morning have turned around. See also The Poll Bludger.

Numerous pollsters, some previously unknown, have swung quickly into action to record a very rosy view of Labor’s prospects under Julia Gillard. Nielsen surveyed 993 respondents on Thursday night and found Labor’s primary vote roaring back to 47 per cent, decimating the Greens – down seven points to 8 per cent – and delivering them a thumping 55-45 two-party lead. The Coalition primary vote has nonetheless held up: at 42 per cent, it is only down one point on the famous 53-47 poll of June 6. Julia Gillard leads Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister 55 per cent to 34 per cent, widening the gap achieved by Rudd in his last poll from ten points to 21. Against Kevin Rudd, she scores a not overwhelming lead of 44 per cent to 36 per cent: Rudd himself records slightly improved personal ratings, approval up two to 43 per cent and disapproval up five to 47 per cent. Tony Abbott is for some reason down on both approval (one point to 40 per cent) and disapproval (five points to 46 per cent).

Galaxy produces a more modest headline figure of 52-48 in a survey of 800 respondents, also conducted yesterday. This was achieved off a 41 per cent primary vote, making it a lot more solid than the 52-48 Rudd achieved his final Newspoll, which was based on 35 per cent plus a hypothetical preference share. No further primary vote figures at this stage, but it’s safe to say that here too Labor has recovered a lot of soft Greens votes. The margin of error on the poll is about 3.5 per cent. Opinion is evenly divided on the leadership coup – 45 per cent support, 48 per cent oppose – but most would prefer a full term to an early election, 36 per cent to 59 per cent. Head-to-head questions on leaders’ personal attributes produce consistently huge leads for Gillard.

That’s all just for the record. My own thoughts I will put aside for the moment.

The past seven blog days

Much less significant, but I am pleased that the top posts here in the past seven days have all been recent ones, a fact partly down to my loyal opposition, the Other Kevin.

  1. Home page 235 views19 June to today.
  2. Sport and multicultural Australia 82
  3. Kevin 11 — will there be such a person? 28
  4. My latest Wordle 18
  5. Did Serbia or Australia win? 18
  6. Prime minister or president? 13