Thursday, April 12, 2018

Nonsense in a leading medical journal

The article below, by Frumkin & Patz, appeared in the latest issue of JAMA.  the authors seem to be in more Greenie organizations than you can poke a stick at so a low intellectual level has to be expected in their writings. And that expection is fulfilled.  They regurgitate some common Warmist talking points but overlook a lot of basics. 

Their mention of methane is for instance naive. Methane does intercept certain wavelengths of solar radiation in the laboratory but in the actual atmosphere the much more abundant water vapor absorbs the same wavelengths (among others), leaving little or nothing for methane to affect. So, even accepting global warming theory in full, it is clear that adding methane to the atmosphere can have no effect on warming

And their claim that warming is dangerous to your health is a deliberate lie.  Medical men of all people should know that winter is the season for dying, not summer.  So it follows that warming is actually GOOD for your health overall.

And they end up by showing what extremists they are.  They want all fossil fuels to be left in the grounds henceforth.

Why these brainless fanatics were given a platform in a respected medical journal rather escapes me.


The Conquest of Climate

How bad will climate change be? Not very.

No, this isn’t a denialist screed. Human greenhouse emissions will warm the planet, raise the seas and derange the weather, and the resulting heat, flood and drought will be cataclysmic.

Cataclysmic—but not apocalyptic. While the climate upheaval will be large, the consequences for human well-being will be small. Looked at in the broader context of economic development, climate change will barely slow our progress in the effort to raise living standards.

To see why, consider a 2016 Newsweek headline that announced “Climate change could cause half a million deaths in 2050 due to reduced food availability.” The story described a Lancet study, “Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change,” [1] that made dire forecasts: by 2050 the effects of climate change on agriculture will shrink the amount of food people eat, especially fruits and vegetables, enough to cause 529,000 deaths each year from malnutrition and related diseases. The report added grim specifics to the familiar picture of a world made hot, hungry, and barren by the coming greenhouse apocalypse.

But buried beneath the gloomy headlines was a curious detail: the study also predicts that in 2050 the world will be better fed than ever before. The “reduced food availability” is only relative to a 2050 baseline when food will be more abundant than now thanks to advances in agricultural productivity that will dwarf the effects of climate change. Those advances on their own will raise per-capita food availability to 3,107 kilocalories per day; climate change could shave that to 3,008 kilocalories, but that’s still substantially higher than the benchmarked 2010 level of 2,817 kilocalories—and for a much larger global population. Per-capita fruit and vegetable consumption, the study estimated, will rise by 6.1 percent and meat consumption by 5.4 percent. The poorest countries will benefit most, with food availability rising 14 percent in Africa and Southeast Asia. Even after subtracting the 529,000 lives theoretically lost to climate change, the study estimates that improved diets will save a net 1,348,000 lives per year in 2050.

A headline like “Despite climate change, rising food production will save millions of lives” isn’t great click-bait, but it would give a truer picture of a future under global warming as envisioned in the Lancet study. That picture is typical of the scientific literature on the impacts of climate change on human welfare. Global warming won’t wipe us out or even stall our progress, it will just marginally slow ordinary economic development that will still outpace the negative effects of warming and make life steadily better in the future, under every climate scenario. What the doomsday prognostications of drought and flood, heat-stroke and famine, migration and war miss is that climate change is not the only thing going on in the world, or even the most important thing.

It’s not even a new thing. Throughout history humans not only weathered climate crises but deliberately flung ourselves into them as we migrated away from our African homeland into deserts, mountains, floodplains and taiga. Global warming pales beside the climatic challenge surmounted by the Inuit when they settled the Arctic with igloos and kayaks, revolutionary technologies that improved their ability to travel and hunt. Theirs is just one example of the human capacity for finding better ways to get food, shelter, energy and resources from the hostile environments we embrace. “Adaptation” is not quite the right word for that process, which is so ubiquitous—and so fundamental to progress—that it is the essence of development.

This latest episode in humanity’s ongoing conquest of extreme climates will likewise amount to just another problem in economic and technological development, and a middling-scale one at that. Although clean energy will play a significant role by slowing and perhaps moderating global warming (as well as reducing pollution and easing resource constraints), contrary to the decarbonize-or-die doomsayers our main response to climate change will be other kinds of development that make climate change irrelevant. We will grow more food, harness more water, cool ourselves more vigorously, move to new lands and build—and-rebuild—new cities. We will exploit technological breakthroughs, but mostly we will improve familiar technologies and deploy them more widely. We will do all this not because of global warming but because of more pressing challenges like population growth and the demand for higher living standards. The means by which we will overcome specific problems posed by climate change look less like the pristine “sustainable development” envisioned by greens and more like the ordinary development that has always sustained us.

The conquest of drought

Environmentalists cite the 2006-10 drought in Syria, often credited with sparking the civil war there, as an omen of the crises climate change will bring. [2] But the drought also hit Israel, and the effect there was altogether different. Shortages forced Israel to tighten its already stringent water conservation and recycling standards. More importantly, they prompted breakthroughs in reverse-osmosis desalination technology, cutting by half the energy needed to extract fresh water from the sea and dramatically lowering the cost to just 58 cents per cubic meter (1,000 liters) of drinkable water. [3] As a result, Israel’s water situation U-turned from worsening scarcity to sufficiency. The arid country now desalinates 600 million cubic meters of water annually, easing the pressure on natural freshwater sources like the Sea of Galilee. More desal plants are being built. By 2020 Israel will get at least 40 percent of its water, including irrigation water, from desalination. [4]

The implications of cheap desalination are profound. By tapping limitless sea-water resources it could drought-proof agriculture and thus eliminate the greatest threat posed by climate change. The recent mega-drought in California prompted much climate alarmism, but at the low prices achieved in Israel the state could generate its entire annual water consumption of 40 million acre-feet from desal plants for $30 billion a year, just 1.2 percent of the state’s GDP. [5] It won’t come to that: freshwater sources will never completely dry up and desal at $715 per acre-foot would still be several times more expensive than natural water in California (though not during droughts, when auction prices for irrigation water can spike as high as $2,200 per acre-foot). [6] Still, if Californians had to rely on desal they could do it without breaking a sweat. Contrary to the Blade Runner franchise, Californians in 2049 will live off of well-watered produce fields, not desiccated grub farms.

The world’s driest regions will increasingly rely on desalinated water for drinking and farming, but less splashy technologies will dominate water supply. Efficiency measures like drip irrigation (invented in Israel) and recycling (86 percent of the water Israeli households use gets recycled for irrigation) [7] will stretch existing water sources much further. Efficiency has already let the developed world turn the corner on water consumption: America’s total water withdrawals in 2015 were 13 percent below the 1980 peak, for a much larger population and economy. [8]

Simply moving water where it’s needed will continue as the mainstay of water management. Here California is the leader. The California Aqueduct, running 400 miles up and down mountain ranges to take water from the wetter north to the drier south, is just part of a colossal irrigation system that has made the state’s arid landscape an agricultural powerhouse. Since ancient Sumeria’s hey-day water infrastructure has been humanity’s most important development strategy and climate technology; we will continue to expand it, on continental scales, to even out erratic rainfall and conjure fertile fields from bone-dry weather.

The examples of Israel and California show that developed countries will never face serious water shortages in a warming climate. Spreading water security to the rest of the world will thus depend not on decarbonization but on development of a very basic kind: dams, canals and pipelines; sewage treatment and recycling plants; low-flow shower heads and irrigation sprinklers; a backstop of desalination plants. Investments in these technologies and infrastructures, new and old, will resolve problems of drought and aridity that have bedeviled us since civilization began—and eliminate the worst risk of climate change in passing.

The conquest of hunger

Steadily improving water supplies will shore up our food supply, but other advances—from genetically modified seeds to innovative tilling to better storage facilities—will have a huge impact too, ensuring that farm productivity soars on a warmer planet.

Warming by itself will likely have only modest effects on farm productivity, according to projections from the International Panel on Climate Change. [9] The IPCC assessed changes in the yields of the major grain crops under warming of up to 5 degrees Celsius—a worst-case scenario, far beyond the 2-degree threshold of doom cited by policy-makers—and the results are decidedly un-alarming. In temperate regions climate change would cause yields of corn and wheat to decline by about 10 percent and rice yields by 15 percent. However, all these declines could be reversed by adaptations like earlier planting dates: with adaptation temperate-zone corn and rice yields would not decline at all and wheat yields would rise 9 percent. Tropical areas could see corn yields decline about 15 percent and rice yields 7 percent, but with adaptation tropical rice yields would instead rise 12 percent. Tropical-zone wheat yields would suffer a serious decline of over 30 percent even with adaptation, but farmers don’t grow much wheat in the tropics so the effect on global supply would be small.

These limited and mostly reversible effects of climate change barely register beside the real challenge facing agriculture—the steeply rising demand for food. By 2050 an extra 2 billion mouths to feed and meat-heavier diets will make global food consumption swell by 50 to 100 percent over the 2006 level. [10] Compared to population growth, richer diets and the imperative to reduce hunger in impoverished nations, global warming will be a minor burden; decarbonizing the energy supply would thus do little to reduce the stress on food supplies. Some decarbonization measures, like the diversion of food crops to produce low-carbon biofuels, will actually worsen the food crisis. One study estimates that by 2050 biofuel production will consume up to 363 million tons of crops, the equivalent of 14 percent of 2017’s global cereal-grain harvest. [11] If we simply drop biofuels from clean-energy policy, that alone would erase most of the projected food deficit caused by climate change.

Meanwhile, countervailing developments that increase yields will outrun the effects of climate change and dramatically raise farm output. They’re already working; in the past ten years the global grain harvest grew 23 percent, half again as much as the 15 percent growth in population. [12] Productivity will keep rising. A recent report from the International Food Policy Research Institute spotlighted a range of innovations that will boost yields: better weed treatments can raise corn, rice and wheat yields by 6 to 12 percent; heat-tolerant crop varieties can raise corn yields by 31 to 37 percent and wheat yields by 16 to 28 percent; no-till cultivation can raise corn yields 20 to 67 percent and wheat yields 19 to 57 percent. [13] Advanced technologies like genetically engineered seeds will play a role, but basic inputs will be more important: a recent study in Nature estimated that simply using more irrigation and fertilizer could raise yields 45 to 70 percent. [14]

Developing countries will see the greatest productivity gains—Africa could more than double its grain harvest by bringing yields up to the current global average [15]—but Western agribusiness will continue to improve as well. Comparing three-year averages in the U. S. in 2014-2016 with the 2004-2006 period, corn yields grew 12 percent over the decade, wheat yields 13 percent and soybean yields 15 percent. [16] There’s still plenty of room for improvement by adopting best practices: winners of the 2016 National Wheat Yield Contest beat their counties’ average yields by anywhere from 37 to 377 percent. [17] Farmers will also expand production by cultivating new land in vast northern regions where warming will improve the climate. In Canada rising temperatures could boost corn yields 60 percent and wheat yields 70 percent. [18]

We will also get more food by not wasting it. The world currently wastes about one third of the food it produces. [19] In developed countries much of it is rejected by finicky retailers and shoppers or left to molder in the fridge, but in poor countries it is mostly lost in pre-marketing stages—rotting in fields or spoiling after harvest before it reaches market. Africa could recover about 11 percent of its food supply by reducing losses in production, storage and distribution to European levels. The technology is banal: machinery that can harvest fields quickly when destructive weather threatens; plastic bags and metal silos to keep insects out of grain; roads and trucks to take produce quickly to market, plastic crates to keep it from getting crushed en route, refrigerated warehouses to keep it fresh and canneries to preserve it. [20]

Global warming won’t crimp the world’s food supply much and decarbonization won’t safeguard it. Preserving and expanding the food supply to meet rising demand will rely on hum-drum investment in growing and processing food—doing what we do now, only more and better. Unfortunately, misplaced environmental priorities may undermine that program by demonizing important technologies like GMOs and championing organic farming and other low-input, low-yield models as replacements for industrial agriculture. To feed the world we will have to question that vision of sustainability.

The conquest of heat

The most lurid climate change scenario is the wet-bulb apocalypse: the combination of rising temperatures with humidity so saturating that sweat cannot evaporate from the skin to cool the body. In a recent climate jeremiad in New York Magazine David Wallace-Wells claims that global warming will make such steam-bath weather so commonplace that outdoor work would become impossible in many places. Eventually, he warns, “more than half the world’s population, as distributed today, would die of direct heat.” [21]

But contrary to Wallace-Wells’s panic, extreme heat is becoming quite livable thanks to another banal technology: air conditioning. Just as people in the past used fire and clothing to settle in lethally cold climates, today we are using cheap cooling technology to expand into lethally hot climates with no harm to our health. Thanks to air conditioning the Florida-to-Nevada swelter-belt has seen a population boom—disproportionately of heat-vulnerable retirees—at the same time as annual heat-related deaths in the U. S. have plunged 80 percent. [22] Mechanical cooling made the furnace-city of Dubai, where average high temperatures top 100 degrees Fahrenheit six months a year, into an international business hub as its population exploded from 40,000 to 2.5 million. [23]

Mass cooling is gathering steam in developing countries, where air conditioners are now one of the first electric appliances people buy. Urban Chinese have installed 200 million room air conditioners in the last 15 years, and there is now one air conditioner for every Chinese home. [24] A recent study estimated that the world will install another 700 million new AC units by 2030, and a further 900 million between 2030 and 2050. [25] Soon the world will consider an air-conditioned home to be as rudimentary an aspect of human comfort as a warm hearth on a cold night.

In time the cooling bubble will become portable enough for heavy outdoor labor. American farmers already work their fields in the comfort of air-conditioned combine cabs; less mechanized farms could set up battery-powered tents with AC and cold water to cool over-heated laborers. Qatar is experimenting with solar-powered hats that waft cool air over construction workers. [26] The ultimate response to unhealthy working temperatures may be to automate outdoor work. Farm robots can already pick apples and strawberries, thin lettuce seedlings, milk cows and grow barley from plowing through harvest. [27] The idea that we have to moderate the climate to make manual field labor more bearable gets development priorities backwards; the worse failure will be if, a hundred years from now, humans still do that back-breaking work.

For billions of people life is already too hot, so the artificial cooling of humanity will proceed regardless of climate change or decarbonization goals. A key part of that will be supplying electricity to run (and build) air conditioners; India’s soaring AC demand will necessitate some 300 new power plants over the next two decades. [28] Here too there’s a tension between necessary development and green sustainability doctrine, with its emphasis on reducing energy use and relying on intermittent wind and solar generators. Cooling requires a lot of electricity that is reliably available when demand is greatest; given the limitations of wind and solar, much of that electricity will have to come from new nuclear and, for now, fossil-fueled plants. High-quality power will take precedence over intermittent energy austerity as a strategy for beating the heat.

Rising seas

Sea-level rise is the most unsettling aspect of global warming. Major coastal areas and many large cities will be inundated; some of that is already baked into current carbon dioxide levels, with the only question being how many centuries it will take. The prospect threatens the loss of homes, of unique urban and regional cultures, and of our sense of the permanence and meaning of our world.

But as apocalyptic as it seems, sea-rise poses little risk to human well-being. The destruction will be real, and wrenching, but not overwhelming or even unusual. It will necessitate abandonment and migration and rebuilding—but such upheavals are so deeply woven into modern life, on such a grand scale, that the increment caused by climate change will hardly break our stride.

As with agriculture, climate change ranks far down the list of challenges to our built environment, infrastructure and living space. Serious problems will emerge towards the end of this century, when waters could rise up to 2 meters [29] and require major investments in sea-walls and flood-control infrastructure. More flooding will ensue, with estimates putting the number of people who could ultimately be displaced at anywhere from 72 million to 750 million over several centuries. [30] By any measure, involuntary migration of hundreds of millions of people to higher ground ranks as a cataclysm. But it’s nowhere near as cataclysmic as ordinary population growth, which will force the world to find room, homes and infrastructure for an extra two billion people by 2050.

To see what that much larger non-climatic upheaval will be like over the next 33 years we need only look at the last 33 years, during which the world gained almost three billion extra inhabitants. Those decades were a time not only of colossal population growth but of epic migrations, primarily internal migrations that often go unremarked. In China, 170 million peasants left their villages and moved dozens to hundreds of miles into cities after 1979, [31] while in India there are currently 450 million internal migrants. [32] The tidal wave of population growth and migration necessitated a frenzy of city-building. China’s Shenzhen takes the prize for growth, with its population exploding from 30,000 in 1979 to over 10 million today. Comparable growth took place in megacities the world over, from the Indian technology hub of Bangalore, which added over five million people after 1981, to metropolitan Phoenix, where migrant-driven urbanization tripled the population to 4.6 million. [33] Yet despite the strain of new people and vast relocations, far exceeding anything that climate change will cause, the period since 1980 has been a golden age of development that lifted billions of people out of deep poverty.

Break-neck construction to keep up with giant dislocations isn’t a rupture with modern life but the essence of modern life, and modernity has navigated far more extreme episodes than climate change promises. Germany and Japan emerged from World War II destitute and with their cities destroyed, but within a few decades they had rebuilt themselves from the ground up better than before. Slowly rising seas won’t pose anything like a comparable task of reconstruction.

And while the sheer waste of abandoning the wealth and labor embodied in coastal cities feels appalling, it seems less so when we reflect on just how new, provisional and even disposable our material civilization really is. In 1820 New York held just 152,000 people crammed into a tiny footprint. [34] Almost everything in the city of 8 million—tenements, skyscrapers, bridges, subways, docks, airports, the Bronx—was built in 200 years, and much of it demolished and rebuilt several times over in search of higher rents. The task of constructing a New New York somewhere inland over the next 200 years as the old one drowns seems gargantuan, but that was exactly the project the city embarked on in 1820 under horse-power and candle-light.

Rebuilding is an aspect of economic development that humans do quite well. We built the whole world in the last two centuries—much of it in the last two generations—and rebuilding a waterlogged fraction of it over the next two centuries, with the help of incomparably better technology, will hardly tax us.


Undoing American Climate Diplomacy

A wail from a Warmist below

Mike Pompeo, as a Kansas congressman from 2011 to 2017, was one of the largest recipients of oil and gas money in the House of Representatives. He voted against amendments to bills that declared that climate change was real and caused by humans; railed against international climate treaties and greenhouse gas regulations; and in a 2014 speech to the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, called climate science “a religion out there that is advocating on behalf of making sure CO₂ doesn’t escape.” He is now Donald Trump’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and if confirmed by the Senate, he’d be the first top American diplomat to publicly reject the realities of climate science.

The United States has, historically, been responsible for the creation of most of the greenhouse gas emissions released into the Earth’s atmosphere. (China leads the way now.) As a result, other countries have long expected the secretary of state to take a leadership role on climate issues. Former Secretary Colin Powell, for example, said he was hampered by President George W. Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an earlier global warming treaty. “Everything the American president does has international repercussions,” he told The New York Times in 2002. Those repercussions took more than a decade to resolve. It wasn’t until twelve years later, in 2014, that Barack Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, was able to help persuade almost 200 nations to attend the talks in Lima, Peru, that eventually led to the Paris climate agreement.

Tillerson—who, despite working for ExxonMobil for four decades, has repeatedly said that climate change is real and harmful—allowed career employees at State to continue their work on climate issues. “I didn’t see any evidence of interference from the secretary’s office to the positions taken by the negotiators,” said Andrew Light, a former State Department climate adviser. Last November, officials from the Office of Global Change—a State Department division created under President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to oversee the country’s international environmental policy—were allowed to attend a series of negotiating sessions over the Paris agreement in Bonn, Germany, where they worked on finalizing policies to ensure transparency and accountability from countries that have promised to reduce carbon emissions. (The United States is still party to the Paris agreement; despite Trump’s pledge last summer to withdraw, he can’t until 2020.) They are also working on the language in two major, upcoming scientific reports—one from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the impacts of mild global warming, and another from the U.S. National Climate Assessment on expected climate impacts in America.

Pompeo’s tenure suggests that a change in American negotiating posture could be forthcoming. It seems unlikely that any secretary of state under Donald Trump was going to advocate for a strong climate agenda, but at least Tillerson could be expected to find common ground with other countries, according to James Connaughton, a former environment adviser to President George W. Bush. He cited Tillerson’s willingness to address unfair competition from China’s manufacturing sector and to promote clean energy development abroad. “Tillerson was uniquely positioned to address that part of diplomacy,” he said.

Trump has said he wants to withdraw from the Paris agreement and renegotiate its terms. But the administration has now lost almost everyone capable of that work: A top international environmental policy adviser, George David Banks, resigned in February. Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, who negotiated directly with climate ministers from other countries, resigned in March. “Those are big losses that will take you a while to come back from,” said Connaughton.

Restaffing won’t be easy. “There aren’t a whole lot of Republicans who can represent the president’s perspective on climate while at the same time be able to navigate complicated climate diplomacy,” Banks said. Achieving that would require a political will on the subject that neither Trump nor Pompeo appears to have. “I guarantee you climate policy had zero influence on Trump’s decision to hire Pompeo,” Banks added.

The erosion of American engagement in climate diplomacy has allowed China to become the de facto world leader on global environmental policy.

The erosion of American engagement in climate diplomacy has already allowed China to become the de facto world leader on global environmental policy. China has become more assertive about climate leadership, with President Xi Jinping pledging last year to make the country the “torch-bearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization.” European powers, too, have begun turning to China, not the United States, for partnerships on climate issues. And with Pompeo in charge, America’s standing could erode still further. “Even if we’re still continuing to send capable negotiators to climate conferences, the real loss is our political influence, which is being scooped up by the Chinese left and right,” Light said. “Are the Chinese doing it because they’re planetary good guys? No—they see this appropriately as an issue of international influence and leverage.”

Fortunately, there’s a structural limit to how much damage Trump and Pompeo can do. The Paris agreement was written to withstand assaults from a hostile administration, said Paul Bodnar, who led the negotiations as Barack Obama’s senior director for energy and climate. “We designed the agreement in a way that was robust to shocks,” he said. “We knew that the U.S. is like the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of climate. When we’re the good Dr. Jekyll, we have to make sure the rest of the world can withstand us when we turn into Mr. Hyde.”

It is possible that Pompeo, when confronted with the gravity of representing his country abroad, will realize the importance of preserving America’s credibility on this issue and stop the United States from formally withdrawing from Paris. But it’s hard to see an isolationist and climate-denying United States retaining its traditional leadership role. And if that happens, the still-fragile agreements and international coalitions created in Paris to stop climate change will be at risk.


Australian Green Party trying to disgorge far-Leftist

In a classical example of entryism, long-term Trotsky-ite Rhiannon, who could get nowhere on her own, decided she was a Greenie and got into parliament under their banner.  The Greenies have been trying to dislodge her for some time now, as her priorities are clearly far-Leftist rather than Green -- far enough Leftist to alienate some Green voters. IMHO she is just a poisonous old bag, though she is undoubtedly clever in pursuing her own advantage

NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon is facing an internal push to vacate her seat before the next election, to clear the path for her successor Mehreen Faruqi.

In a campaign designed to force her from office, NSW Greens members have circulated a memo to the party’s membership titled “thanking Senator Lee Rhiannon”, which calls on her to hand over the reins.

The proposal, co-sponsored by five NSW Greens branches, requested Senator Rhiannon to “work with the standing campaign committee and Mehreen Faruqi on a transition plan to maximise the Greens chances of winning a seat at the next federal election”.

The demand represents a further deterioration in relations between the NSW Greens' warring factions, and is timed to coincide with the party’s preselections for the NSW upper house, which are expected to see a showdown between the party’s radical left faction and its moderate flank.

The proposal was circulated to the party’s 4000-strong membership via the party’s internal website last week. Senator Rhiannon did not respond to the Herald’s request for comment.

However, in comments posted to the party's internal forum, which have been obtained by the Herald, she slammed the proposal for exacerbating disunity in the party and called for it to be withdrawn.

"I am concerned and offended by this proposal and the actions associated with it," Senator Rhiannon wrote in response. "I am committed to Mehreen being elected to the Senate, despite insinuations to the contrary."

Dr Faruqi, who is a member of the NSW Legislative Council, defeated Senator Rhiannon in a preselection battle for the party’s top Senate ticket spot in November, in a significant blow to the radical left faction, known as Left Renewal or the eastern bloc.

Five months on, it is understood Senator Rhiannon is yet to inform Dr Faruqi of her intended departure date. Dr Faruqi declined to comment on the proposal when approached by the Herald.

But in a response posted on the party's internal website, Dr Faruqi said it would be "really useful for the party to have a timeline for transition".

"There is no question incumbency does provide an advantage in terms of visibility and profile, in addition to the resources individual senators can use for their own re-election."

The proposal claimed the party would be out of pocket by as much as $300,000 if Dr Faruqi was denied the benefit of incumbency – which would give her access to an office budget and four staff members – and argued this would have a "flow-on effect" to the party’s NSW election budget.

The proposal cited several party precedents of Greens MPs resigning to allow lead candidates to contest elections as sitting members, including former party leader Bob Brown, who resigned to make way for Peter Wish-Wilson in 2013. Christine Milne also departed the Senate early to allow Nick McKim to assume the seat.

In her comments to the party’s online forum, Senator Rhiannon indicated she would not discuss the issue until after the party had concluded its upper house preselections, including the appointment of Dr Faruqi’s replacement. Voting will begin next week, with results due by early May.

Dr Faruqi plans to remain in the NSW Parliament until she can move to the Senate, meaning both she and her replacement will have to wait for Senator Rhiannon’s resignation before they can assume their seats.

The preselections are expected to be a litmus test for the hard left faction. Their lead candidate, David Shoebridge, is expected to face a tough battle against moderate Jeremy Buckingham, which could see him relegated to the precarious third spot on the party’s NSW upper house ticket.

The fight for Dr Faruqi’s state seat has already been marked by a bitter preselection dispute, which escalated to the NSW Supreme Court.

Cate Faehrmann, the recently departed chief of staff to Greens leader Richard Di Natale, was forced to seek a court order confirming her validity to nominate for preselection after the party’s bureaucracy attempted to block her candidacy on the grounds her membership was “provisional”.


Australia is a big energy exporter -- coal and natural gas

Australia’s resource and energy export earnings are forecast to reach a record $230 billion in 2017-18, driven by higher iron ore and coal prices and rapidly growing LNG export volumes.

However, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science expects export earnings to decline slightly from current levels, before levelling out at about $212 billion to $216 billion a year from 2019-20 onwards.

Department chief economist Mark Cully said this compared with average annual export earnings of $72 billion in the decade before the onset of the resources boom, validating the long-held view than the mining boom would continue to reap dividends long after the price peak in 2011.

Mr Cully said, in the Resources and Energy Quarterly report released today, over the next few years, the prices of iron ore and metallurgical coal would be weighed down by increasing supply and declining steel production in China.

However, according to the report, the price of Australian LNG, set by the oil price, is expected to increase modesty, constrained by price-sensitive shale oil production in the US, and sluggish growth in world oil consumption.

The ramp up in export volumes, driven by the mining investment boom, is expected to have run its course by the turn of the decade.

“The last of Australia’s LNG projects is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, while growth in iron ore export volumes will slow from 2018-19,” Mr Cully said.

“The story is similar for other key resource and energy export commodities, including coal, gold and several base metals.

“In this sense, 2020 will mark the end of the remarkable growth phase of the Australian resources and energy sector.”




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: