Sunday, June 30, 2019

How Dengue Fever Could Spread in a Warming World

This would probably be true to a degree IF the globe warms more.

But like most Leftist writing, the story below tells only half the story.  I come from an area in the Australian tropics -- far North Queensland -- where Dengue and Ross river virus are endemic.  So how come neither disease is common in the population there?

Its because of something that the Green/Left routinely ignore: People react to problems.  They don't let problems just go on. And in this case public health measures work pretty well. Local authorities in the tropics react to mosquito-borne virus outbreaks in two ways.

1). They spray bodies of water where mosquitoes breed and thus kill them before they can fly.

2). They mount publicity campaigns to alert people to the dangers of mosquitoes breeding -- so that households too avoid creating conditions where mosquitoes can breed.

Neither strategy is completely sucessful  but it is successful enough.  Despite being born and bred in the tropics I have never had either Dengue or Ross river virus.

So if Dengue does spread to new areas, the control strategies are well known

Climate change is poised to increase the spread of dengue fever, which is common in parts of the world with warmer climates like Brazil and India, a new study warns.

Worldwide each year, there are 100 million cases of dengue infections severe enough to cause symptoms, which may include fever, debilitating joint pain and internal bleeding. There are an estimated 10,000 deaths from dengue — also nicknamed breakbone fever — which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes that also spread Zika and chikungunya.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology, found a likelihood for significant expansion of dengue in the southeastern United States, coastal areas of China and Japan, as well as to inland regions of Australia.

Oliver Brady, an assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a co-author on the paper, said that the research predicts more people in the United States will be at risk in coming years.

Globally, the study estimated that more than two billion additional people could be at risk for dengue in 2080, compared with 2015 under a warming scenario roughly representative of the world’s current emissions trajectory. That increase largely comes from population growth in areas already at high risk for the disease, as well as the expansion of dengue’s range.

To estimate the future spread of the disease, Dr. Brady and his colleagues took data on mosquito behavior and projections on urbanization (one type of Aedes mosquito that spreads the disease is especially prevalent in cities) and combined them with three different climate scenarios to model what might happen in 2020, 2050 and 2080. Under all three scenarios the spread of dengue increased.

But how much the world warms has a significant impact on the spread of the disease.

The research, Dr. Brady said, “hints at the idea that if we do control emissions better, we could stop or at least limit this kind of spread.”

Warming temperatures help expand dengue’s range because, in part, as it gets warmer mosquitoes can thrive in more places where they couldn’t previously. Warming temperatures also shorten the time it takes a mosquito to become a biting adult and accelerate the time between when a mosquito picks up a disease and is able to pass it on. The study’s predictions were lower in some areas, particularly Europe, than previous studies. Those studies estimated widespread transmission of the disease on the Continent, while Dr. Brady and his colleagues estimated that its spread in the region would be limited to parts of the Iberian Peninsula and parts of the Mediterranean.

Aedes aegypti is particularly concerning, because, while other mosquito species will bite whatever is convenient, Aedes aegypti prefer to bite humans. Much of the Southeast United States used to be home to mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria was a threat until the middle of the 20th century, when a mosquito-eradication campaign eliminated the disease. But that campaign relied heavily on liberal application of the insecticide DDT, which had a host of harmful environmental effects. In 2018, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County announced at least one locally acquired occurrence of dengue.

There are limits to the study, cautioned Andrew Comrie, a professor in the department of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. The paper is a sophisticated use of ecological niche modeling, Dr. Comrie said by email, but it does “not deal with species competition, predation, or potential evolutionary adaptation.” While there is a dengue fever vaccine, it is ineffective for most people. Treatment for the disease focuses on ensuring that the patient gets enough fluids, which can be difficult because of severe nausea and vomiting.

“For a healthy individual dengue is an awful experience that you never forget,” said Josh Idjadi, an associate professor at Eastern Connecticut University who contracted dengue fever in French Polynesia. “For infants and elderly and the infirm, they’re the ones that are going to be at risk.”


California Will Endure Prearranged Power Outages

First World problems in the Golden State are thanks to insane leftist policies.

In California’s last two fire seasons, more than 135 people died, and tens of thousands of homes and businesses were obliterated. This ongoing dynamic has been precipitated by two overriding factors: first, the power lines, conductors, and other equipment of the state’s largest power company, Pacific Gas and Electric, as well as those of other state utility companies, are largely antiquated. Second, years of environmental activism have enabled the largely uncontrolled growth of thousands of acres of dense underbrush and vegetation that can be easily ignited during periods of dry weather or severe winds.

California’s approach to fixing the problem? On May 30, the California Public Utilities Commission gave the green light to PG&E and the other utility companies to cut off electricity — to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers — whenever they deem the fire risk is extremely high.

The reasoning behind this decision was detailed last February, when California’s utility companies filed contingency plans with state regulators in advance of the 2019 wildfire season that began this month. Those plans were submitted after PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection, precipitated by ten of billions of dollars in liability claims from those who bore the brunt of the wildfire devastation. PG&E insisted development in remote areas and climate change were major contributors to wildfires’ severity, but critics asserted the company has not done enough to reduce the risk posed by its equipment. And while the utility stated it will spend as much as $2.3 billion this year to mitigate that risk, the company ultimately admitted that “preventing wildfires outright is likely impossible.”

Thus, PG&E has developed a formula that determines when people will be left without power. As PG&E senior public safety specialist David Hodgkiss explains, “elevated (Tier 2) or extreme (Tier 3)” risk triggering a Red Flag warning will be engendered by humidity below 20%, sustained winds over 25 mph, and winds gusts over 40 mph. Those conditions will be verified by 1,300 weather stations the company plans to install across its customer-service area in central and northern California that serves approximately 40% of the state’s population.

Last October, the utility company implemented what amounts to a trial run of this policy in several small communities in the North Bay and Sierra Foothills. Power was deliberately cut off to nearly 60,000 customers for two days.

Yet as Hodgkiss warns, keeping the power off for only 48 hours may be an optimistic prediction going forward. “Each and every foot of line and piece of conductor needs to be inspected” before restoring it to make sure downed trees or other hazards aren’t impacting power lines, and that some of those inspections take time “especially in a mountainous area,” he explains. “The inspect and patrol is a huge undertaking, but they’ve gotten a lot better at it than last fall. The goal is to complete it within 48 hours and have everything up and running, but that will depend on the event.”

PG&E spokeswoman Alison Talbott was somewhat tone deaf in explaining the company’s position. “Go ahead and be mad at PG&E,” she stated, “but use this as an opportunity to prepare yourself; because an emergency can happen at any time that isn’t fire-related.”

Mad? Fifty-six year old Kallithea Miller isn’t mad. “I could die in my sleep,” said a woman who relies on her refrigerator to keep her insulin cool, as well as a CPAP machine to maintain her breathing during the night. “It’s scaring the hell out of me.”

It should. As Hodgkiss noted, PG&E will “ideally” begin alerting public-safety agencies 48 hours in advance of a blackout, and then begin getting warnings out to the public via social media and news outlets 24 hours prior to an outage.

Ideally? California’s track record of “ideal” (read: wholly inadequate) solutions for real-world problems is the stuff of legend.

Nonetheless, the epicenter of progressive ideology and radical environmentalism must get its act together. After years of neglect, the U.S. Forest Service and the state’s Cal Fire agency are thinning forests, clearing brush, and setting controlled burns on more acres than they have in quite some time. Unsurprisingly, the effort required Gov. Gavin Newsom to exempt such projects from environmental review. The U.S. Forest Service has also announced a plan to “streamline” federal regulations.

Unfortunately, the current effort only marginally addresses the problem. State officials estimate approximately 15 million acres of wilderness need to be overhauled, yet the U.S. Forest Service plans to treat only 220,000 acres, and Cal Fire can only handle 45,000 acres. “We’re not going to solve the problem (right away),” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “But there’s hope of making a difference in the next two decades.”

Two decades? “Power outrages are characteristic of Third World countries,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. “Here in California we are advised to brace for lots of them, given that our antiquated grid apparently contributes to brush fires on hot days. As a native, I do not remember a single instance of our 20th-century state utilities shutting down service in the manner that they now routinely promise.”

Those promises come with a steep price attached. Calistoga is one of the towns that went dark last October. When it did, city officials claim communications with PG&E broke down, leaving them hard-pressed to get vulnerable residents in three mobile-home parks medical attention. In addition, schools closed and hospitals postponed surgeries. At the 18-room Calistoga Inn, power went out in the middle of the dinner rush, and owner Michael Dunsford estimated the lost revenue, combined with cleaning out his refrigerators and issuing refunds to hotel customers, cost him about $15,000.

Yet as columnists Russell Gold and Katherine Blunt reveal, it gets worse. “PG&E said it generally wouldn’t cover losses due to intentional blackouts — regulations don’t require it to — though it would consider claims case-by-case,” they explain. “It declined to say whether it has ever compensated anyone for such claims.”

In short, Californians are on their own. Even the San Francisco Chronicle acknowledges as much. They advise Californians to buy portable generators, solar roof-top panels, or a $6,700 Tesla Powerwall battery — as if ordinary people in the state with the highest income-tax rates in the nation have such disposable income — after they’re finished paying the sixth highest electric bills. State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) has also proposed a bill to fix the problem on the wrong of the equation, with a plan to secure backup systems for those who need power for medical reasons. “The last thing we want to do is have a situation like that hurting people,” Dodd said. “This is all new to everybody.”

This is not new. California has had rolling blackouts for more than two decades. What is new? “No U.S. utility has ever blacked out so many people on purpose,” Gold and Blunt state.

Until now — and for the foreseeable future.


Democratic presidential candidates avoided using the term climate change for more alarming phrases, like “climate chaos,” during Thursday night’s primary debate

“Well, first of all, I don’t even call it climate change, it’s a climate crisis,” Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris said the debate.

“It represents and existential threat to us as a species,” Harris said. “And the fact that we have a president of the United States who has embraced science fiction over science fact will be to our collective peril.”

Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell used the phrase “climate chaos” in his closing debate remarks, echoing language used by environmental activists pushing for aggressive global warming policies. “This is the generation that will end climate chaos.” Swalwell said.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign tweeted out during the debate that “we must combat our climate crisis and take on the fossil fuel industry.” Sanders, who also partook in the debate, supports the Green New Deal, which calls for a massive government takeover to “green” the economy.

Instead of spending trillions of dollars on misguided wars and weapons of mass destruction, we must combat our climate crisis and take on the fossil fuel industry. We need a Green New Deal. #DemDebate2 — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 28, 2019

Scientists use climate change or global warming to describe human impacts on global average temperature, not activist talking points. Despite this, two major media outlets changed their editorial policies this year to use “emergency” or “crisis” instead of climate change.


Contrary to Global Warming Predictions, Great Lakes At Record-High Water Levels

Lake MichiganIt is a truism that any observed change in nature will be blamed by some experts on global warming (aka “climate change”, “climate crisis”, “climate emergency”).

When the Great Lakes water levels were unusually low from approximately 2000 through 2012 or so, this was pointed to as evidence that global warming was causing the Great Lakes to dry up.

Take for example this 2012 article from National Geographic, which was accompanied by this startling photo:

The accompanying text called this the “lake bottom” as if Lake Michigan (which averages 279 feet deep) had somehow dried up.

Then in a matter of two years, low lake levels were replaced with high lake levels. The cause (analysis here) was a combination of unusually high precipitation (contrary to global warming theory) and an unusually cold winter that caused the lakes to mostly freeze over, reducing evaporation.

Now, as of this month (June 2019), ALL of the Great Lakes have reached record-high levels.

Time To Change The Story

So, how shall global warming alarmists explain this observational defiance of their predictions?

Simple! They just invoke “climate weirding” and claim that the climate emergency has caused water levels to become more erratic, to see-saw, to become more variable!

The trouble is that there is no good evidence in the last 100 years that this is happening.

This plot of the four major lake systems (Huron and Michigan are at the same level, connected at the Straits of Mackinac) shows no increased variability since levels have been accurately monitored (data from NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory):

This is just one more example of how unscientific many global warming claims have become. Both weather and climate are nonlinear dynamical systems, capable of producing changes without any ‘forcing’ from increasing CO2 or the Sun. Change is normal.

What is abnormal is blaming every change in nature we don’t like on human activities. That’s what happened in medieval times, when witches were blamed for storms, droughts, etc.

One would hope we progressed beyond that mentality.


EcoFascists:  The new totalitarians

Melbourne University’s new vice-chancellor, Duncan Maskell, wants to “reach out” and “build partnerships” with the business sector. It may be harder than he thinks. Potential donors might catch up with what the university’s Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) is advocating. MSSI Director, Professor Brendan Gleeson, has just co-authored with staffer Dr Sam Alexander a book Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary.[1]

The book calls for the overthrow of capitalism en route to a mightily shrunken non–consumerist “eco-socialism”. MSSI cites reviews of the book as a “beacon of hope” for a “a tantalizing and realistic suburban future”, as the authors guide us “through the calamities of the Anthropocene”. MSSI last March also published an update by the Gleeson/Alexander duo, “showcasing new and exciting sustainability knowledge”.[2] The authors respectfully quote Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto of 1848. But they argue for a decarbonised Australia which for radicalism makes Marx and Engels seem mild as maiden aunts:

Attempting to take control of the state may not necessarily be the best way to initiate the transition to a just and sustainable degrowth economy, for even a socialist state may find itself locked into unsustainable growth just as capitalism is.


A revolutionary consciousness must precede the revolution. If governments will not lead this process, it arguably follows that social movements might have to change the world without (at first) taking state power… [3]

The authors note that Australian householders to the 1950s did a lot of backyard food-growing, dress-making and furniture-making, and DIY building:

This ‘urban peasantry’ declined however in the Post-War Boom, as the rise of mass consumer capitalism enabled households to purchase goods previously produced within the household. We contend that any degrowth or post-capitalist transition may well see the re-emergence of an ‘urban peasantry’ in this sense, albeit one shaped by different times and concerns.

The more pain for citizens the better, apparently, to “shake people awake”:

In our view, it is better that citizens are not in fact protected from every disruptive situation, given that encounter with crisis can play an essential consciousness-raising role. (175).

They say,

Ultimately, the solution to crisis is crisis: a massive suspension of capitalism as prelude to a new economic and social dispensation…To liberate human prospect, we must cast down not defend the burning barricades of a dying modernity. (15-16)

They extol Cubans for food production in backyards, turning “crisis into opportunity”. The post-2007 Greek debt crisis also furnishes them insights “into ways of dealing positively with challenging and turbulent times”. I’m surprised they haven‘t also cited socialist Venezuela’s shining example of degrowth. They say that living standards, despite degrowth, can be propped up by voluntary sharing and gifting. But they caution the middle classes that “access to expensive handbags through sharing schemes is not progressive if it merely entrenches consumer culture.”

Richard di Natale’s Green’s Party, they say, “has begun to recognize the need for a post-growth economy, even though it treads very carefully knowing that it must not alienate a voting constituency that is still developing a post-growth consciousness” (180). I don’t think di Natale will thank them for that insight.

In one of the sickening clich├ęs of the Gleeson/Alexander academic style – dating back eight years to Alexander’s Ph.D. thesis — the authors time-travel to 2038 and discover what a success their policies have been (145).[4] Large fossil-fuel companies are nationalized in a near “war time mobilization” and their workers handed a job guarantee in renewables (167).

Graffiti daubers in 2038 instead write inspirational slogans: “Graffiti art sprayed all over Melbourne captured the spirit best: ‘I have a little; you have nothing; therefore, we have a little’” (154). Suburbanites share food from their vegie plots, eschew distant holidays (local trips show “hidden delights” within reach of a borrowed electric car), mend their own clothes, eat vegetarian and fertilise their backyard plots with nutrients from their composting toilets. “As old attitudes die, it is now broadly accepted that a civilized society in an era of water scarcity should not defecate into potable water…” they write (158).

“Tiny houses” on wheels proliferate on idle driveways and spare rooms are opened to boarders. Homesteaders enjoy sewing, baking bread and brewing beer. (Home-brewed cider and port feature in Alexander’s previous yurts-and-jam-jar imaginings). People spend their leisure on “low-impact creative activity like music or art, home-based production, or sport. (164)”. But many sport fields get converted to cropping, which is tough on the likes of AFL fans who initially create “instances of social conflict” until won over by Gleeson and Alexander’s insights (159).

The elderly purr along on electric bikes, and neighborhoods share ‘electric cargo bikes” capable of dropping multiple kids at school. The ‘vast majority’ of city people do some food-growing and bee-keeping in their welcome new roles as “urban peasantry”. They convert train-line verges to chicken and goat farms and former car parks to aquaculture. With so much  physical work, people need less public health care, “freeing up more of the public purse for the energy transition” (160).

The ambience at MSSI hasn’t changed much since I last checked them out four years ago. Those earlier pieces — The joy of yurts and jam-jar glassware, Melbourne Uni’s watermelon patch, and A book without peer — can be read by following the links.

MSSI is now running a whole project on eco-socialism’s “Great Resettlement” of the suburbs after we cut loose from our “fatal addiction” to oil, gas and coal. Just for starters, Gleeson/Alexander are now agitating for a top marginal tax rate of “90 per cent or more”,[5] wealth taxes “to systematically transfer 3 per cent of private wealth [do they mean per annum?] from the richest to the poorest” and estate taxes of 90 per cent or more “to ensure the laws of inheritance and bequest do not create a class system of entrenched wealth and entrenched poverty.” In their view, Australia should give a guaranteed living wage to every permanent resident and a “job guarantee” involving the state as employer of last resort (193-4).

The book says the “working class struggle” (91) should involve, of course, a giant increase in State control for a “wholesale eco-socialist transition” (174). There would be “vastly increased democratic planning and perhaps even some rationing of key resources to ensure distributive equity” (195). State and community banks would monopolise most mortgages and use the profits to fund a guaranteed right to public housing (191), with socialization of property per se likely later down the track (190).

To prepare the masses for this Gleesonian world of degrowth, grassroots education campaigns would get special importance and the arts sector would weave “emotionally convincing” narratives about anti-consumerism (195) – — except maybe for climate tragic Cate Blanchett; her portfolio includes a $6m Sussex mansion.

In the book’s sole flash of common sense, the authors say, “Electric cars are still on the rise, but progress is slow as few households can afford them, and their ecological credentials remain dubious in many respects” (164-65).

You may be wondering about this Sustainable Society Institute. It’s not some rogue element of the campus in a reefer-strewn Carlton hideaway but an interdisciplinary Melbourne University standard-bearer. It has a “diverse and vibrant  Advisory Board of experts, leaders and champions of sustainability.” They include Nobelist Peter Doherty and the president, no less, of the university’s professorial board, Rachel Webster.

Housed in the architecture faculty , it has a staff of 21 including four professors, 6-7 PhDs and 10 administrators. There goes about $3m salaries a year in tax and fees, let alone costs of MSSI delegations to annual UN climate gabfests. MSSI purports to produce high impact publications, post-grad research and public debate – although the only debates there are among green-leftists. MSSI has staff exchanges with Germany’s far-left Potsdam Climate Impact Institute, which has helped lure Germany into a crippling energy shortage.

Check out MSSI’s “diverse and vibrant advisory board of experts, leaders and champions of sustainability.” Chair is Melbourne’s deputy mayor Arron Wood, a graduate of the Climate Leadership program run by globe-trotting, CO2-belching Al Gore. Other members include John Bradley, State Environment Department head and previously CEO of power distributor Energy Networks; and various green group leaders like Katerina Gaita, CEO of “Climate for Change”. She’s a fellow Al Gore graduate and daughter of Romulus My Father author Raimond Gaita with whom she shared the jolliest green family chinwags at the Wheeler Centre

The MSSI board, apart from some vested interests, also bulges with corporate high-flyers of the capitalist imperium targeted for destruction by MSSI. These barons and duchesses of a dying order include Rosemary Bissett, sustainability head of National Australia Bank; Gerard Brown, corporate affairs head of ANZ Bank; and Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, strategy manager at Bank Australia. She boasts of leading the campaign to replace Hazelwood power station and stopping another Victorian coal-fired power project going ahead, plus there was her role in the women-in-climate change seminar. Then there’s Adam Fennessy, EY consultancies’ government strategy partner and ex-head of Victoria’s Environment Department. No green lobby would be replete without big emitter Qantas, and MSSI has Megan Flynn, listed as Qantas group environment and carbon strategy manager.[3] Sadly for Qantas, Gleeson’s post-capitalist and climate-friendly world will be a no-fly zone.

Last week Melbourne University’s council and its academics combined to put out an improved free speech policy, not before time as the Institute of Public Affairs audit last year cited some nasty incidents:

Conservative students launched a membership drive and a posse of Melbourne University academics cried ‘Racists!’ and had the conservative students thrown off campus. Former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella was shouted down and physically confronted during a guest lecture at the University of Melbourne.

The Gleeson-Alexander “array of revolutionary reforms” includes a scenario “to create (or re-create) a ‘free press’” (p194-5). I hope they don’t have a tax or fee-financed bunyip version of Pravda in mind.

Associate Professor (climate politics) Peter Christoff is a long-time MSSI executive committee member. He’s publicly called for legislation imposing “substantial fines” and “bans” to silence conservative commentators of the Andrew Bolt/Alan Jones ilk. This was a contrast to last week’s university policy to promote “critical and free enquiry, informed intellectual discourse and public debate within the University and in the wider society”. Christoff was addressing a 2012 university seminar aptly titled Law vs Desire: Will Force or Obedience Save the Planet? His draconian sanctions were, as per my transcribing from 20 minutes in,

based on the fact that unchecked climate denialism over time would cause loss of freedom and rights, the death of thousands of humans, the loss of entire cultures, effectively genocide , extinctions…

The legislation to be contemplated might be roughly framed around things like Holocaust Denial legislation which already exists in 17 countries, focused on the criminalisation of those who public condone, deny or trivialise crimes of genocide or crimes against humanity…

“The [fifth] objection [to his proposal] is that this is simply unworkable, inquisitorial, having the perverse effect of increased attraction to banned ideas and their martyrs. It will depend on the application of such law. If it is selective and well focused, with substantial fines and perhaps bans on certain broadcasters and individuals whom I will not name, who stray from the dominant science without any defensible cause, it would have a disciplinary effect on public debate. There still would be plenty of room for peer reviewed scientific revisionism and public debate around it, but the trivial confusion that is being deliberately generated would be done away with, and that is a very important thing at the moment.

His proposal was heard with equanimity by the panel comprising Professor Helen Sullivan, Director of the University’s Centre for Public Policy (introducer); MSSI’s Professor Robyn Eckersley; activist Dave Kerin and Professor of Rhetoric Marianne Constable (University California, Berkeley). The young audience showed no negative reaction. Compere was the university’s Dr Juliet Rogers, now a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. (Her Melbourne Law School PhD was on ‘Fantasies of Female Circumcision: Flesh, Law and Freedom Through Psychoanalysis’).

Professor Sullivan, summing up at 1.54.20, says Christoff’s contribution is useful

“just about how you might start to use the law and possibility of the law, to generate a sense of resistance and generate people out of a passivity. I would not want to think Peter’s contribution was off the point; it is ‘in there’ and may be part of the mix and something we need to be thinking about.”

One of three comments on the youtube seminar page reads: “A highly distinguished, diverse group of intelligent human beings openly discussing hard topics to help humanity navigate our way through these hard times with a sense of justice, democracy and reason.” Another begs to differ: “Just listened here to a group of academic Eco-[authoritarians] who all are embracing the biggest scientific swindle of all time. Fascinating insight into lunatics.”

Christoff and Eckersley in 2014 co-wrote a chapter in the Christoff-edited book “Four Degrees of Global Warming, Australia in a Hot World”.[6] They reached the following “Conclusion” (p201):

 The American political scientist Chalmers Johnston called 9/11 and the continuing War on Terror ‘blowback’, caused by United States’ imperial foreign and defence policies from the 1950s to the start of the century. If we do realise a Four Degree World…we will have cause to call the results for Australia ‘climate’ blowback or ‘carbon’ blowback.

It seems disrespectful to 3000 murdered Americans to suggest that the attack was America’s fault, or “blowback”.

Here’s more Gleeson/Alexander book extracts, free speech indeed (Trigger warning for snowflakes):

# “A massive, disruptive adjustment to the human world is inevitable. The next world is already dawning. Humanity will surely survive to see it…capitalism will not…it will collapse under the weight of its internal contradictions. (15)

# Their recipe for suburban reform is for “radicals and progressives – indeed all who experience a sense of care and responsibility for viable human futures – to loudly indict a dying but still lethal capitalism for its crimes against human and natural prospects.” (204)

# Eco-warrior David Holmgren, writing in the book’s Foreword: “The global economy is a Ponzi scheme of fake wealth that will inevitably follow the trajectory of previous bubbles in the history of capitalism – but this time, the tightening grip of resource depletion and other limits will make this boom cycle the final one for global capitalism.’ Holmgren says he found the Mad Max movie the “primary intellectual reference point” about the energy-scarce future. (vi)

The co-authors argue that we should not “callously close borders”, as we need to take in not just (so far mythical) climate refugees but invite the world’s poor in general for reasons of “solidarity and compassion”.

“We must oppose the tide of scapegoat racism that seems to be driving the wave of populist nationalism that today calls for the closing of borders at a time when we must be opening our hearts” (18-19).

Concurrently, somehow, the state should enforce constantly reducing resource availability, such as 3 per cent a year, to ensure degrowth plus justice and sustainability (184).

They quote Slavoj Zizek, their oft-cited Slovenian philosopher, describing the capitalist economy as “a beast that can not be controlled”. It must, however, be brought to heel before it propels humanity, and all we presume to govern, into the abyss, they add (9). Zizek is a particularly odd fish.[7]

Their war-cry: “We should raise an infernal racket about the narcosis that has settled in the dying hours of capitalism. Sleepers awake! We have the right to imagine and create a more enlightened world. To work…in the suburbs, now.” (205-6)

Back in the real world, bike and vegetable-friendly co-author Alexander, who lives gas-free, says he has draped his home with solar panels to  produce six times more electricity than he draws from the grid (1kWh per person per day). His annual bill is zero. “None of this has required wearing hairshirts of living in a cave without lights,” he says (120), overlooking how much his free electricity is subsidized by taxpayers, renters and non-solar householders.

Maybe the authors will win the 2020 economics Nobel with their proposal for suburban currencies.[8] Puckle Street forex traders ought to give my Flemington dollars a good rate against their Moonee Ponds buck.

I’ve visited some nice universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Chicago, Bologna and Padua. But maybe tourists should give Melbourne University’s Sustainability Institute a miss — unless, like visitors to Hogarth’s Bedlam, they enjoy observing lunatics going about their strange business.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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