The talk at "Sydney Ideas"
"CLIVE HAMILTON, Professor of
Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics,
Charles Sturt University."
OK. So the guy is a philosopher. At a recently converted
CAE. We can't really expect him to know anything rigorous in or
about science, except what he's been told by whoever he chose to
ask. He was planning to talk about something called
system .. .to moderate global warming".
Law school Auditorium 101 at Sydney University. Introduction by a
lawyer staff member who divulged that
Sydney Uni Law Faculty were considering offers for doing research on
Geoengineering with various US universities.
Clive was an engaging speaker. After all, he wants to sell you
his book (autographed) for $24.99 "at the venue".
Clive had a few de rigueur
classical references. Edvard Munch's "Scream", Mrs. Mary Bysshe
Shelley & Frankenstein.
Clive showed lots of diagrams showing that the world might warm by as
much as 5C
by 2050, and cited a (was it UN?) projection that the world would not
be able to
feed everyone. That fact impressed me no end. The ABC had
broadcast an ABARE projection to my car radio on the way to the talk
food prices might rise as much as 10% by 2050. (That was the best
case for farmers. In the worst case, food got cheaper, farmers
earned less). I
am afraid that after the numerous IPCC and UNFCCC fiascos, (see here for my
2007 critique) the
UN has got no credibility whatsoever on climate change projections with
He described the various methods of geoengineering. Solar mirrors
(a pet love of mine), that would vary the sunlight falling to
Earth. The piece de resistance
was sulphates injection into the stratosphere. (a la volcanism). Not being a
scientific person, he could not really comment on whether the
technology would work. But he could show a fancy artist's
projection of what would happen if it went wrong.
Then he got into the ad hominem
stuff. One of the scientists who proposed this solution was used
as a model for "Dr Strangelove " of Peter Sellers fame. Another
proposer was called "Dr. Death" (I forget that reference). They
had all allegedly previously worked at the highly prestigious
Laboratory, "where the Atomic Bomb and other bad
things were developed". That establishment is operated by the US
government, and is one of the foremost "hard science" (as opposed to ad
hoc science) in the world. And these scientists were financed by
"Bill Gates and
other billionaires" who were (it was implied) clearly were out to
benefit only themselves,
not the world.
Conclusion. So far as I know, we still do not know that a 4C rise
will do more harm
than good to the planet. Among the casualties.
Mediterranean climates (Freemantle, Melbourne, the Mediterranean
countries, mid-California) may have reduced rainfall. The oceans
might become warmer and more acidic, and fish stocks in the oceans
might decline. Among the benefits, most of the world's deserts
(Sahara, most of north Australia, South African, Saudi/Jordan) could
well have increased rainfall, and the Tundras (Canada, Siberia, Alaska,
Patagonia) would probably become productive farmland as they warmed
up. As Carbon Dioxide is a fertilizer, crop yields can be
expected to rise.
But (we were told) a 4C fall would bring on an ice
But if on balance the casualties outweigh the benefits, if we do decide
to cool the planet, Sulphur compounds
may well be the answer!
I have had occasion before (East Timor invasion) to complain about the
advice given by foreign affairs mandarins to their minister. Fiji
is another case in point. Fiji has a racial problem. The
indiginous Fijians did not want to work for the British conquerors, so
the British migrated an Indian workforce. By the time of
independence, the native Fijians were reduced to about 55% of the
population. This caused trouble, because the Indian Fijians were
more engaged with politics. To rectify the situation where native
Fijians felt dispossessed, Bainimarama took over in a military coup in
2006. Since then he has attempted to restore a democracy that
will preserve the rights of ethnic Fijians,
For some reason, the mandarins in Canberra consider the West Pacific
islands (and Timor Leste) is considered Australia and NZ back
yard. And they object strongly to Bainimarama's coup and guided
democracy. Ignore the fact that Malaysia is guilty of far
worse. We are applying sanctions of all types to Fiji.
The latest is a charge of TORTURE!!! with supporting
video footage. Must I mention all of our own
transgressions? Starting with Palm Island?
Perhaps we should send our own police over to advise the Fijians.
Lesson one our police should instruct is: "try to kill the suspect
while carrying out the arrest." (Like that poor Brazilian in King's
Cross, and all the other, similar "legal homicides" we read about).
Lesson two our police should instruct is:
"execute the arrested person and any witnesses before a magistrate can
enquire into police torture/brutality/murders." (But this time, do it
If the Fijian police follow these lessons, I feel sure our Foreign
Affairs mandarins will heve less damaging advice for their minister
Julia Gillard (JG), Australia's Prime Minister is up to her
Machiavellian tricks again.
In an attempt to take our minds off boat people, she had (allowed?)
minister Connor propose draconian legislative powers over the
media. Her minority partners (independents, Greenies) would not
be in that, so she had Connor withdraw that proposed legislation.
Before that news had hit the press, another close ally of JG
(Simon Crean (SC)) intruded into the narrative by asking
Julia for a spill, and proposed JG's nemesis and past PM Kevin Rudd as
new PM. He apparently omitted to obtain Rudd's confirmation that
he would stand, and SC vehemently denies that Rudd messaged him that he
would not stand. He did say that he would be voting (by secret
ballot) for Rudd.
This looks very much like a replay of the last challenge to JG.
As then, JG proposed a pre-emptive (4 hours) spill.
This time Kevin Rudd refused the invitation to contest the
spill. (He is learning fast?) He cited a need for
The media is wising up. Crean has become very
defensive. I am rather cynical of SC's motives. He is not a
spot on his dad.
I was asked for advice on whether to put a greater proportion of salary
into a superannuation fund. By paying in about $500, the asker
would (through taxation rebates) lose only $250 of pocketed pay.
That fund savings would be accessible (after
investment) in another 35-50 years. (I fully expect the
retirement pension age to rise to 80+ over the next few decades.)
After investigation, this is my
Money is an extremely complicated concept. When we speak of
money, we really mean "value".
Money isn't gold, although gold
was synonymous with money/value for a long time. Money isn't
paper notes that can be inflated or deflated at a politician's
whim. Some people define
money/value as labour. i.e. What will the current exchange medium
purchase in terms of service. Even that is not adequate, because
legislatively enforced labour laws can distort service costs, as can
the country where those
services are to be purchased.
Money/value over time is even more problematic. Keeping in mind
that availability of services (supply-v-demand) determines the cost of
value of saved money in the purchase of services is reduced if the
population of workers shrinks. So the amount of money might
double, ($1000 becomes
$2,000) but the cost of services might quadruple or worse (what did
cost $1000 might now cost $4000-$8000).
Currently, Australia is riding a resources boom. Historically,
will end. Then our government can be relied upon to seek
innovative solutions for revenue raising to pay for the cost of
government. (aka paying their own salaries and pensions).
The "Cyprus solution" springs to
mind. The potential for government regulation of your savings
adds further hazards to the amount of money that is
irrevocably deposited into a superannuation fund.
All of which begs the question. What should be done to prepare
for retirement? Personally, I think that actually holding saved
cash or equivalent (in a deflationary period) or owning real estate
periods) is the best option. Both have their own dangers, but
both are safer and potentially cheaper than your friendly
superannuation adviser (who only
takes 1% to 2% of your superannuation capital each year! See
3. Work that out over 35-50 years, compounded!)
The option of switching funds is not of real benefit, because you must
keep in touch with the economy to know what to do. Just as you
would if you self managed your own money.
So my advice. Don't trust any super fund (except that one that
the politicians designed for themselves).