The Bullroarer - Friday 9th April 2010

SMH - When size does matter

Kevin Rudd is a big Australia man. We know this because the Prime Minister told us so in October last year, unequivocally, free of his normal rhetorical dead weight: ''I actually believe in a big Australia,'' he said. ''I make no apology for that.''

Last October, the number of unlawful boat arrivals since the change of government stood at 36. Malcolm Turnbull was still trying to impose his small ''l'' Liberal values on a riven opposition - but the plotters from the conservative wing were poised to assassinate him. Rudd had nailed his colours to the mast in response to new work from Treasury that showed Australia's population would likely top 35 million by 2050.

Fast forward to the Easter weekend 2010. Now, more than 100 boats have arrived with 4000 asylum seekers; another arrived at Ashmore Reef as your columnist ordered her thoughts for this piece. Tony Abbott is now Opposition Leader and the overarching political strategy has been go negative, go hard, go often.

Voxy - Climate Action A Chance To Boost Child Health

Wellington, April 9 NZPA - Auckland University child health researchers are calling for action by health professionals over the risks they say climate change poses to the wellbeing of children.

They will shortly publish in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health a report on the climate change implications for child health in Australasia.

Climate change was the greatest health threat of the century, but responses could be tailored to help produce healthier people in a more equal society and more sustainable economy, the researchers said.

The Australian - China demand drives gold stocks

GOLD is not the only story worth reconsidering.

A paper just published in the British journal Energy Policy has revived the peak-oil issue. Research by a group of Oxford scientists suggests the world's oil reserves have been exaggerated by one-third, and the expected oil left remaining to be extracted should be downgraded from its present band of between 1150 billion and 1350 billion barrels, to something between 850 billion and 900 billion barrels.

David King, the British government's former chief scientist and now head of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, which put together the report, says demand may outstrip supply as soon as 2014. Sir David warns of shortages and price spikes within a few years, and says he is very worried that Western governments are not taking seriously the question of peak oil.

The Australian - Divided Aborigines in vital vote over $30bn gas plant plan

A BITTER split among Kimberley Aborigines over Woodside Petroleum's plan to build a $30 billion gas plant will come to a head today when native title claimants decide whether to oust opponents of the project from their claim group. - Calls to delay ETS get cool response

The economy is too fragile to handle the extra $255 million a year the emissions trading scheme will cost and the scheme should be delayed or ditched, business groups say.

TV NZ - Major economies to advance climate talks

The United States will host a meeting of major economies on April 18-19 in Washington to advance talks on a global deal to fight climate change, the top US climate negotiator said on Thursday.

ABC - Oil pumped from grounded coal ship

Salvagers have pumped almost 40 tonnes of oil from a coal carrier grounded on the Great Barrier Reef off central Queensland.

ABC - Oil wells fail company's own safety standards

The company that owns the oil well that leaked into the Timor Sea last year says none of the other wells it owns in the oil field comply with its own safety standards.

SMH - Oil trending higher

The movement of NYMEX oil has been for a long time constrained by strong historical support and resistance levels.

However, beginning mid-2009 these historical support and resistance levels became less useful in understanding the behavior of the oil chart. This change in pattern was not confirmed until late 2009, and early 2010.

The pattern of rally and retreat has developed a new behavioral pattern that continues to point the way to higher prices.

ABC - Coal mine to work with community on plan

The proponent of a coal mine at Colton, north of Maryborough, says it wants to work with the community on a proposal submitted to the Queensland Government.

UQ News - Climate science goes super at UQ

UQ's newly established Global Change Institute has received $1.4 million in ARC funding to attract the best young minds to tackle climate change.

The funding is part of the Australian Government's $27.2 million Super Science Fellowships scheme aimed at attracting and retaining outstanding early-career researchers in three key areas: space science and astronomy; marine and climate sciences; and future industries research—biotechnology and nanotechnology.

SMH - Where is the fuss over the UN climate talks?

Today, one of the most important meetings in our history begins, though you probably wouldn't know it.

The 2010 UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, won't make the front page of the newspaper, and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd won't attend. Since Copenhagen in December, the media, politicians and public have shifted their attention from climate change to other things. Dinner-table chatter now focuses on health reform, population growth or Tony Abbott's abs

Where has climate change gone? As Peter Costello aptly put it in an article for the National Times last week: "Can a momentous moral challenge fizzle out like this?"

"When size does matter" - At least we are starting to have some semblance of a debate on population and related issues.
The semblance - Rudd is running scared and is trying to deflect and obfuscate the issue by using Tony Burke as the fall guy and trotting out the old chestnut,health funding.
Abbott can't make up his mind,being torn between loyalty(and debt)to big business and developers and the need to produce some winning policies for the upcoming election.
The Greens scream when illegal immigrants get even the slightest knock but virtually ignore the biggest environmental catastrophe of all - population overshoot.

Meanwhile,back at the ranch - we continue our insane immigration levels,we continue burning megatons of filthy coal in our power stations when we should be building nuclear plants,we continue mining our precious soils,we continue destroying bushland when we should be planting trees en masse on our degraded pastoral and agricultural land,we continue quarrying Australia regardless of the future,we continue to degrade our inland rivers by over extraction of water ----- and so on.

To quote a contibutor to Drumbeat - "Strange species,Homo saps - I wonder if they will be missed".

I agree - we need a discourse on the population issue. Unfortunately the discourse is going to be framed by politicians :-(

The Herd is fascinated by each other's bottoms.
The TV channels cater to the lowest common denominator.
It is fashionable to be ignorant.
The de facto aristocracy lends it's support.

I wonder when the Herd's survival instinct will kick in and they stampede.
Sh..Lest you spook them.

To aeldric and others who are concerned about this issue - we still have some semblance of a democratic and civil society and it is up to the citizens to frame the issues when push comes to shove - use it or lose it.

The following organizations and individuals are a good starting point to get active -

Sustainable Population Australia -

Kelvin Thomson,MHR for Wills (ALP) -

Stable Population Party Australia -

The latter is a new start up by businessman William Burke (convenor) and others.They are presently engaged in signing up the minimum 500 members to get registration as a political party.They intend to field candidates in the coming federal election.

In this current situation where the combined forces of BAU are standing in the way of the change we must have in order to survive as a viable nation then every little bit helps.

On reading the article 'Size does matter' I could feel my blood pressure rising at the characteristic willful flippant ignorance of the journalist.

One of the SMH readers comments which I quote below expresses my reaction remarkably accurately:

" Ms Murphy - What A load of crock.
Firstly the figure of 35 million was made by business for business and has no basis for any sustainability credentials - be it energy, environment, food and water or infrastructure.
In 1994 the senate committee on population made a recommendation that was bipartisan and chaired by Barry Jones and recommended a population figure of around 20 million.
This was even before climate change or peak oil was on the radar.
Two-thirds of our growing population come from skilled immigration - now about 300,000. refugees account for only 13-15,000 plus a family intake. It is very possible to slash skilled migrant intake and even increase refugee intake and tackle head on with our growing population in a couple of decisions.
The Howard and Rudd governments chose not to have had a discussion with the Australian people [but it did have one with business] and now people can't afford a house OR they can buy one in the middle of no-where and strain our infrastructure even more OR buy at astronomical prices and be in a new type of servitude by the banking community - this was created by our government not asking and planning OUR future.
We the public have been kept in the dark for too long but now we see the light - business interests control government policy - this has to change and whats at stake is the entire health of the Australian continent.
mark | fitzroy - April 07, 2010, 8:55AM "

Re the Chinese coal carrier which ran aground in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park at full speed and many kilometres off course in a channel well known for rat runners - This is a case study in government inaction even after receiving warnings about the problem for many years.

Compulsory pilotage to get dozy ship's crews well clear of the reef would no doubt cost shipping companies and possibly their mining company clients a whole lot of money.

We couldn't have that could we,seeing as how Growth At Any Cost is the religion of our leadership.
Like all religions it is based on a fundamental disconnect from reality and wishful thinking.

There seems to be an assumption that this ship(wreck) is going to be easy to remove fron it's current resting place.I hope that is the case but it will not be an easy operation and may not be successsful - What then?

I'm worried that unless we keep the flow of immigration up, our property prices will crash...

Good. I just got my new Property Valuation (along with most Queenslanders). An extra $50,000! FSM only know what my Council Rates will be next year!

Paul Syvret is PO Aware: Oil crunch by 2012, say military experts. Thus'll be my fourth Letter to the Editor of TCM in a week.