February 25, 2013 | Graham

Well-watered public goods

The joke jumps into my mind because it is raining felines and canines outside, and a friend has asked me to publicise his crowd-funding masterclass.

Q. Who was the greatest financier of all time?

A. Noah, because he floated alone while all the rest of the world was in liquidation. Boom boom!

Well, I like it anyway, and post GFC, raising funds for anything has been a bit difficult, and what with the weather, it just seemed to hit the spot.

As might crowd-funding for your next project.

Tom Dawkins of StartSomeGood is running the masterclass, and you can book here http://crowdfundbrisbane.eventbrite.com/#

It could be worth going along. While StartSomeGood seems to specialise in raising amounts in the thousands,  there are many ambitious projects around, such as this attempt by economist Steve Keen, to crowd-fund the development of a new economic model – he is looking for $1,000,000, and as of today has raised $53,373 of his first target of $50,000.

Posted by Graham at 8:34 pm | Comments (1) |
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February 24, 2013 | Graham

Global warming boosts rainfall

It seems like it never stops raining in summer in Queensland these days. Hard to believe that only a couple of years ago we were worrying that our dams would never be full again. Something to thank global warming for, or is it?

It’s been some years since I looked at any rainfall charts, but I did again yesterday and was startled to find that since the 1940s, when the IPCC believes that CO2 became significant as a forcing, there has been quite a substantial increase in Australian rainfall.




How did the “experts” get it so wrong? Well there are a couple of explanations. One is that the average (I have overlaid a 15 year running average on the data courtesy of the BOM) looked like it was trending down or flattening out for a while, and is  trending up again now because of a couple of exceptional years (of which there have been more since the 70s, than before).

The other is that they claimed that the increase in rain was only occurring in the northern half of Australia.

This too is now obviously wrong as this graph for rainfall in Southern Australia shows.



It’s not as dramatic, but the increase in rainfall since CO2 became significant is inarguable.

The only place where rainfall is declining is south western Australia, although the decline predates the 40s.


I was prompted to write this post by the daughter of a friend who confidently assured me that global warming was causing more droughts, and this was a double problem because the world also faced huge population pressures.

When presented with the empirical evidence that, at least in Australia, this was wrong, I was told that “Ms P (her teacher) had done a lot of study in this area, so must be right…” and that she didn’t want to be confused for her exam and lose marks.

I note that Julia Gillard has launched a back to basics reading blitz campaign in schools. All well and good, but the problem lies a lot deeper than that. While teachers like Ms P remain inured to the facts and demand adherence to orthodoxy, rather than intellectual exploration, as the price for passing exams, Australia’s education system is going to continue to lurch down the education league tables.

Ms P has also set an assignment task – to compare the severity of the problems that global warming brings. On the evidence above it would be more appropriate to tally up the costs and the benefits. A wetter Australia can’t be a bad thing.

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February 08, 2013 | Ronda Jambe

Are NASA and NOAA fixing the data on climate change?

If they are, we are all truly ruined.

But I don’t think they are distorting the data. Where then is the evidence to support the position some have taken in comments here that global temperatures have fallen?

One simpleton even has used childhood memories of beach sand extent as ‘evidence’ of a sea level drop. Try to replicate that in a double blind experiment.

I invite the remaining obdurate sceptics to examine these posts to science news, and identify where the deceit, lies, and ungodly purchasing of scientific opinion can be found. Unlike the sporting world, scientists are less inclined to take performance enhancing (or psychedelic substances)

2012 Global Temperatures 10th Highest on Record

2012 Sustained Long-Term Climate Warming Trend, NASA Finds

Perhaps it would be wiser to follow the money, and see who gains the most from fossil fuel exports.

Opps! that would be our own government, which has opened the Tarkine wilderness in Tassie for mining, and looks set to approve the colossal Carmichael coal mine in north Queensland.

Since internal contradictions are themselves beautifully non-linear, our own government funded media warns us that even our daily bread is threatened by climate change, but then I’m mad as a cut snake and can’t get past the suicidal stupidity of not acting while we can. And I’m many times less gracious than Al Gore in trying to get the points across:

Climate change threatens food security

Maybe I’ll sign up for that bread-making workshop at Moruya after all.


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February 05, 2013 | Ronda Jambe

A different dialogue on climate change

This morning the ABC Radio National was talking to someone from local councils in Queensland. I only heard the end of it, but he was making the case for longer term approaches to the problems created by severe weather events. He said Queensland (or his part of it) has had 4 severe events in 4 years, and that it is not sensible to just rebuild in the same places over and over (Isn’t that what a head banger would do?)

He also said that federal funds don’t cover recreational facilities. As I enjoyed the beach facilities at Moruya, admiring the barbeque area, the covered pergola, the showers (long since turned off), and the playground, I wondered what Australia would be like if we let these public benefits fall into rack and ruin. Lucky no more?

This discussion on national public radio in the US offers what I consider a more sophisticated view of what is happening and the wider context. But you can judge for yourselves, here is the link and the participants, who I hope you find more credible than me. It covers China and India, economic implications, possible directions. These people don’t all agree, except that non of them have their heads in the sand:


Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University

John Ashton, Former climate change ambassador for the United Kingdom, Co-founder of E3G

Eileen Claussen, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking member, House Energy and Commerce Committee


After that, just to make sure we are all talking the same language, I suggest this report on fuel and energy, in case anyone doubts the economic changes that lie ahead. Interesting, this second report makes no reference to climate change, so there are dots to connect:

this report from a London finance policy group identifies
the inexorable procession of EROEI to the point of global economic


Posted by Ronda Jambe at 12:46 pm | Comments (4) |