Monday, November 17, 2014
In which the pond puts the G20 to rest, and begins the march to Paris ... in company with the denailist dunderheads clutching at their coal for coal comfort ...
(Above: and more Petty here)
So what was all the fuss about?
Well in the run up to the event, the Currish Flail made a spectacle of itself by featuring ferals and apocalyptic fascist imagery, and Russian ships bearing down on Brisbane, and sundry other stupidities. Those searing surreal images hang uncorrected in the air like the smell from an outback dunny ...
In the case of Abbott, the bold talk of shirt-fronting dissolved in a bout of koala cuddles. There might have been a few Ukraine protestors who wondered where that Abbott went, but he went missing after APEC ...
How silly and discordant did the coverage of this matter get? Well David Crowe came up with a lulu this very morning:
And worse, the desperate comrade koala didn't even do his duty. Do they make koalas go before wheeling them out these days? Don't get the pond started on koalas, urinating drug fiends that they are ...
In the matter of climate change, the commentariat solemnly scribbled how the US-China deal was a non-event and solemnly explained how it faced enormous difficulties, then promptly turned about and explained how 2.1% was engraved in stone, or perhaps growth gold, and that the world could live in hope ... as if the same difficulties and hesitancies they gloated about in the US-China deal would be waived away by a magic wand, when it came to world growth, and never mind the quality and sustainability of the growth ...
Abbott confirmed yet again that he was a lightweight - a man with an introductory speech so bemusing that even the hagiographers were bemused - and then it was left to that other lightweight Joe Hockey to attempt to mop up the consequences of climate change stances presented with all the gravity, depth and nuance of three word slogans. Poor Joe. Revealed as a flake, and so early in his career. Who'd have thought anyone could make Wayne Swan seem like a treasurer of substance?
Now the rest of the week will be spent with others scurrying from their bunk holes to explain how Australia is up with the rest of the world in the matter of responding to climate change, and how we have the very best policies for this grave matter, except - nudge, nudge, wink wink - it's not that grave, not really...
In short, it's pretty much business as usual, with the exceptional weather the gravy on the roast, seeing as how denialists just love climate change meetings that take place in unusually heavy snow storms... even these cocooned politicians must have noticed the heat, coming as it does as a furnace blast when you step out of the air-conditioning ...
So how did the morons at the Currish Snail see the proceedings this morning?
Yes, Tony Abbott bravely standing up to the Kenyan socialist and giving him what for about climate change, and so on and so forth, as if Obama was the only one to note the delusional aspects of Abbott's policy stance:
Yes, the Murdoch tabloids did their very best to present a defiant Abbott thumbing his nose to the world, as if being a dumbfuck bogan was some sort of clever policy position:
And never mind that the cowardly, graceless Abbott waited until Obama had left the country to produce a petulant bit of payback.
But that's as fair as the Murdoch crazies could go, in the tabloid-lite arena. In the world of the reptiles, faces were grim, the extent of the humiliation gravely noted - some had already been consternated by Abbott moaning and whingeing about a seven buck co-payment to a president facing a Republican congress - and then there was the shirt-fronting:
What to do? What to do? Not the old blindside, worse than the shirtfront?
Why you send in the hagiographic clown:
Well it might be fair to say that ... unless you happened to read the bouffant one explaining how Abbott's opening remarks were curiously unstylish, or you happened to note almost any other coverage outside Murdoch la la land, like:
The adolescent country. The bit player. The shrimp of the schoolyard.
For Australians it's not so bad - most of the time - to be so far away, so overlooked, so seemingly insignificant as to almost never factor in major international news. The lifestyle makes up for it.
But occasionally, there's an awkward, pimply youth moment so embarrassing that it does sting.
Like when 19 of the world's most important leaders visit for a global summit and Prime Minister Tony Abbott opens their retreat on Saturday with a whinge about his doomed efforts to get his fellow Australians to pay $7 to see a doctor.
And then he throws in a boast that his government repealed the country's carbon tax, standing out among Western nations as the one willing to reverse progress on climate change - just days after the United States and China reached a landmark climate change deal.
The Group of 20 summit could have been Australia's moment, signalling its arrival as a global player, some here argued. But in all, the summit had Australians cringing more than cheering.
On and on Robyn Dixon went, doing a fair imitation of Donald Horne:
In the lead-up to the G20 summit, the conservative Abbott insisted climate change would not be on the agenda, only to be wrong-footed by the US-China climate change deal and President Barack Obama's pledge to contribute $3 billion to a fund to help developing countries deal with the effects of global warming.
"Australia has a choice," said analyst Michael Fullilove, director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, a Sydney-based think tank, in a recent article, noting the country's shrinking diplomatic corps and military. "Do we want to be a little nation, with a small population, a restricted diplomatic network, a modest defence force, and a cramped vision of our future? Or do we want to be larger: a big, confident country with the ability to influence the balance of power in Asia, a constructive public debate, and a foreign policy that is both ambitious and coherent?"
And she wrapped it up with this jibe:
Don Watson, a speechwriter for Labor's former prime minister Paul Keating, said recently that great speeches took words and ideas seriously.
"Funnily enough, not many in politics do anymore" in Australia, he said. "I mean, the main objective, one would think from listening to politicians now is to try to remove the meaning from words, to make them as anodyne and dull as possible, not to generate human interest but to squash it."
Which is grotesquely unfair. Whatever you might call it, you can hardly call the braying of a donkey, the honking of a goose, anodyne and dull ...
What to do?
Well in case of emergencies, the reptiles will always break the glass, and reach for the dullest, thickest axe they can find, and so it was today. Where it might have been interesting to focus on the prospects and the realities of the promises of global growth, the assurances that events like 2008 would never be repeated, and that in the future too big to fail banks would be allowed to fail (and no doubt the American auto industry could be allowed to go down the tube), what was needed was saucy doubts and fears:
Yes, it's business as usual for denialist Newman and denialist reptile rag of Oz.
You could, of course, have run with a splash saying "The 2.1% growth above business as usual promise is a tall order for the US given the way its growth curve has been a bit like the progress of a drunken sailor":
While it's business as usual for China:
So just how stupid does Newman, always ineffably stupid, manage to sound?
Well the pond liked this one:
That’s a big call, but while Obama believes in more bureaucrats, regulators and social engineers, China is focused on smaller government and economic growth.
Smaller government? Does that exclude the government apparatus that spies on every citizen in the land, the military with many fingers in many economic pies (and many boltholes, not least in Australia), and a one party apparatus that rewards loyalty with plum government jobs?
Then came this:
Of course anyone who has visited China will know it really does suffer from carbon pollution. You can see it. This is not to be confused with CO2 which is colourless and not a pollutant. Rapid industrialisation and economic growth have has been the abiding priority, but now, given the prevalence of serious respiratory disease, measures are being taken to clean up the air. But this has nothing to do with Obama’s initiative. China had already committed to shifting 20 per cent of its energy production to non-fossil fuels. This means more nuclear power and replacing dirty coal-fired generators with modern, cleaner plants. Renewables will be around 3 per cent of the mix. Deng Xiaoping famously said, “Whether a cat is black or white makes no difference. So long as it catches the mouse it’s a good cat.”
Yes it's that old riff, about carbon dioxide being colourless and weightless and happily living in coca-cola, and you can drink it too, and then came the data: Renewables will be around 3 per cent of the mix.
Say what? So where did Forbes get this from?
China’s continued commitment to renewable energy investment is all the more striking because it came in the face of a global decline in renewable energy investment. In 2013, global new investment in renewable power and fuels was approximately $214.4 billion, down 14 percent compared to 2012, and 23 percent lower than the record high in 2011. By way of contrast, China has increased its investment in renewables nearly every year for the past ten years. New renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity in China for the first time in 2013. China is now home to about 24 percent of the world’s renewable power capacity, including an estimated 260 gigawatts of hydropower.
China’s renewable energy investment is part of its 12th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development, which calls for the country to spend $473.1 billion on clean energy investments from 2011 to 2015. China’s goal is to have 20 percent of its total energy demand sourced from renewable energy by 2020. The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China’s interior provides an example of the steps China is taking to develop clean energy.
Well you can read about Ningxia, here, if you like, but you might wonder how 20% is the same as 3%. Especially as Newman spends much of his piece explaining how clever and devious and what good poker players the Chinese are, and how dumb Obama is, which makes the pond wonder, if Obama's so dumb, where does that leave Newman?
Are the Chinese up for 20% and is Newman a statistical dunderhead? You might also wonder where Bloomberg got this graph from:
Some cat, some mouse. (more here)
Well it wouldn't be Maurice without a particularly fatuous farewell, so here it is:
At home, the Labor Party, the Greens, the media and academics herald this non-deal as a triumph. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the agreement was “historic and ambitious” and claimed, “At the G20 this week Australia will hold the embarrassing title of being the only nation going backwards on climate change.”
Really? Rather the Abbott government is displaying real leadership, insight and backbone in calling this agreement what it is — one that neither signatory will honour.
We are left with the impression that it is not only President Obama who would fare poorly in a game of poker with the Chinese. Maurice Newman is chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council. These views are his own.
Really? Maurice's climate denialist, coal loving views are his own?
Really? After the blind-siding, Abbott's some sort of backboned visionary leader?
What else? Well that equally fatuous fop, Greg Hunt turned up this morning and had a little showdown with the badly briefed and inept Fran Kelly on RN.
Hunt accused Kelly of misquoting WA Premier Barnett on the matter of coal, and climate change, and on the need to do better. It was a first class feat of denialism, but then Hunt is skilled at the art, since he hones it each day picking up after his fearless leader.
Well for the record - how good it would have been for Kelly to have it to hand and quote it to Hunt - here's what's reported to have been said:
Mr Barnett was in the audience to hear Mr Obama's speech to University of Queensland students on Saturday, a talk that embarrassed Mr Abbott's determination to keep climate change off the G20 agenda.
The Premier said he was struck by the way the Mr Obama connected with the students.
"Obama appealed to those young people and their applause gave me a message that the younger generation is looking for more to be done on climate change - and I'll tell you that chatting to a couple of politicians leaving afterwards, they had a similar view," Mr Barnett said.
The Premier put himself further at odds with Mr Abbott, saying that Australia needed to wean itself off coal-fired power.
"While it's a bit of a West Australian view, for me the most effective thing that Australia can do is to ensure that more of our new power generation is at least gas-fired and not coal," he said.
"That's not popular on the east coast but it's a costless and simple way to reduce emissions to have a power generation system in the future across Australia which is based on natural gas." (and the rest here).
No wonder Hunt sounded defensive and wanted to deny what Barnett said ... the coalition government is now on a hiding to nothing all the way to Paris, and watching them dance on hot coals is going to be a particular delight ... right up there with cringing through the G20 ...
Unless of course, like Rowe, you find a deep vein of humour in toiletry matters (and more Rowe here):
Posted by dorothy parker at 11/17/2014 08:14:00 AM