Thursday, 28 November 2013

Graincorp Take over rejected

Our treasurer has rejected the take over bid by a US company of Graincorp citing community concerns.

I agree with the reject but for national security reason.


Fracking is only a transitional technology. In the long run, we need renewable energy. Whatever fossil fuel left, we should make good use of them to make renewable energy.

The key problem is that corporations are here for a single purpose - making maximum profit. Many corporations have become too powerful and are not bound by morality. In the pursuit of short term profit, damages to the environment are neglected or ignored. By the time environment damages become evidence, they will be gone or just pay a fine - a cost in making more profit.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Spy and Broken Promise

The following video should have been split into two:

First Spying. The handling of the spying by our government was less than skillful. I just hope they can learn and improve.

"Turn back the boat". No, it does not work that way!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Transgender and homosexuality

The identification of an individual (for their own gender identity) does not affect anyone else except him/herself.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Education - roll backs

Five years of negotiation are going to the drain because the new government wants to give more to the rich and less to the poor!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Are we seeing a new paradigm in solving international conflicts?

I have noticed that in the last few months, there are two successful events of solving international differences through negotiations. The first is the Syria's chemical weapon and the second is the Iran's nuclear program. A unilateral use of force does not solve problems - like the so called war against terrorism. It is more like a terror war. Please, we need more progress in the direction of using negotiations to solve our problems.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Stop and Frisk

Here is an example of how police can abuse such a power.

This clip shows the racism in America.


Profit-focused corporation does not care about the environment. The only purpose is to make money. Government has the moral responsibility to guard the interests of its people, not the corporation. Unfortunately, many democratic governments are corrupted to the core.

Friday, 22 November 2013

How Carbon Trading Can Be a False Solution

As I have put it two posts before, carbon trading is the idea of creating a commercial market for processes which inevitably puts carbon into the atmosphere a mean to responsibly put the same amount of carbon back to a safe storage.

The problem the world is facing is that special interest groups, such as oil producers and coal producers have billions of dollars worth of "goods" underground. They want to make maximum profit - any corporation's only reason of survival. If there is a price on pollution, their "product" can become unattractive in the market place - hence a lower profit.

I am sceptical about letting these profiteers having control of the carbon trading market. False sequestration storage, temporary instead of long term storage of carbon are just possible areas of fraud. However, so far the best method to mobilize humanity is via commercial exchange - a win-win strategy in which the trading partners are equal partners, both sides rewarded by benefits to each other and themselves.

To set the market going, government should set "caps" to the amount of pollution their countries are putting into the atmosphere. These caps should be informed by science. It has been argued that developed countries get to the current position via polluting the atmosphere. It is unfair to deny the same path for the developing countries.

I totally agree.

A possible solution is to allow the developing countries a longer time period to eventually achieve zero carbon emission and then take down the emissions they have made while developed countries are obliged to a faster capping scheme to achieve zero carbon emission and then take down the emission their countries have made.

The first objective is to enforce the Kyoto Protocol. World nations must unite together to force USA to sign onto Kyoto Protocol and obliged to achieve the targets. It is politically difficult but the world needs to, this time, unite together and make that happens. For too long, the USA, with the support of her corporations, has been a bully. It is time the world act together. Citizens of USA, it is time for you to demonstrate your democracy is really a democracy. Tell your government and your corporations that it is about the survival of our grandchildren and hence it is OUR business. Act now!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Loss and Damage

The COP established a work programme in order to consider approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, as part of the Cancun Adaptation Framework. [source]

It is a shame that developed countries are refusing to bear the responsibility of helping the poor to face the climate change issues when these poor countries are suffering as a result of the developed countries' irresponsible actions in the past.

How Carbon Trading May Work

There are natural (e.g. anaerobic decay or bush fire), industrial (e.g. steel manufacturing) and domestic processes (e.g. cooking) which inevitably will emit carbon into the atmosphere. There are also natural processes which remove carbon from the atmosphere. Plants grow by taking carbon dioxide from air, with sunlight and water. By treating the atmosphere as a big storage, as long as we remove as much as we put in, the storage will remain at the same level.

There are two issues here. First, there is already too much carbon in the atmosphere. Second, we need to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere.

If we stop putting carbon in the atmosphere and reduce the natural processes of emitting carbon, nature will help us in reducing the carbon in the atmosphere, albeit very slowly. To address the first, we can "offset" the carbon emitted in our industrial and domestic processes by deliberately putting away additional equivalent amount carbon which we extract from atmosphere either artificially or naturally. To address the second, we need to stop land clearing of forest and prevent bush fire and so on.

To put away carbon from atmosphere, first we need to extract the carbon from atmosphere first. While scientists have been working hard, the best way is still to encourage nature to "additionally" remove carbon. Plant growth is one of such method. However, when plant dies, the decaying process will still emit carbon back to the atmosphere. In order to store carbon away, we can use biochar. By storing carbon (as charcoal) in agricultural land, we have a win-win situation of stable long-term storage as well as increase of land agricultural productivity. Since charcoal originates from plant material, if we grow additional plant and convert the plant material into charcoal and store these biochar in farmland, we offset the carbon emission in the other inevitable industrial and domestic processes.

Since we have one atmosphere. The emission in one place can be offset by plant grown in another area with the net effect of creating no additional carbon in the atmosphere. The question becomes what is the most efficient way of achieving this?

To return to per-industrial level of atmospheric carbon dioxide level, those countries which have contributed to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide should have the moral obligation to take down those carbon which they have emitted. If the world can agree on a quota, we can have a solution. This is politically unlikely. So, let me just put in a case that every country is obliged to a zero-carbon emission at some point in the future. Since the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is from the burning of fossil fuel, we can focus on fossil fuel to start with.

On average we can estimate how much carbon is emitted by measuring the amount of fossil fuels a country consumes. Government can charge a tax (or a price of pollution) on the fossil fuel. The income from the tax can be distributed to the people in the country in an equitable way to offset the inflationary effect of the additional tax. What is that "price" of pollution? Well, that can be determined by a market. Any market consist of buyers and sellers. If a business wants to avoid paying the tax, it can buy offsets. This creates the buyers. People can build business which deliberately put away carbon. These new businesses will become the seller. As long as the tax charged by government is higher than the cost of buying the offset (from where ever in the world), business will minimize the cost by buying the offset. Business will also try to improve their processes in order to minimize the amount of carbon emission in order to remain competitive.

If the government puts an extremely high price to the pollution, there is no doubt many businesses will appear overnight to become the sellers of offset. However, such a measure will be a shock to the economic system. To ease into a trading scheme, government can progressively increase the price at a known rate until a market becomes mature enough to take over. Eventually, polluters should be taxed at a punitive rate and countries should aim at a zero net carbon emission. In the transition phrase, countries should legislate to meet their committed target of reduction as soon as possible.

There are of course many technical details such as how do we ensure that the offset sellers have actually put carbon away for good for a long time. But I hope I have explained the key concept in a carbon trading scheme for laymen.

Two Degrees

Twenty years ago, governments agreed to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees. Don't be fooled by the talks in climate change. The world is on track to become FOUR degrees warmer.

At two degrees warmer, Marine life are at risk!

4 Degrees warmer, great cities will be washed away. What is the price to relocate the bulk of humanity from immersing cities?

5 degrees warmer, civilization collapses. Asking about the cost of survival in such a world is meaningless when civilization is no longer viable.

6 degrees warmer, there will be mass extinction. Nature will recover in a few million years. There will be no grandchildren's grandchildren. How do we face our grandchildren?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Carbon trading scheme

The carbon tax repeal laws have passed the lower house. It is now up to the Senate to protect our environment.

Another extreme weather event - in Itality this time

Again, individual weather event cannot be attributed to climate change precisely. However, climate change predicts more frequent extreme events.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Which country has more responsibility in fighting climate change?

Should the current largest polluter pay most? or Should the historical polluters who put the pollutants into the environment pay most?

Fighting the climate change includes both stopping the emission of pollutants into the environment and cleaning up the existing pollutants. It is also important to help countries which suffer from climate change but have not contributed to the problem in the first place.

Where is human compassion and empathy?

It is an animal's act to beat up anyone. What is also worrying is the attitude of the one who was behind the camera. Where is human compassion and empathy?

Where is the line separating free speech and deliberate lying?

Iran Nuclear Program

The biggest bully in the Middle East opposed staunchy to any deal unless Iran completely gave up its nuclear program. Do anyone have a moral right to object development of nuclear program? Is it better to ensure Iran's nuclear program is transparent?

I would rather see a program being checked by International observers that it is for peaceful purposes than to see the program goes underground. Russia is hopeful that there is a real chance of solving the problem.

Monday, 18 November 2013

TransPacific Partnership

Who is the US government working for? US ordinary citizens or US corporate?

Wholesale spying on ordinary people

Spying is a fact of life in politics. When the stakes are high, any information is an advantage. It would be naive to think that governments do not spy on each other. The reason the leaks from NSA whistle blower Ed. Snowden are interesting is not intelligence are being gathered. It is about gathering intelligence of *everyone*. Of course, before the advent of information technology, it was physically impossible to tap into everyone's private life. The irony is that a government who proud itself as law-obeying is actually breaking its own constitution to spy on everyone including their own citizens. A bigger irony is that the US public seems to be interested in the drama of Snowden rather than talk about the implications of such whole sale spying.

Friday, 15 November 2013

2013 is one the hottest years in record

2013 looks like the eighth warmest year since records are kept 160 years ago. All the warmest 10 years are after 2008. WOW! Individual weather event cannot be attributed to the climate change. But a warming Earth predicts more stronger storms, rising sea level and shifting of rainfall patterns. The cost of inaction is now obvious and increasing. Anyone who still denies climate change needs a big stick to hit on his/her head.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Graincorp and ADM takeover

Graincorp is an Australian grain receival and storage company owned by grain growers. See wikipedia article. Grain, being an annual crop, can be controlled via the transport and storage lever. With the expansion of Graincorp in the past years, it has essentially established a monopoly position and obtains the control of grain production. If the major shares remain in the hands of the growers, the interest of the growers will be looked after. Archer Daniels Midland is an American global food-processing and commodities-trading corporation. See another wikipedia article. In 2012 Graincorp received acquisition bids from Archer Daniels Midland. Australian parliament is considering the bid and Treasurer will be determining if he would approve or veto the bid. Australia produces more food than we can consume. About 1/3 to 3/4 of grains are exported. At the moment, the main export which drives our economy is from mining resources - which are of finite supply. On the other hand, food - which depends on sunshine and water - is renewable. In the long term, food will become a critical factor when Earth continues to warm up and current farmland's climate make the land unsuitable. International companies do not have royalty towards another country. If the controlling of Graincorp is transferred to a foreign country, I'm afraid Australian growers will be the losers in the long run. Is a short fall in profit of Graincorp a reason to sell it?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Storms and Climate

What are hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones?

Why the strongest storms are getting stronger?

The warmer the ocean, the more energy is available to fuel the storm energy - converting the heat from the moisture into destructive wind. The stronger is the wind, the higher is the storm surge. With sea water rise, this added storm surge is destructive.

Human causes the global warming. Unfairly, those who contributed most to the warming are not those who suffer most from the warming. In the case of Haiyan, they are the poor people in Philippines.

Two times Australia Former PM, Kelvin Rudd Quits

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd announced his retirement from politics in an emotional speech to Parliament on Wednesday night, adding "it really is time for me to zip". [source]

The most memorable moment of Kelvin Rudd is the apology to the stolen generation:

Catholic Church and Child Abuse

The investigation report by Victoria Royal Commission into the child abuse by institutions was handed down today. Catholic church is singled out as the worse organization. International outcry of child abuse by clergymen has been loud and clear. It is time for the government to take action and start closing down this criminal organization. I suggest we can start by taxing all the churches, just as any other businesses would be.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Carbon Tax repeal

By calling a price of pollution as a tax was the wrong move by the last Labour government. Repealing the carbon trading scheme is the wrong move in litigating the carbon we human have put into the atmosphere. By Australian has made a wrong choice in voting for this Prime Minister, I guess we have to wait another 3 years before something good can happen. Unfortunately, that also means that the carbon reduction scheme has to be tougher if it can be effective.

Nuisance Nuance: UK's annoying behavior law threatens protesters, criminalizes childhood

The right to protest is under threat in UK, what's next?

"Stop This Madness": Filipino Climate Chief

Individual weather event is not evidence of climate change. But warming of Earth predicts stronger storms and extreme weather. New South Wales suffered bush fire in mid spring, an once 100 year event just months ago. Philippines suffered the worse storm in Earth's history last week. Another severe storm is blooming nearby.

How do we face our grand children when they ask what have we done to stop climate change while we still can?

Bonus: Report of Haiyan

Friday, 1 November 2013


The world is changing faster and faster.

At this time, the short election cycles (3 years in Australia and 5 years in USA) has grown a generation of political leaders who think short term and think for each election cycle.

However, humanity is facing a real challenge.

Oil is a finite resource. The price of oil will increase as the production becomes more difficult and expensive. With current large scale farming closely linked to oil-based fertilizers, food price will also increase. I have no crystal ball and have no idea when this will happen.

Science is clear that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The higher is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the larger is the greenhouse effect. With the shift of the energy balance, Earth will warm up. Human has only 5,000 years of written history. During all these years, we have never had CO2 level as high as today.

Higher global temperature means more ice will melt leading to rising sea level. Most large cities are built near the coast, at almost the current sea level. As sea level rises, the cost of moving these cities will be astronomical. Many poor countries are in low lying areas. Movement of these displaced people will become a major source of problem/conflicts.

Although governments have agreed to limit the rise of global temperature to 2oC, the target has already become unachievable. There is already 0.9oC since the industrial era. There is another 1.6oC coming no matter what we do.

As the climate is moving towards a new equilibrium, weather is going to fluctuation violently. Heat records and cold records have been broken in the last 10 years almost routinely. Huge storms are more frequent than normal.

The short election cycle means that politicians are not going to solve the problem with long term view. What can an average citizen like me can do?