Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A short update

No post yesterday, and really none today.

I was up a bit before three this morning to complete a 1,200 word article for a business magazine that I began yesterday evening. Sent, but I am not yet sure that it meets their needs. Then there were emails about a possible weekly column in a regional newspaper. The tentative title is Belshaw's World, drawing together some of the things I write about.

On top of all this, I am working on-site at the moment, adding two hours travel time to my day. Still, this is not all bad.

I have been reading Warren Treadgold's A History of the Byzantine State and Society on the train. This is a very good read, while filling in gaps in my knowledge.

Do expect some posts. I have just been reading about the first arrival of plague, something that had a devastating effect on society and state. This was far earlier than I had realised.

At work itself, I have been digging into the statistics in an area that actually interests me greatly. Obviously I cannot comment directly on what I have been doing, but I will end with greatly extended public record data plus background knowledge that I can use in analysis.

There has been an absolute plethora of Australian Government policy announcements. I try to avoid commenting unless I can add value - otherwise I just add to the bloggochurn.

There are some I really want to comment on because of their importance. Here I was stuck by what I saw as very silly and short term comments on the new emissions trading scheme.

I really must do a demographic analysis of Green supporters. I have the strong impression that they tend to occupy jobs that have a natural short to medium term protection against the adverse effects of the policies they advocate. It is easy to be pure if you are neither threatened nor tempted.

Don't get me wrong. I do support action on climate change. However, the real policy content in the material that I have read - and this includes some of the editorial material - is remarkably low. I do not think that I have learned a single new thing in the constant re-statement of stereotyped positions.

In all this, I did manage on Sunday in Economic implications of the Australian Government's Nation Building package to provide some analysis of the Government's latest stimulus package. The day-to-day statistical news is not good, but so far I see no need to vary my positive medium term outlook.


Anonymous said...

Jim, I personally believe that any amount of repetition is not enough. We are collectively heading for some unimaginable disaster. Something is likely to give and the beginning of the end perhaps is already here. Just have a look at this http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7786910.stm

Jim Belshaw said...

I stand by my position, Ramana.

To suggest, as some did, that the Australian Government's initial actions had doomed the barrier reef to extinction was just silly and added nothing to discussion.

The reef may or may not be doomed. However, adoption of the highest emission reduction targets, indeed a total abolition of all Australian green house emissions, would have a tiny impact on a global outcome.

By all means restate the need. However,if we are to do something about it, we will need a suite of actions. We also need to plan for what will be major structural change.

In Australia we have already seen some very dubious individual moves taken in the name of the environment. I fear that we will see a lot more.

I would feel a lot more comfortable in all this if there was more discussion about options, implications and responses.

Anonymous said...

Indeed you should. I have no quarrel with your position. I also see your point that there could be more discussions.

We too have a similar problem with a Southern State wanting to destroy something like a reef http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sethusamudram_Shipping_Canal_Project
There are religious sentiments attached to the bridge and the politicians are trying to play funny with a lot of money involved.

I have always maintained that such projects should be undertaken only with the widest possible discussions and consensus.

The important thing that I want to emphasize is that there are things happening that will impact our children and perhaps our grand children may not be around.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a coincidence, but after I wrote the first comment, I happened to read this http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/12/17/pope.climate/index.html

We can all do something. Whatever little that may be, even blogging about it.

Tikno said...

I agree with Rummuser, care and spread the awareness to others, although this is a very little things, is a good start.

Many scientists spend their time in effort to fight climate change. At least we also think to our own grandchildren. Here some response that we can do to appreciate their effort: