Saturday, June 21, 2008
Since the 1970s we have had scumbag governments think that oil will go on forever, and every stupid twat will want to drive a car.
And of course in recent years we have had Carr for cars, Iemma, and Costa the railway hating bald headed, chrome dome filthhead.
He used to be a fireman on the railway at Enfield, and by all accounts was a useless, lazy, bludger, and has maintained an anti rail stance ever since.
So, suck on this you loosers, this is where your pro road policies have got us...
We need to learn from our betters, the Asian countries.
Stuck in traffic? Get used to it, Sydney
Linton Besser Transport ReporterJune 21, 2008
THE equivalent of 14 Lane Cove tunnels would need to be built every year for the next five years just to stop traffic getting any worse, a study by the University of Sydney has found.
Sydney's car addiction is so chronic that if traffic grows at the same rate as it has in the last couple of years, the number of car trips in the morning peak will climb 83,000 to 250,000 by 2013.
The road space needed to accommodate the extra cars is "equivalent to adding 21 M2 motorways over the next five years [just to] maintain traffic congestion as it is at present".
The report, by Peter Stopher and Camden FitzGerald, from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the university, urges state and federal governments to scrap all car-related taxes such as registration and petrol excise, and instead impose a calibrated congestion tax on Sydney's roads.
The stunning assessment of just how choked Sydney's roads are becoming is echoed by the Roads Minister, Eric Roozendaal.
"There's an extra 1 million vehicles on our roads and an extra 600,000 drivers since 1996," he told the Herald.
But Mr Roozendaal dismissed the findings as "armchair advice from academics in ivory towers".
The report found that so many cars are clogging the city that to accommodate the growth "the capacity expansion required is in the order of 14 Lane Cove Tunnels per year".
"Contrasted to the population and car growth, one can see clearly that the rate of growth of vehicle kilometre trips is far outstripping additions to the road network," it says.
"If we consider that the roads in Sydney are congested today, then by 2031 we will be looking at a much more severe situation."
The authors do not, however, recommend large-scale road expansion. They say that road construction simply induces more traffic. Instead, they suggest that only targeted public transport services will reduce road congestion, but are pessimistic that even huge investment would be successful.
At least $225 million would need to be spent on 450 new buses, and rail would have to absorb 36,000 more passengers in the morning peak, "or the equivalent of about 45 more trains per peak period", the report says.
However, it also says that even doubling the number of rides on public transport "would realistically do no more than absorb the growth in peak period travel".
In several cities around the world, such as London, a congestion charge has helped cut non-essential car trips into city centres, and a similar scheme should be adopted in Sydney, the study recommends.
A charge that varies depending on the length of the journey and the time it is made is needed, it says. "It would penalise more heavily those who travel in the peak periods, thereby leading to some flattening of the peaks."
This, combined with staggering school starts and work hours, and focused improvements to bus and train services, would mean congestion would not worsen significantly as the population increased.
Mr Roozendaal said he understood motorists' frustration, but insisted there was no "silver bullet". "We need commonsense solutions," he said.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
June 18, 2008
Among all the problems besetting us at present, which is the most pressing and most important: the soaring price of oil, the global food crisis, the rise of China and India, or global warming?
Sorry, it was a trick question. When you delve into them you find that three of those problems - rising oil prices, the food crisis and global warming - have the fourth, the rapid industrialisation of China and India, as their most fundamental cause.
It was Marx who famously observed that everything is connected to everything else. If we want to make sense of all the good and bad things the world is doing to us, it helps to see how those connections run. Let me see if I can sketch them for you.
At its most elemental, the world price of oil is rising because demand for the stuff is outstripping supply. Temporary disruptions to supply add to the price from time to time and speculative investment in oil futures contracts by pension funds may be adding to demand - though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that price "bubble" to burst.
Existing reserves of oil are running down and not many new reserves are being discovered. But the biggest factor putting upward pressure on the price is the huge growth in demand from China, India and other developing countries. These countries consume half the world's energy and accounted for 80 per cent of the growth in the demand for oil in the first half of this decade.
That growth is almost certain to continue and keep prices rising over the years to come. Martin Wolf, of The Financial Times, summarises the outlook for oil with three facts: it's a finite resource, it drives the global transport system, and if emerging economies consumed as much oil as Europeans do, consumption would jump by 150 per cent.
Next, the global food crisis. Across the world, the basic cost of food has risen by more than half in the past year, with grain prices the worst affected. Rioting over food prices has occurred in more than 30 developing countries.
The most fundamental explanation is that rapid economic growth in China and other emerging economies has raised consumers' purchasing power, generating rising demand for food and shifting food demand away from traditional staples towards higher-value foods such as meat and milk. This dietary shift is leading to increased demand for grains to feed animals.
But this is now a long-term trend and doesn't adequately explain the recent price surge. It's more convincingly explained by the effect of the United States' and other countries' diversion of grains towards the production of ethanol and other bio-fuels, and by the loss of wheat production caused by adverse weather conditions in key production areas, particularly the drought in Australia.
So, China not responsible for the food crisis after all? Sorry, not that simple. Why are the Americans subsidising their farmers to shift into growing maize for ethanol? Because they're reacting to the high price of oil - which would be higher than it is had they not done such a (dubious) thing. Then, of course, we've got the high price of oil adding to the costs of farm production, via transport costs, the cost of mechanical cultivation, and the cost of fertilisers and pesticides. Some dirt-poor farmers have had to give up planting crops.
As for adverse weather conditions, while we can't prove our exceptionally long drought is a product of global warming, there's a fair chance it is.
Quite apart from its effect on oil and food prices, the rapid industrialisation of China and India - the two most populous countries, accounting for almost 40 per cent of the world's population - is an event of huge consequence for all the economies of the world.
When Britain and the United States were industrialising in the 19th century, it took them about 50 years to double their real income per person. China keeps doubling every nine years and India is only a bit slower.
This is shifting the centre of global economic gravity from the developed economies towards the developing economies, which now account for more than half the world's annual production of goods and services.
China's emergence as a major exporter of manufactures has been exerting downward pressure on the world prices of computers, cars, clothing and many other manufactured goods. India is doing something similar for computer-related services.
The export-oriented growth of the emerging economies is adding about 1.5 billion people to the global labour force, doubling its size. This is forcing a lot of painful change in the structure of the developed economies.
As a country that exports mainly primary commodities and imports mainly manufactures, Australia has benefited mightily from China's emergence, in marked contrast to most other developed economies. This year China will overtake Japan as our major trading partner. Even so, our economy is also undergoing painful restructuring.
China's pivotal role in global warming needs to be explained carefully. Greenhouse gases have been building up in the atmosphere for several centuries, taking the stock of gases close to the point of causing irreversible warming. Clearly, the economic activity of the rich countries has contributed the great bulk of this stock, with the contribution of the poor countries being minor.
But when we look at the annual addition to this stock - an addition that's growing faster than we expected just a few years ago - the lion's share is coming from China, not the rich countries. That's because China is so big, its economic growth is much more energy-intensive and its energy use more emissions-intensive.
At the very least, the rise of China and India will continue creating serious adjustment problems for the rest of the world, including us.
At worst, this (eminently fair) attempt to have 40 per cent of the world's population, formerly among the poorest, rapidly approach the material living standards long enjoyed by the richest 15 per cent will bring us to the limit of the environment's ability to absorb economic growth. Doesn't sound like fun.
Deborah Smith Science EditorJune 19, 2008 - 5:48AM
OCEANS have heated up much more rapidly in the past four decades from global warming than scientists had thought.
An Australian and American research team found that between 1961 and 2003 the rate of warming of the upper ocean layers was about 50 per cent higher than was estimated in last year's report by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
A CSIRO scientist, Catia Domingues, of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, said her team's finding helped solve a big problem for climate researchers.
They had been unable to fully explain why sea levels had risen so rapidly in this period, but this could now be largely attributed to the expansion of the warming oceans. "For the first time we can provide a reasonable account of the processes causing the rate of global sea-level rise over the past four decades," Dr Domingues said.
Sea levels rose about 1.6 millimetres a year between 1961 and 2003.
John Church, of CSIRO Marine Research, said the study, published in the journal Nature, increased scientists' confidence in their climate-change models of sea-level rise.
The CSIRO team reviewed millions of measurements of ocean temperatures, taken from instruments probing the upper 700 metres of the ocean, to assess the contribution of the thermal expansion of the upper layers to overall sea-level rises.
Contributions from melting glaciers, melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, and thermal expansion of the deep ocean were also analysed.
"We now have a good match between observations and models," Dr Church said.
Last year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report predicted that by 2100 sea levels would rise 18 to 59 centimetres, with a possible additional 10-20centimetres if flow from melting ice sheets sped up.
A lead author of the report, Professor Nathan Bindoff, of the University of Tasmania, said an increase in sea level by one metre by 2100 was "completely plausible".
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
And did I mention the outcome of this is a revolting, greedy, user pays society where any sort of "service" has a cost attached to it?
Your legacy is as such that a large, knobbly vibrator would not do you two justice for the killing of old Australia.
Govt 'knew about' climate change in 1984
Dr Jones cast himself as an Australian version of climate campaigner Al Gore in a speech to a Canberra conference on Wednesday.
He said he was the first politician to sound the alarm on global warming, as science minister in 1984.
But his cabinet colleagues did not listen.
"Of course I wish I'd been listened to," the former national president of the ALP told AAP.
"The response from my political colleagues in Canberra was distinctly underwhelming.
"I think some of them were persuaded by (industry) lobbyists to say sooner or later a technological fix will come up."
Dr Jones said the danger of increased carbon dioxide emissions was raised with him in 1983 when scientists were worried about ice depletion caused by global warming.
He spoke publicly on climate change in 1984, put it high on his agenda, and oversaw extensive publishing in the field.
"Talking about climate change was an isolating factor," Dr Jones told the conference.
Some of his government's efforts on climate change were feeble, he added.
"We were seen as understanding (climate change) and going along with it but not doing very much about it," he said.
An obstacle to tackling climate change was vested interests such as the coal industry and unions, Dr Jones said.
"Our politicians are too much influenced by vested interests in every area," he told AAP after the speech.
"Vested interest tends to win out."
Dr Jones said he did not want to target past Labor governments over climate change.
There had been a feeling Australia could achieve little by acting alone, and he also criticised the previous Howard government for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.
Dr Jones told the conference - Imagining the Real Life on a Greenhouse Earth - climate change posed a great challenge to democracy and pluralistic values.
He said it could inflame fundamentalism and tribalism, lead to wars over food and water, and cause mass migration.
It could also lead to a "revolt against reason" of the kind society's thinkers had battled against since the Enlightenment in 18th century political thought.
The conference, organised by the cultural and scholarly centre Manning Clark House, continues at the Australian National University on Thursday.
Atlas shows effects of climate change on AfricaJOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The environment agency unveiled a new atlas Tuesday that shows what the agency says are the dramatic effects of climate change on Africa.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Ecosystems can't keep up with China: WWF
China is now consuming more than twice as much as its ecosystems can supply sustainably, having doubled its needs since the 1960s, a new WWF report said.
China now utilises 15 per cent of the world's total biological capacity, said the report, which is published jointly by the World Wildlife Fund and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.
The report found that the Chinese had an average ecological footprint of 1.6 hectares in 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available.
This means that each person needs 1.6 hectares of biologically productive land to support their lifestyle demands.
While this is still lower than the world average of 2.2 global hectares per person, it "nonetheless presents challenges, considering China's large population and the robust economic development", said the report.
"If China were to follow the lead of the United States, where each person demands nearly 10 hectares of productive area, China would demand the available capacity of the entire planet.
"This is likely to be a physical impossibility for China, and for the other nations of the world," said the report.
If on the other hand China could, in its development, also balance environmental needs, it could "lead the way for the world as a whole," the report added.
"It's a critical period in the coming 20 years for China to realise its sustainable development, which is determined by important indicators including the balance between the utilisation efficiency of natural resources and the Earth's regeneration capacity improvement," said Zhu Guangyao, secretary general of the Chinese council.
The USA, one of the world's top polluters, is coping a right hiding of late....
Floodwaters wash away homes as freak weather hits US
A home near Lake Delton in Wisconsin collapses as flood waters breach the bank on Monday. Three houses were washed away.
Floodwater washed away three houses and threatened dams in Wisconsin as military crews joined desperate sandbagging operations to hold back Indiana streams surging toward record levels.
The East Coast simmered through temperatures climbing toward the century mark.
Ten deaths were blamed on stormy weekend weather, most in the Midwest.
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle declared an emergency for 29 counties and President Bush on Sunday declared a major disaster in 29 Indiana counties.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver said nearly a third of his state's 99 counties need federal help.
Rivers in several parts of the Midwest swelled with the runoff from heavy weekend rainfall, topped by the 11 inches that fell Saturday in Indiana.
Water was pouring over the top of Wisconsin's Dell Creek Dam on Lake Delton in Sauk County, and had swept away three houses, county emergency management director Jeff Jelinek said. He was not sure whether there were any injuries, but said people had been told to evacuate the area, which is about 50 miles north of Madison.
A couple of thousand people in Columbia County, about 30 miles north of Madison, were urged to evacuate below the Wyocena and Pardeeville dams, said Pat Beghin, a spokesman for the county's emergency management.
The Wyocena Dam's spillway had washed out, and workers were sandbagging to try to save the dam, Beghin said. The Pardeeville dam was overflowing, creating a risk for the nearly 10,000 people downstream in Portage, he said.
The Upper Spring Dam in Palmyra was failing, state emergency management officials said. But only one house in the rural area was in danger, Palmyra town chairman Stewart Calkins said.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources engineers were being sent across the state to survey other dams.
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle had declared states of emergency for 30 counties. At least 130 inmates from the Department of Corrections were helping sandbag in nine areas, according to the state emergency management. The Red Cross had 11 shelters open across the state and was preparing a 12th, officials said.
A new storm system was headed toward the Ohio Valley from the southern Plains on Monday and the weather service posted a tornado warning for south-central Illinois and a severe thunderstorm warning for Indiana.
While the Midwest fought to cope with flooding, the East was locked in a sauna. Heat advisories were posted Monday from the Carolinas to Connecticut, with temperatures expected to hit 100 from Georgia to New York, the National Weather Service said. Raleigh-Durham, N.C., hit a record 101 on Sunday.
"It's just crazy. ... It's really, really hot," said New York City street worker Jessica Pena as she swept a midtown Manhattan street at around 8:15 a.m. The temperature already was in the upper 80s.