The biggest waves on Earth are getting bigger

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Analysis

Rightio, here's another of those science stories that surfers love to read because the findings not only apply to us, but they also bring good news.

Not good news for everyone, but good news for surfers.

A study released by scientists at the University of Melbourne last week showed that wave heights around the globe are increasing, and best of all, the largest rise is occurring in the Southern Ocean.

The study, by Ian Young and Agustinus Ribal, was done by retrospectively looked at 33 years worth of satellite readings. And here's some information for those of you partial to the power of a really big number: Over 33 years the scientists gathered readings from 31 satellites totalling an impressive 4 billion observation points.

The readings were derived either by altimeters - instruments that bounce energy pulses off wave crests and measure their return time - or by instruments that measure the reflectivity of the ocean surfaces to estimate the speed of ocean winds.

The measurements were compared with more than 80 wave buoys deployed worldwide, making it the largest and most detailed dataset of its type ever compiled.

Young and Ribal found that since 1985, average ocean wind speeds have increased between one and two centimetres per second per year, leading to increases in wave height around the world.

However, the changes weren't evenly spread, the largest increases were found to occur in the top 10% of waves (according to height), with some ocean basins increasing more than others.

In the Southern Ocean, the trends are particularly strong. For instance, although average wave heights there have increased by just 0.3 centimetres per year, the top 10% of waves has grown by an average of one centimetre per year—a growth of thirty centimetres since 1985.

The new study doesn’t say definitively why wave height and wind speed is changing, although Young suspects a link with climate change.

“These are the secondary effects of climate change, not the obvious ones like sea level rise,” Young says, adding that, "understanding how waves change is critical to assessing the impacts of climate change at the coast." Coastal inundation due to sea level rise will be exacerbated if there is more wave energy on the coast.

So there you have it, your good news story for the day. Earth's atmosphere may be caught in a runaway greenhouse effect leading to rising seas, shifting seasons, and failing crops, all of which will threaten food security and the peace in which we live, but hey, at least the surf will be bigger!

Comments

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 10:22am

Certainly doesn't apply to the south-western Pacific.

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 10:32am

Yay! Climate change!

Yeeeeeeeeeeew!

beenjammin's picture
beenjammin's picture
beenjammin commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 10:56am

cc Equinor

zoddle's picture
zoddle's picture
zoddle commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 9:39am

totally

t-diddy's picture
t-diddy's picture
t-diddy commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 10:56am

I don't know that 30cm is really going to increase the likelihood of me getting barrelled...

gray's picture
gray's picture
gray commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 12:43pm

It all helps...and I need all the help I can get!!!

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 12:44pm

Interesting, but as we know wave heights aren't the main game. Without the time to spend doing all the homework on feedbacks and trends, there are still a few things which climate change has the potential to change which may not be too crash hot for surfing around the southern ocean, such as the wind direction and duration for swell generation etc, not to mention rising sea levels, species migration and the impact of extreme events on inshore water quality and sedimentation. Blah blah.

In the scheme of things I'm not sure whether you can take 30 years of data and extrapolate anything beyond those 30 years. Need to also consider decadal cycles and other weather-related issues.

Besides, I can't bear to think of the crowds down here if it stays this bloody warm!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 12:53pm

Professor Ian Young said as much in the study: "We need a better understanding of how much of this change is due to long-term climate change, and how much is due to multi-decadal fluctuations, or cycles."

Should also be noted that there were a few dissenting scientists who thought the methodology was problematic. That assuming consistency across all the observations when they were recorded on diffferent instruments by various agencies over many years is a fraught basis for a study.

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 1:47pm

YES!

Ewy's picture
Ewy's picture
Ewy commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 3:06pm

1 week before Anzac Day and still surfing in shorts along the GOR. Something is going wrong!

ashleigh's picture
ashleigh's picture
ashleigh commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:52am

I've been surfing in Vicco for 40yrs I don't even surf in shorts in the middle of summer...!!!!

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 1:43pm

Yeah wait until August, real spring suit weather.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 3:47pm

Mark Hemer from CSIRO co-authored a similar report for the 9th International Coastal Symposium, twelve years ago in 2007.

"Correlation between monthly mean significant wave heights and the Southern Oscillation Index is significant along Australia’s eastern margin."

http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/internal/2007/Hemerma_xb.pdf

Interestingly, a 2013 CSIRO website article - citing Mark's further research - said "Climate scientists studying the impact of changing wave behaviour on the world’s coastlines are reporting a likely decrease in average wave heights across 25 per cent of the global ocean. In some of the first climate simulations of modelled wave conditions they also found a likely increase in wave height across seven per cent of the global ocean, predominantly in the Southern Ocean."

https://blog.csiro.au/surfs-up-and-down-wave-heights-to-change-as-atmosp...

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 3:55pm

I think we got the 25% decrease here.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 4:29pm

Honestly north of the cape byron and even north of South west rocks.....
Well let's just say growing up surfing north and south of South West Rocks. The south (of South west rocks) is way more consistent and makes a big difference in relation to swell blocking.
How many north/ east swells does northern nsw get..over six feet per year ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 4:05pm

Looks like the real action is happening on our Facebook page of this story:

"Swell net you moron fuckers pushing propaganda "
"Bull Shitten mates didn’t have wave height measuring technology until recent years -MORE FLAWED FEAR COMMENTARY - bring on global cooling next year"
"Stop the propaganda"
" Swellnet you really have "sold out to the man" charging for swell forecasts, refusing to post surf reports until 9 am when the wind is on it, and collecting the advertising revenue at the same time. Now welcoming the impacts of climate change on our oceans. I am deleting you from my feed and going with magicseaweed."
"Climate Change. It was warm in Melbourne yesterday, today it is raining. Gore’s Predictions Fall Flat"
"Dirk Digler you posted a YouTube video as "evidence", your opinion is null and void."

etc etc etc

These people will shortly be voting to decide who runs our country.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 4:15pm

Is there a whole parallel Swellnet world on Facebook ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 4:17pm

Today there is.

We make minimal use of social media, there's no real benefit for us, and I've got an aversion to it anyway, further confirmed by today's sterling effort

It's freaky shit.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 8:05pm

Freakbook, it's a parallel world alright.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 8:13pm

It's enough to make you choke on your democracy sausage. I've always fancied some sort of test to be eligible to vote.....but that'd never get thru the major parties who rely on the rusted-ons.

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 2:25am

" Swellnet you really have "sold out to the man" charging for swell forecasts, refusing to post surf reports until 9 am when the wind is on it, and collecting the advertising revenue at the same time. Now welcoming the impacts of climate change on our oceans. I am deleting you from my feed and going with magicseaweed." - That one gave me a chuckle

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 1:45pm

That is very funny some people have far too much time on their hands.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Sunday, 5 May 2019 at 5:49pm

Vote 1 for Swellnet!!

Feralkook's picture
Feralkook's picture
Feralkook commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 10:49am

Maybe he has spent a little too much time on the "Magic Seaweed" rather than with it.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 4:17pm

Problem is their not much different than the pollies we will vote for.

simba

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 4:50pm

This is why Socrates hated democracy!
Yeah Blowin, there is an alternate Swellnet universe over there. There’s this regular commenter, Blowout, loves fishing and tells an an excellent yarn.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 4:40pm
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:20pm

Funny how everyone puts everything down to climate change, climate change has been happening forever (including rising sea levels since the end of Ice age), it's only that rates of change have increased over the last few decades, it's still pretty small though in the scheme of things..

Yes highly likely due to man, but not 100% certain and if it is we still have no idea to what degree.

Personally i have no fear of climate change, humans will adapt as they always have, and for us surfers in many ways it could be a positive, more extreme weather events, higher tides, warmer weather.

Just wish everyone had as much concern and wanted as much action about pollution in particular plastic waste in our oceans.

crip's picture
crip's picture
crip commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 11:41pm

ID, I've had a lot of respect for your comments about indo but really? Questioning the rate of climate change? It's real and it's happening on an unprecented rate. The change in the last few decades is unparalleled in history. The climate-change denier dinosaurs in the LNP don't care about our future but I do.
And I care just as much about my future and that of my kids with regards to climate change as I do to other issues that affect the oceans. Not just sea temperatures rising causing widespread coral bleaching, killing the GBR (won't be long now if the Carmichael Basin is opened up), but also issues like microplastics, overfishing, pollution etc etc.
Woah, that's heavier than when I started typing.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:43pm

Crip read my comment again.

Do i deny climate change? No

Do i deny the increases we have seen above the normal natural increases are most likely caused by humans...no even though we dont know for sure..i still admit it most likely caused by humans.

Im 100% support a SENSIBLE transition to renewables, and cool with cutting our emissions even off they are only just over 1% of the world emissions, so will make close to zero difference.

But has climate change become a huge fear campaign about politics and money etc

100%

Is it all bad news, not at all, even if China doest come to the party which is highly likely and climate change continues at higher than natural rates, humans will adapt, you can be half glass empty, but im half glass full.

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 10:08pm

All I would say is consider these 2 facts. 1) People walked to Oz from Africa, then water levels rose 100-150m with the end of the last ice age 10-15,000 years ago. That seems like something that happened quickly without man's pollution influences and the average global temp didn't change that much.
Fact 2. The closest planet to the Sun is Mercury but the hottest planet is Venus' which has an average temperature 80 degrees hotter - why? Because 95% of Venus' atmosphere is carbon dioxide. CD traps heat. When you burn carbon based fuel sources you release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The CD levels on Earth are the highest they have been in Millions of years.

Wiki search 'hottest years on record' to check the latest trends.

In the 1990s Hillary Clinton said, 'its not about us, its about our children's children'. Which means my kids. Anyone ignorant enough to disagree with the current situation can back it up with facts not opinion.
Don't forget the other wild card that India and China are developing rapidly with a third of the World's population.

Feralkook's picture
Feralkook's picture
Feralkook commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 11:33am

Population and consumption are the two elephants in the room, bottom line is, there needs to be reduced population growth and a shit load less consumption by human beings who insist on having the latest, greatest and convenience of everything, new and now. Human's are like locusts in their attitude to life, consume, consume, consume. When you talk about China, the elephant in the room, in the process of going rogue, they had a one child policy which failed and now look at the place, the population has exploded, they can not provide clean feed for their own children or people, biggest polluter when it comes to fossil fuel use.
There is a red flag there, when the people of another country are in your country and others and they pillage baby food stocks there is a bigger problem. Why do you think China is working so hard to buy our agricultural land, exploit and steal Intellectual Property and gain access to the networks of government, business and homes.? China is fast approaching a breaking point they know it. They are preparing and working to reduce the impact on their people, building their stepping stones in the Pacific Ocean and Sth China sea,moving into the islands round Australia laying the groundwork with their offer of "Cheap development loans" to those nations like Vanuatu, Fiji etc. Global warming is not a threat to your kids in the next fifty or more years. I think about what that mob up north intend to do in the next twenty years their population is exploding and that population is well and truly controlled and loyal to their party. That is a larger threat to your kids.

t-diddy's picture
t-diddy's picture
t-diddy commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 12:36am

From a risk management standpoint you have to assume the planet will be uninhabitable if we continue in our current habits, because if that is correct, even if it is unlikely, it would be catastrophic. I hope you don't have progeny.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:29pm

I have no resolve one way or another. All I know is that, one, we're long past the point of arguing the toss, the world is heading towards renewables regardless and if we don't jump soon we'll be forever licensing tech from other countries, and two, moronic ideology - such as that shown on the FB page  - is inflaming the issue.

I don't share your complacency about adaptability, if AGM occurs. Sure, we will survive - 'we' being the human race - but there'll be blood spilt, lots of it, and the generation that didn't cause it - i.e my kids or grandkids - will be the bearers.

Agree with you about pollution.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:32pm

Smug bastard! Not my problem so no worries!

Laurie McGinness

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:39pm

Im not against renewables, i think its's natural we will transition, it's just makes sense...

Sensible transition though....

BTW. None of the comments on FB were me...just reading them now...

Ha ha....there is quite a few comments....stuff i wouldn't say or think...wish they would comment in the forums to bring a bit of balance.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:47pm

Yeah, we don't really need 'balance' from the Heartland Institute.

D-Rex's picture
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D-Rex commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:48pm

'Earth's atmopshere (sic) may be caught in a runaway greenhouse effect leading to rising seas'. A serious question for all - can any swellnetonian actually verify an increase in sea levels on their stretch of coast? Personally I have witnessed no such rise on the Mornington Peninsula.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 1:52pm

Not yet however if it does happen there may be a few ledges which could come into contention a bit more often and higher tides will help a few reefs though harm others. Winds will be the issue.

alexz's picture
alexz's picture
alexz commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 2:35pm

There's relatively rapid coastal changes occurring on the Mornington Peninsula. It's due to a mix of reasons though. Dredging of Port Phillip Heads was clearly the primary reason for the loss of Portsea Front Beach but in combination with the biggest storm surge event there in my 40 year life time . Portsea Back Beach's dune line has definitely retreated in my life time and the rocks in the shore break are more exposed than they've ever been. Cliff collapses have been more common in recent years, with big falls at London Bridge, St Pauls and Bridgewater Bay. Climate change is just one thing in the background that probably adds to all the direct human interventions and existing natural processes. You're not going to visibly see a 1-2cm sea level increase, but things are changing and other measurements are clear that anthropogenic climate change is happening (C02 at 400ppm, declining autumn/winter rainfall in southern Australia, more extreme rainfall events in warmer months, heat records being broken at more than 3:1 ratio of cold records).

A.Z.

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:53pm

Perhaps you should head west a bit, plenty of major erosion issues along the GOR.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:56pm

No obvious rise where I live either. Generally speaking, beaches will adjust so don't expect to notice it if you're on a sandy stretch. I expect you'd be able to ascertain sea level rise from waves like Shark Island or Express Point et al, but then before committing you'd want to know time frames, and also if it's modelled to occur on your coast - rises, if they happen, are expected to be irregular.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 5:57pm

...and thanks for the tip off about the spellig error!

gray's picture
gray's picture
gray commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 12:48pm

...another small one here: "...Ribal, was done by retrospectively looked at 33 years" > "..looking at 33..."

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 6:12pm

Sea level rises are real, they have been happening since the end of the ice age, and yes they are increasing in rates in the last few decades. but they are still pretty small, not exactly something you are going to notice.

Just because you see erosion means squat, the shoreline is not a static thing, its always eroding and changing.

IMHO thats the annoying part on this issue, people thinking they can see the effects of climate change or its confirmed because they see erosion or something, IMHO its as silly as the people who think climate change is not real because we have a year of colder weather than normal.

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 6:36pm

"Erosion means squat"? I beg to disagree with you there. There have been plenty of reports that the levels of erosion, exacerbated by extended high tide inundation during storm events and loss of coastal assets. The frequency of these events is increasing, and matching the predictions of the climate models. You are correct that riseing sea levels are incremental and generally small in scale, however over time, and combined with higher frequency extreme weather events, these will become a major issue for many. As Stu noted it will be the kids (mine, his and everyone else's) who will bear the worst of it. Complacency, ignorance and denial will not make the issue go away.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 6:58pm

In regard to erosion, lets just say we are seeing more erosion...which we dont know if we are or not, because its pretty hard to measure...because its every changing and always different.

Would it make more sense that things like dune stabilisation from marram grass are effecting these areas?

100% our coastal dune systems have changed which have resulted in changes in beach shapes, we have all seen that, if i look at arial pics of my local beach from 60-70 even 80s compared to now its like chalk and cheese.

Steeper dunes covered in marram grass are more likely to collapse appearing visually as erosion than a more even sloped beach and dune where sand moves naturally with wind and tide.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 7:05pm

BTW the more extreme weather event thing is interesting, i see articles and graphs for and against, but nothing really seems clear and then what are we talking about?

Bigger swells?

Stronger more intense regular cyclones?

larger falls of rain in shorter periods?

Even longer and stronger runs of certain wind directions?

All those things can create better surfing conditions. (flood-rivermouths, long run of winds for instance easterly will create good banks around some rocky areas)

Id love for them to happen, im waiting for these events, but they rarely happen?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 6:10pm

High tides now flood Ballina - which as some people know is an island surrounded by water- much more regularly.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 8:09pm

My own take is that average tide levels must rise if sea levels are rising. Is there any evidence that this is happening? Reasonable to expect Bureau of Meteorology must have historic info - anyone out there with access to such data?

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 3:24pm

Try this.
http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/projects/ntc/monthly/
Different places show different levels of change, e.g more emphatic change in Portland than at Port Phillip Heads. Data only goes back to 1960.

podrig's picture
podrig's picture
podrig commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 2:05am

D-Rex can you see the curvature of the earth from where you stand? Does that mean it is flat?

There is peer reviewed evidence of every conceivable aspect of the impacts of climate change being published daily. Don't post rhetorical bullshit questions, if you give a shit go find your own answers.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 8:58pm

That photo of the lighthouse is unreal. Amazing it can stand up to that fury

gray's picture
gray's picture
gray commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 12:49pm

Agree...I'd like to find that in full-res. - awesome photo.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 10:35pm

haha ,, Again,, without being able to see the 'data' and methodology due to a pay wall, this seems like a convenient way to grab some research money ,," Young suspects a link to climate change" ,, I'm sure he does.
He should just report the 'data' as he finds it and leave the hypothetical conclusions to the broader scientific community.
33 years is a blink in the eye and hardly a reflection on what the oceans waves may have or may have not been doing for the last hundred , thousand plus years. Pure speculation as far as any long term trend goes , even without the threat of 'climate change' . The graph zigs , it zags..
When I listen to the old legends at the local they tell me it was always bigger 'back in the day', when spot 'x' , that only breaks rarely on freak occasions , would break for weeks on end with no one out .

epictard's picture
epictard's picture
epictard commented Thursday, 2 May 2019 at 10:39pm

It is from a peer-reviewed study, that is 'the broader' scientific community.
You are also confusing consistency with maximum wave height.
A wave could have been regularly breaking 'back in day', or it could be out old degraded memories telling us it did, but I don't recall many (if any) days bigger than that swell in 2016.

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 2:55am

Not to mention being published in Science, one of the highest impact factor journals (and hardest to have your work published) around.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 3:01am

2016 South West Pacific Storms spiked wave heights.
June- Tweed Buoy rose 3m to record 15m
June- Eden Buoy rose 3m to record 17.7m
Sept- Taiwan Buoy rose 1m to 17m
Crew recall Goldy & Sydney Beach front Surf Pools?

Our above Lighthouse Picture is worth a 1000 words...Take good look!
Each year more Coastlines are ramparted & mass of cargo ships ricochet wave action.
Impossible for past waves to climb so high upon softer naturally buffeted shores.
Vajont Dam Wave the largest ever surfed rose 820 ft. (Man is rising wave height!)
tbb nominates Vajont surfers for {A bit bigger than diva's puny tow wave Awards}
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajont_Dam

tbb reckons the more that waves bounce the faster they collide the taller seas rise.
Ice sheer waves in fiords rise high & fast + Colliding Bermuda Waves also spike high.

Stir in a heaped teaspoon of Marine Debris & a healthy dose of Space Junk sprinkles...
Voila! "Point Nemo" Tsunamis should light up the Pacific.
https://www.popsci.com/this-is-where-international-space-station-will-go...
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5007681/Nasa-spacecraft-...

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 7:35am

Stu, did you come across any BoM data saying it's getting windier?
My partner will attest that I've been complaining over the last 5+ years that it's getting consistently windier in the mountains and our mountain weather comes straight from the southern ocean. I'm on board with the article.

wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:28am

The climate change debate has become highly emotional, eg the drum on abc last night, dont throw the baby out with the bath water.

john wise

tango's picture
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tango commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 10:46am

There's a lot of info out there about the observed vs predicted rates of sea level rise (SLR) from the relatively recent data the exists, much of which is based on tidal records. If you go to reputable sources of information and their websites (eg https://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html) it's pretty plain that sea levels have been fluctuating since time immemorial but it is the rate of increase in recent years which has everyone worried. To expect to see it clearly in a few decades and without the boiling frog effect isn't realistic.

The concern isn't often due to the fact that the sea is rising, but more along the lines of the inevitable adjustment of shorelines/nature/people need to make and whether they can or not. In nature, a beach or dune system could often migrate inland in response to SLR but now that there are hard structures immediately behind it (roads, break walls, houses etc) it can't move and we lose it. Same with the veg and wildlife - they have nowhere to go.

The importance of erosion (and regression of the shoreline which happens over longer timeframes) differs around Australia and the world depending on a multitude of factors. But it is definitely having impacts and you only have to see the level of government investment in sand nourishment and other matters to see it's being taken seriously. If you're interested, it's well worth getting along to your state coastal conferences or the national coastal conference (Coast to Coast) which happens every 2 years - you can hear all the players talking about it and get to talk directly with them.

I'm quite sick of the suggestion that because climate change has been happening a very long time it's a natural thing and no need for concern, too. In a perfect world we can adapt, but we can't bring everyone or everything along for the ride in reality - it's going to be blood, sweat and tears and it completely shits me that too many greedy, selfish pricks now expect my kids (and yours) to cop it sweet because we were too fucking lazy and comfortable in our privileged bubble to be bothered having a red hot go at fixing things up.

ShaneAbel's picture
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ShaneAbel commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 11:46am

Having been a surfer in Hobart for over 40 years and can say southern swells have diminished in size and occurrence The Hobart points used to work during the winter but over the last ten to twenty years the number of days has reduced
This is not satlerlite data but just simple experience

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 12:31pm

That could be a function of a shift in the storm track, rather than a decrease in regional ocean wave heights. 

Assessing 'surf' potential from such studies is fraught with danger, because there are a large number of interdependent variables that contribute to its eventuality.

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 4:38pm

Agreed.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 11:55am

Great post tango. I wonder how happy the "climate change is natural" crew would be with a Snowball Earth or the conditions at the end of the Permian.

Laurie McGinness

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 8:51pm

I'm pretty sure Tony Abbott wouldn't be parading around in his red sluggoes in Snowball Earth....

Kellya's picture
Kellya's picture
Kellya commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 1:48pm

Climate Change has been happening ever since our planet was born. There is no doubt that human impacts have had an effect on the rate of climate change. What this effect is exactly will never be known. Will the human impact portion lead to the end of the world? No. Renewables are on their way and fossils out. Our planet will heal itself.

wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas's picture
wiseautogas commented Sunday, 5 May 2019 at 12:26pm

i agree with Kellya what we have been industrialised for at least 150 years and a few wind farms and solar farms aint gonna fix that in a decade or 2, not to mention a few wind farms on tassies west cost isnt going to fix the wholesale destruction of tropical rain forest in indonesia for palm oil production

john wise

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 2:09pm

One thing to factor (although may be very minor) into some areas is that there is possibly less erosion in some areas than the 60's and 70's due to the banning of dune buggies and over grazing. They destroyed a lot of places back then on the Victorian coast which have now been completely covered with vegetation. St Andrew's beach on the peninsula is a case in point. It was like Queenstown in Tassie back then and you could drive down to the beach where it is now coastal bush again (albeit not a pristine EVC) and they have cut off the road. And the 90 mile beach in Gippsland was the same where I remember at the age of 12 going over the dunes with older mates and nearly vertical on the giant sand faces in cut down Veedubs. Great fun with great environmental damage.

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Lanky Dean commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 4:39pm

Looks like everyone will have to be up on their tide book in the future.

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D-Rex commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 5:20pm

Thanks to Tango for link re tide heights. This data shows sea levels have risen since 1880 to the present day by approx 250mm (8 inches). Thats approx 2mm per yr. Don't think I'll be losing sleep over our coastline disappearing under the waves just yet!

D-Rex's picture
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D-Rex commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 5:21pm

Sorry, 10 inches.

Spono's picture
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Spono commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 5:44pm

So climate change is to blame again is it.
How is that concluded from just 33 years of records why don't you leave the bullshit out and just give us the facts.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 6:56pm

"So there you have it, your good news story for the day. Earth's atmosphere may be caught in a runaway greenhouse effect leading to rising seas, shifting seasons, and failing crops, all of which will threaten food security and the peace in which we live, but hey, at least the surf will be bigger!"

I missed this:

This line is pretty silly, some areas will get better for growing certain crops, some areas worse, and some areas may need to change what they grow, as a result of average temperature changes, different high and lows, rainfall changes.

But overall for plants higher C20 levels actually help increase plant growth.

It's like anything any change has positive and negative effects, but for plants higher C20 levels are generally a good thing for faster growth.

This link has plenty of links to the subject. https://friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=223

Terminal's picture
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Terminal commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:05pm

The whole more CO2, better for plants argument is a furfy. Some plants species may, I repeat, may benefit from increased CO2 levels, but many will not. It depends, among other things, on how they fix CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis (i.e. whether they are C3, C4 or CAM). As such, significant changes in CO2 concentrations, plus changes in other abiotic processes (temp, precipitation) could potentially lead to range expansions of some species and contractions of others, including invasive species and those of economic or ecological importance.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:35pm

You just googled looking for a counter argument and just cut and pasted some BS.

Plants are not humans almost all plants benefit from higher C02 levels, it might not fit in with your view but that is fact.

People want everything to be negative about climate change, but thats not how it works, change brings negatives but also positives.

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Terminal commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:50pm

Cut and paste, lol.

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blindboy commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:58pm

Friends of Science? Nah, more like Enemies of Integrity! You're such a sucker for fossil fuel propaganda Indo!
So are you an expert on the biology and chemistry of photosynthesis or are you just regurgitating bullshit from yet another phoney, fossil fuel funded web site? Not much doubt about the answer there!

Laurie McGinness

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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:23pm

Do you trust NASA?

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2436/co2-is-making-earth-greenerfor-now/

Commercial green house even artificially boast C02 levels to increase plant growth https://fifthseasongardening.com/regulating-carbon-dioxide

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blindboy commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:46pm
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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 3:32pm

Are you suggesting that the science has only just now been politicised? lol.

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blindboy commented Sunday, 5 May 2019 at 6:48pm

Yeh why not laugh at the near total destruction of environmental regulation by Trump ha ha ha so funny all that shit in the water, all those toxic pesticides, ha ha ha ha. If the competition wasn't so strong that would be a worthy contender for "Dumb Arse Comment of the Week".

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Sunday, 5 May 2019 at 7:02pm

Mate , you propose bringing millions and millions and millions more people into Australia’s fragile ecology. Everyone requiring habitat removal to house and feed , , additional pressure on water , concrete, roads , sewage treatment , waste disposal etc etc etc etc etc etc.

You may as well throw your environmental regulations out the window because the Australian environment will be rightly fucked no matter how vehemently you pretend to care about it.

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stunet commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 7:25pm

Well the line was deliberately tongue in cheek, but as the joyless souls on FB illustrated there are few people who appreciate that these days.

So it looks like it's silly versus naive.

Sure, if AGM were to occur, humankind will adapt, yet that's over the long term. Adaptation is a little more complex than planting a few more seeds here and a few less there. For instance, how long will it take to work out which locations are ideal in a new climate? How long will it take to understand the workings of the new climate? And importantly, how long will that climate stay stable enough for long term farming?

Food security is a delicate business. How many seasons do you think a populace will put up with food deprivation in the name of adaptability?

All these decisions would have to be acted upon in co-operation, when we've had barely a skerrick of co-operation since Margaret Thatcher first mentioned climate change 40 years ago. It's been head in the sands all around, so I've no idea why you'd would think anything will be different in the future.

Though the fact you posted a link funded by the fossil fuel industry may explain it.

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Friends_of_Science

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blackers commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:00pm

Nice pick up Stu, but hardly surprising from I D. Speaking of Maggie T, the Brits have been undertaking a policy of managed retreat for coastal areas in the south east since the early 1990's; buying land, refusing building permits etc because they recognised the low lying land cannot be defended against rising sea levels. Personally, I find it hard to fathom the easy dismissal of work that represents years of research and accumulated knowledge by specialists in their field, work that is thoroughly and painstakingly reviewed by expert peers and supervisors. I guess some people just reckon they know better., and can find some bullshit article by a "coomentator that supports their world view.

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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:07pm

I only reason i choose that link is because it has various links to articles and studies, i could have just as easily just chosen another link with one article, there is plenty of articles and science that supports this.

And yes a few that don't agree, because any positive from climate change is not a good thing for some.

Okay do you trust NASA?

"A quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.

An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States."

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2436/co2-is-making-earth-greenerfor-now/

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blindboy commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:02pm

Indo you cannot accept information from a site that pops up on a Google search., you need to check that it is authentic independent and is not funded, dir t,y or indirectly, by the fossil fuel industry. They are spending hundreds of millions to create these bullshit sites.

Laurie McGinness

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blackers commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 11:20pm

Ah sweet jaysus! You deny global warming causes sea level rise and associated encroachment/inundation (leading to increased erosion) but you're happy to claim "significant greening"? Classic case of cherry picking your evidence. With respect to your question, sure I trust NASA, and also the CSIRO and the ICC. You need to read more widely than your designated reading list. There will be positive and negative effects from the changes currently happening, but if you ask the farming community here in Oz, a significant proportion will say they are more concerned about the negatives and want action to correct what is currently occurring. Responses from people who either know shit or are experiecing the effects of it, not those who reckon they know better.. This isn't a partisan political issue, it is something that will impact on all future generations, much more than ours, and we really should be doing more about it.

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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 8:25am

NO dont put words on my mouth, you commented much further above on a post where i said sea levels are rising and increasing above natural increase (yes highly likely caused by man)

But because you see some erosion at the beach you people think you are seeing effects of man made climate change?

Thats not very scientific at all, firstly you dont know what purely natural erosion would look like because it's impossible to tell the two apart.(especially when you factor in a degree of sea level rise is natural)

And like mentioned above with the introduction of marram grass and unnatural stabilisation of dunes and change of beach shape etc

The waters are muddied even more.

In regard to farming it's the same thing its completely anecdotal evidence and not based on science at all.

IMHO you and Blindlboy are typical of the scare mongering hysteria that is now political driven, and has become big business in itself.

Reality is Australia makes up just over 1% of global emissions yeah sure you can make an argument that we need to do something as if all countries with same emissions did something then it could make a difference, and am i against this ?..No

Where you and me differ is, people like you are like in a panic mode and if it was up to you im sure you would make drastic change tomorrow that would have he negative effects on economy etc

Myself im cool with renewables, im cool with driving an electric car, cool with phasing out coal, but support a sensible measured transition that is already underway.

All that said it's more than likely humans will need to adapt to global warming because it's more likely that places like China etc that are the ones that make up the majority of emissions wont do what we do, and then you need to factor in population growth, deforestation, increase of meat consumption by middle class in developing countries etc

The good news is global warming is not all bad as ive pointed out, but pointing this out doesn't go down well with your people, because everything about global warming needs too be doom and doom hysteria.

Like i said somewhere, i just wish there was as much focus on general pollution, consumption and especially plastic use and pollution.

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blindboy commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 9:25am

Indo, you are siding with the dinosaurs. Climate change is real. It is happening now. It kills millions every year and will kill millions more. You claim that I am scare-mongering, well maybe we should be scared. Reality is that there are mechanisms at work that we do not fully understand and the potential for catastrophic feedback effects cannot be ignored any longer. It is the backward looking attitudes of people like you, by being prepared to vote for climate deniers and do-nothings, that have prevented governments from acting for the last twenty years. Congratulations. If we belong to a generation of swine, which is how the future is likely to see us, then you are one of the chief hogs.

Laurie McGinness

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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 9:41am

Blind boy...what the fuck? (same with Blackers)

Do you even read my post? (read my above post just above again)

You want me to be in denial of climate change because then it would be easier to write me off and my balanced views off.

But I AM NOT IN DENIAL OF CLIMATE CHANGE

My vote if i even vote wont be for either of the majors and it wont be based at all on the issue, if i decide to vote it will be below the line and it will be a protest vote of sorts

Anyway was watching this this morning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVXHaSqpsVg

Because i educate myself on both sides of the issue.

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Blowin commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 9:58am

The farmers who clear felled most of Southern Australia of natural habitat in order to install mass monoculture or deleterious livestock are concerned about the environment......classic.

And if you think that the lap between the impact of modern farming practices and lessened rainfall is coincidental then I’ve got a bridge for sale

SW WA rainfall died the day that the government forced the land to be cleared wholesale

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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:05am

Im not sure why you are posting this here as its not in reply to anything ive said?

But yeah 100% agree, these local influences are possibly just as big if not bigger influences on any local environmental changes.

Just like the erosion and marram grass thing.

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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 1:48pm

This is a very good post Blowin. The landclearing was devastating, particularly because they found the soil underneath had very little of anything in it. So the enterprise became a giant hydroponic endeavour, if you will, with nature providing the moisture.

Luckily, the wheatbelt family I married into only had an FJ Holden, tractor and chains, and so a great deal of their farm was uncleared. Added bonus was far less problems with salt in rising water tables.

Prof of Atmoshperic Science where I studied was showing great pics of clouds forming over the bush, farm right beside it blue skies. Perhaps the recycling of water in the native veg allowed clouds to form and re-irrigate, like a cycling system, and empty dry paddocks do not.

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blindboy commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:08am

No you don't deny it. Just trivialise it, display your profound ignorance of the problems it is causing NOW, and pretend that the positive impacts may match the consequences of the slow moving catastrophe that is happening before our eyes. Educate? Swallow the fossil fuel propaganda whole more like it. Your links demonstrate that you simply cannot distinguish between legitimate research and bullshit manufactured to deceive people like you who cannot be bothered studying the issue with any degree of rigour. Try working your way through the IPCC report, if you can't be bothered, then your opinions on the issue are worthless. People get paid for the kind of crap you regularly dish out on this issue. Maybe you should give the Koch brothers a call to see if they want to fund you.

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:22am

This from the guy who won’t be happy till Australia is so crowded that it looks like the backdrop from Bladerunner.

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D-Rex commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:06pm

My concern over climate change is that the 'cure' may be worse than the 'problem'. Look at the hysteria perpetuated by climate activists versus the actual 'changes' taking place. School kids are being roped into protests by alarmist teachers, their naivety at being used as political pawns being completely irrelevant to those pushing their own left-leaning agendas. Students chanting 'fuck-off Scomo' are being encouraged to lend their voice to a Bill Shorten election win. Not much to show re climate change in Australia yet somehow we need to throw hundreds of $billions at an invisible 'threat'. Sensible management of our environment should never be usurped by socialist ideology.

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blackers commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:23pm

Don't blame the teachers champ, the kids are doing it for themselves.

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Kellya commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 11:17pm

Blame the teachers, blame the system. As a teacher seeing this propaganda being forced upon us is disgusting.

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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 5:05pm

So when the state school teacher was making our kids do the essay "Describe the ways Trump is a Nazi" prior to the US 2016 election, this was completely free from bias? hahahaha - they are hopeless marxists. Luckily the Gen Z kids thought they were full of shit.

Apologies to any sane teachers in that system

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Blowin commented Sunday, 5 May 2019 at 1:15pm

That happened?

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velocityjohnno commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 11:53am

Yes that actually happened. I must qualify in that overall, the school was magnificent, it's just when you get a Lenin-special as English teacher that it's so good the kids can choose to go to Lit to avoid the intravenous Frankfurt School injections.

Luckily our kids had been homeschooled while I worked remote and had been exposed to critical thinking, the history of Western Civilisation, Monetary history, Austrian economics, Liberty, the deletarious effects of most revolutions and their 'cui bono', the way our system of Law has evolved over time and grown and changed organically. If you have teenagers, 'Atlas Shrugged' is a wonderful antidote to much of the teaching.

More insidious, and warranting a shouting match from me at interview time, was a section of English curriculum that had kids interpret text and multimedia based solely on how it made them feel, as opposed to any semblance of critical thought. This is extremely dangerous, for it teaches the student that their feelz can warrant justified action - it will lead to acting in impulse, condemning and attacking without trial or any cognitive review. It makes it extremely easy for a centrally distributed leftist narrative to inflame opinion, and cause destructive action. Take a look at the way a lot of campuses are run, especially US - logic and reason are thrown out the window and the mob shifts its discrimination from one group to another, as MSM news campaigns inflame the next topical issue on their agenda. Total conditioning.

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blindboy commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:14pm
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Terminal commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 8:55pm

Clearly more socialist propaganda....

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Terminal commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:45pm

As a side note, I'd really love for Swellnet to compile and release some stats on the spectrum of political, social environmental views of commentators in the forums here; it'd be fascinating. All anonymous obviously, just stats on the views themselves. I think the results would really debunk the common misconception that I've encountered among non-surfers that we're collectively all-caring in terms society and environment. The surfing community, for better or worse, really is a bag of allsorts.

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blindboy commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 9:54pm

........ which is why most of us persist despite the bullshit, hostility and occasional insults. It's one of the few places that is never an echo chamber for a narrow range of views. Enjoy it, while it lasts. We exist by Ben's generosity.

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 9:30am

The Waterman of the year is hell bent on creating an empire built around energy and resource depleting wave pools and flying infrastructure around the world for competitions.

The ultimate enemy of the environment received the ultimate accolade.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 9:32am

The Waterman of the year is hell bent on creating an empire built around energy and resource depleting wave pools and flying infrastructure around the world for competitions.

The ultimate enemy of the environment received the ultimate accolade.

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Gary G commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 10:02pm

Gary has been telling you lot for years that the biggest rise is observed when Gary is around the fringes of the Southern Ocean.

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

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Gary G commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 10:05pm

Whilst a 30cm growth isn't to be sneezed at, Gary's empirical studies have always concluded that the size doesn't matter; it's more about the motion of the ocean.

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

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blackers commented Friday, 3 May 2019 at 10:12pm

At last, a v(o)ice of reason! Cheers Gary.

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truebluebasher commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 2:10am

Creation Scientists actually maintain Man can't influence Climate. (My God people!)
Birds controlled climate shaping Farmlands & rainforests long before Humans.
Birds of Prey shaped plains by fires & Wingless rainforest birds/mounds control blaze
Tbb is not making it up ! Oz Rangers also knows our birds spoke before humans
Birds communities taught aborigines all + climate control at least 150,000 years bc.
https://kurdijiapp.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/fire-becomes-rain-becomes-fire/
It is true that White trash created today's Hot Mess...
We've come full circle and now employ Aborigines to again heal our land.(No shame!)
Past aborigines could shorten or lengthen seasons to repair the land (Not magic)
Climate (creation) & Climate (Change) are two sides of the same coin.

Qld 1970's Joh's creationists were still shrinking the world to please their God
Answers of mysteries to a our universe all come from their magic book. (Yes Sir!)
We knew Christian religions could never inter marry without being exiled from town.
Every head from Uni,Schools,Hospitals,Police were devout Christian or else.

Every other book,record or film was to be censored,destroyed or tossed on bonfire.
Raids on Radio station/ Record Stores / Fanzines continued onto mid 1980's.
Banned Topics... UN,NASA,Sociology,Geomorphology,Biology,Evolution.
State reports were redacted of Reef / Dune Damage or Soil Erosion.(Never in Qld)

Censorship of Conventional Authors Hemingway,Huxley,Woolf Kenneally on & on.
Worldly educational / Health standard Papers were banned by leading Authors
Tours & Visits even by fellow Australians were banned into Qld.
Movies with topless women or bare bottoms were banned.(Blind to nude beaches)
As with US Evangelicals guns & blood & guts or disembowelment live or other is fine.

Christians were pro Gun,Pesticide,fish stock depletion,deforestation,shit wages
Most Christian Men were wife & child rapists & beaters or killers of pets
Oz feared Qld Christians as the most dangerous closed minded vindictive Australians.

Teachers alarming Kidz with socialist agenda?...Who spared a minute for that crime?
Whole of Qld are still dumbstruck from Joh's Numbskulls to recall free thinking.
Tip! Qld Labor idolize Joh & dream of Stockholm syndrome..re: Oma! & No Surfing!.
Qlders are already sweating with the re-stoking of bonfires. We pray it's a sick joke!
We all know the science isn't the problem here...Matches in the wrong hands. Again!

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shoredump commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 9:12am

At the end of the day, even if it were just pollution, and not climate change, that’s at stake, I am still completely dumbfounded that anyone could possibly think anything other than clean renewables is the way to go. It’s finite and it’s polluting. There’s a better way folks, don’t you want to leave the world a better place than you found it?

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Numbatt commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 9:52am

Best comment, typically out of plain sight.

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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:29am

I think most people agree, as do i, and under any government we will transition away from things like coal and petroleum products that move is already in effect in Australia of our 9 million households already over 2 million have solar and obviously will continue, we also have about 100 wind farms again obviously more will be built.

The problem is some want a balanced sensible transition, others are not realistic about the transition, because in their world the sky is falling.

And reality is with Australia contributing to just over 1% of C20 emissions we are only a tiny factor int the much bigger picture.

BTW. We will never leave the world in a better place than we found it, because of unsustainable pollution growth.

shoredump's picture
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shoredump commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:46am

But we were only 1% of the coalition of the willing, so why did we bother then? What do you mean by sensible transition? Out of 60 countries ranked, Australia sits at number 57 in our efforts to transition. What are the problems being encountered by the top ten countries? Taking responsibility for the cost of cleaning up our own mess as apposed to passing the problem onto our grandchildren? What other problems?

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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 12:25pm

Sensible transition is basically what we are seeing now, see out the life of our current power stations, building of solar and wind power as i pointed out, this will continue and i expect the next phase will be transition to electric cars.

Irrational transition, would be closing down coal powered power plants before life spans are done without proper replacement for both electricity or employment etc for the communities that rely on these industries like Latrobe valley in Vic.

Or throwing our economy into turmoil trying to transition to fast, the cost of transition needs to be absorbed over time, not just lumped on everyone all at once.

There is also a bit of a tech factor too, it's like buying a big screen TV when they first come out, pay heaps and now it's old tech and inefficient.

Same with wind and solar etc as time moves on tech will improve and cost will come down, especially with batteries, so there needs to be a balance in transition, where we dont all end up with old tech that needs to be replaced before its life span runs out.

Go do some research on places like Germany if you want to learn the cost of transition on energy prices etc

Like it or not every generation is going to pass on problems to future generations, and also pass on benefits of what we create, but reality is no matter what, this world is going to be a lot worse in the future, unsustainable population growth will ensure that.

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blindboy commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 12:45pm

All very sensible Indo ......... until you think about it for a minute, do a bit of research and discover that Australia is far far away from a balanced transition. Per capita we are huge emitters. Successive governments have been able to avoid their responsibilities because people believe the type of nonsense you consistently put forward. Australia is amongst the most vulnerable nations to further climate change. A sensible policy would have been to lead other nations in reducing our emissions to encourage them to to do the same. A reasonable policy would have seen major investment in non-emitting energy technology from which we would now be benefitting economically. We might even have held on to some of our manufacturing industry! Instead we have had denial, do-nothing and have generated such an appalling level of public ignorance around the issue that we need high school students to remind us of the reality. Deny, delay, distract and dispute ....... happy to be part of the problem then Indo?

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 12:54pm

Why do you think Australia is amongst the most vulnerable to climate change ?

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:01am

.

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Robo commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 10:21am

climate change is mostly all about the $$ and votes.

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blindboy commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 1:28pm

You're joking, right? Ha ha ha, good one Robo.

Laurie McGinness

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 1:57pm

Because a lot of Australia's agricultural output is dependent on marginal, semi-arid country.

Extra heat, changes in rainfall patterns, leading to long term deficits in moisture profiles in the soil are very big problems.
I'm seeing that in my own region, and I'm in sub-tropical NSW with supposedly some of the most reliable rainfall in Aus.
Seen farmers close to tears here because lack of rainfall, extra heat, no sub-soil moisture is making their farms unprofitable.

I live on the coast and try and be as self-sufficient as I can. Couldn't grow a single thing this summer. Hottest and driest on record. It just all died. I was flat out keeping established trees alive.
Our average summer rainfall is about 500mm.
This summer we had 100. And most of that fell in one storm in Dec, so ran off.
Pattern of very much hotter and drier summers is becoming the new normal.

Also agree about unsustainable population growth being the main problem.
7.7billion people, increasing by 82million a year.

Every single one of those people, no matter how simply they live will require a portion of the Earth's resources to survive.

Personally I would love to see Australia's immigration rate halved and new migrants out to work on a nation building project focussed on revegetating Australia.

At least try and stabilise and build resilience into our own continent.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 3:33pm

Peter Andrews, "Back from the Brink" - all the answers you will need FR.

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Spuddups commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 4:51pm

Since the Aboriginal people have been in Australia for something like 50000 years I reckon that anyone who's turned up in the last 200 could be considered a "New immigrant" Something to think about anyway.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Sunday, 5 May 2019 at 1:35pm

probably 65 000 at least Spuddups.

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freeride76 commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 3:47pm

Yeah I haven't read it but my mate who runs cattle and chickens up on Hayters Hill behind Byron is having amazing success with regenerative agriculture.

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Blowin commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 5:57pm

We’ve turned 25 acres of ex - banana plantation into native Bush interspersed with fruit trees for a bit of success.

Same though Freeride, despite sem -regular night rains keeping most things alive , scratch the surface and the soil is bone dry. A lot of weaker trees died. Some species actually liked the rain distribution though. The avocados have more fruit than I’ve ever seen though currently small. Maybe the heat shocked them into production ?

The old locals reckon that there is more trees now than ever in the valley with more every year. Whether a single valley can affect the rainfall patterns is another thing.

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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 4:47pm

More trees now than ever in the valley?

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature22030

"Large historical growth in global terrestrial gross primary production"

From a respectable, approved source.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/science/carbon-dioxide-plant-growth-a...

NY times write up of same(another respectable source) ;) It's a golden time to be a mullie grower, fastest rates in last 54,000 years.

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freeride76 commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 5:11pm

More carbon dioxide might spur even more growth. But many climate models project that plants will suffer as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns shift. Despite the extra carbon dioxide, worldwide plant growth may fall, and plants will no longer help to buffer the impact of global warming.

“I’ve been referring to this as a carbon bubble,” Dr. Campbell said. “You see ecosystems storing more carbon for the next 50 years, but at some point you hit a breaking point.”

Thats the problem.

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tubeshooter commented Saturday, 4 May 2019 at 8:15pm

For the record , , I haven't gone as far as to discredit the research on wave heights . Just the assumption it's linked to climate change when other hypothesis haven't been included , and the researchers in this case admit no definitive conclusion as to the reasons why. This leaves the science open to argue and test several theories . The research may have been peer reviewed but a link to climate change hasn't.
As far as it being bigger and more consistent 'back in the day' .. that was a pisstake about every old legend you meet in a bar that hasn't surfed for 33 years ,

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Optimist commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 6:41am

Jesus said the waves would get bigger...And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Luke 21:25.
So give thanks to God daily for your life, Plant some trees and a garden to replenish the earth, build yourself a little power plant for your house and burn fuel only when you need to. Whether you care about the changing climate or not, personal global tidiness is what God expects from us.

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oldman commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 10:32am

Shit I said I would never get into one of these debates, but fuck it.
I agree with Indo, a more measured approach is required, but still necessary.
I am sure I read somewhere that a volcanic eruption has the same effect as 10? years of man made CO2, and I reckon there's been more activity lately than previous.

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Kellya commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 4:09pm

Oldman, definitely correct there. Volcanic eruptions have a massive influence on climate. Balanced, measured and calculated response to man made climate change is needed. What we are seeing now pushed by the Left is the exact opposite of what we need.

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blindboy commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 3:58pm

So do you really think that climate scientists have spent the last 50 years studying climate change (yep that's how long it has been a significant area of research) without it occurring to them that they should include the carbon dioxide from volcanic eruptions in their calculations? You are so far behind the research you should save yourself further embarrassment by avoiding the subject.

Laurie McGinness

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Kellya commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 4:08pm

Scientists look at lots of factors when researching climate change. Volcanic eruptions and the effect of Man are simply two of these factors. Sounds like we agree?

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blindboy commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 3:21pm

Well Oldman, I would balance your reckoning against the detailed records of eruptions, carbon dioxide levels and temperature provided by thousands of scientists in the latest IPCC report. Reckon what you like. Reality will continue on its own path happily ignoring your reckoning.

Laurie McGinness

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strawbs commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 3:58pm

My decades of direct observations for every single day in my diaries, show an actual decrease in swell size and events on the west coast of Vicco ,This is easy to see in my bar graphs i have made for our point/reef breaks , if swell size and storm activity was increasing in the southern ocean, it is bypassing my local area ,and maybe the swells travelling down further south towards tassie ? If it was just direction related i would see an increase in size and consistency on our west facing reefs/points and that isnt happening either. I dont have an argument against climate change , the sea is staying warmer for months longer than when i was young, and the kelp beds are no longer as prolific as they once were at my local , some of the reefs were almost unsurfable on low tide due to the kelp trying to rip out you fins, not any more ..

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blindboy commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 8:52pm

Interesting strawbs. How did you collect the data? From local buoys giving swell size, period and direction or from subjective personal observation? If the latter, you may well be right but scientists will consider it unreliable.

Laurie McGinness

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strawbs commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 4:04pm

My data is from observation, so it is subjective on swell size , but not on consistency, if a point or reef breaks X amount of times each year and graphed it is easy to see the difference over decades , how could that data be unreliable ? Isnt science based on observation ?, Wave bouys dont show the actual waves that hit our points or reefs , and direction on them can vary wildly on them under certain sea states ,tides etc , what the buoy shows isnt always what you get , they also stop working for weeks at a time , i dont have gaps in my records ..

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Blowin commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 9:15pm

A gentle reminder to the fools who preach their environmental caring whilst simultaneously advocating for continued mass immigration into Australia’s fragile ecosystem....get an act.

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/unparalleled-a-million-s...

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tango commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 9:38pm

Who's advocating for environmental care plus mass immigration?

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tango commented Monday, 6 May 2019 at 9:32pm

Well, you'd have to say that the vested interests and Murdoch press have done a fine job convincing normally rational people to disregard the qualified expert advice of a plethora of the world's emminently qualified scientists and instead accept a whole lot of bullshit disguised as science and explicitly designed to prevent threats to their income streams coming to fruition. Fuck me dead, where to start?

In September, the IPCC will release their latest report on the ocean and cryosphere. It's supposed to include ice sheet effects in the sea level rise range calculations, which has not been included before - the current figures indicate at least 0.8m of SLR by 2100 - and the number is widely expected to shoot up somewhat given the incredible volumes of water the major ice sheets contain. People like Jim Hansen at NASA have been predicting far higher SLR for a while now (just Google him) and nobody knows how to cope with these potential increases. Even a 1m rise in sea levels by 2100 would be a complete clusterfuck for the Australian coast, and it's something your grandkids may well witness. There's no good to come out of it, just pain.

I haven't seen any mention of the concept of inertia in the system. Even if we turned off the Co2/methane/gas tap tomorrow the amount already in the system still has a ways to run before temperatures peak. So our delaying of doing anything significant means that by the time we get our shit together things will already be much worse.

Sensible transition? What the fuck? I agree that we need to transition but you can't call the current quagmire a transition unless you're a fucking snail. A sensible transition would be to get on with decarbonising the economy pronto. Grasp the nettle and make a move. Give the people who rely on fossil fuel jobs a new start - it would be cheaper to do it now and in a planned way than wait til their market demigods decide they're going broke and shut things down with a few months notice.

Yes, we may be only 1% of the CO2 output, but surely we have a moral obligation to put shoulder to the wheel. You sound like my kids complaining about cleaning up the house. Not to mention that we could get on the front foot and develop the solutions and sell that IP or product to the rest of the world and cash in...nah fuck it, much easier we let the good old boys keep making their money.

More greenery? Oh, stop it.

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Terminal commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:58am

Here come the rebuttals from the consurfatives… "IPCC just pushing its leftist agenda etc. etc."

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indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 8:39am

Science should always be looking at every possibility and continually questioning things, unfortunately that's not what is happening scientist like Dr. Judith Curry have been pushed aside just for wanting to examine the bigger picture.

We have no idea what climate scientist really think because any view that doesn't tow the line is shut down or looses funding, that is not good science.

We have scandals like the Climate gate emails, where respected climate scientist have been busted fudging figures.

We cant even predict something we create properly like the Y2K bug, but somehow can accurately predict something as complex as climate change?

Not to mention something that has become so political, where funding generally comes from governments, where money is to be made or protected on both sides.

Not saying it's not as we think, it very well could be, but 10-20 years time we could also find things are much different to what we thought, its not even 100% that rise of C20 levels are causing warming, it could be some other factor. (C20 levels seem to follow warming, not the other way around)

That said is there any reason not to move to renewables?

No it makes complete sense, it makes complete sense to cut emission levels.

It's this radical religious end of the world hysteria panic thing, i have an issue with where common sense and a measured approach seems to be thrown out the window..(your post is a great example of this thinking)

Especially considering Australia makes up just over 1% of global emissions.

BTW. Just for the record, once again 100% cool with renewable energy, cutting emissions, im cool with having a electric car, just finished a big extension on my house and next step i want to get solar on my roof, im a tight arse, i drive a car that uses little fuel, and try to use as less electricity as possible.

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Westofthelake commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 9:35pm

"Sensible transition? What the fuck? I agree that we need to transition but you can't call the current quagmire a transition unless you're a fucking snail. A sensible transition would be to get on with decarbonising the economy pronto. Grasp the nettle and make a move. Give the people who rely on fossil fuel jobs a new start - it would be cheaper to do it now and in a planned way than wait til their market demigods decide they're going broke and shut things down with a few months notice."

Great stuff tango, couldn't agree more.

The time is now.

Now's the time.

Time will tell.

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tango commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 11:37am

I might disagree with you ID, but I respect your efforts at civility despite a few barbs.

Judith Curry - OK, it seems like you may have a valid point about some groupthink within climate science circles, but that can't be taken as conspiracy. The limited reading I have done on her suggests that her main concern has been the consideration of uncertainties for forecasting, but as a Science article points out that uncertainty cuts both ways and this appears to be something the sceptics can't quite get their heads around - the outcomes could be a lot worse than predicted, too. But they've just focused on the issue of uncertainty as a way to shoot the messenger instead.

I reckon you're over-egging it by thinking that any view which doesn't toe the line gets shut down. In my experience, the burden of proof is on the sceptic to produce evidence or to work within the scientific process to discredit poor science, but this doesn't seem to be the sceptics' modus operandi.

Climategate was pounced on by the sceptic community and Murdoch press to cause maximum angst prior to the Copenhagen climate summit. The University of East Anglia commissioned independent reviews into what happened and found that it was the openness of the scientists, not the integrity of their science, which was the problem. The result of the "scandal" (thanks Rupert) on the evolution of climate investigations was SFA, despite the best attempts of sceptics to beat it up and refer to it at every turn to undermine the entire field of climate science. People are still referring to it almost 10 years later to cast doubt on climate change itself, would you believe. You can read one of the reviews here - http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

In 10-20 years things may well be different, but I'm not quite sure how you see things getting better. I think you're confused with your need to blame man-made GHG emissions for 100% climate change....the fact is that the world is heating up and its having a range of impacts. The fact is that human emissions are having a lot to do with it. I'd like to see your source for the claim that CO2 follows warming, too. Even if there are natural variables driving part of the warming process, surely it makes sense to minimise emissions and transition carefully out.

I'm assuming you're familiar with the concept of risk management. Most risk assessment exercises rank risk according to its likelihood and consequence. Most organisations which have significant risks tend to address them to remove or at least minimise liability. Even if the sceptics are right and the likelihood of climate change occurring is less than we think, the consequences are still extreme. Anyone who thinks the benefits will outweigh the costs simply hasn't;t thought through the implications. So even if we have a low chance of it happening, it would still be categorised in any responsible process as a high, if not very high, if not extreme/catastrophic risk. And that requires action to head it off. If we only have a few years to avoid more than 1.5 degrees and the challenges that would unleash, we better get cracking. What I cannot get my head around is the apparent comfort of the sceptics to gamble that she'll be right. By the time they realise it's a bit of an issue we would all be truly buggered.

I don't see that as panic merchant, and I'm all in favour of "common sense and a measured approach" as you put it. But the measured approach you seem to suggest has no real measures which would deal with it effectively or in sufficient time to avert the possible consequences. Rather, it would keep everyone comfortable in their new extensions thinking about solar or an electric car to save some coin when power prices go berserk (thanks ScoMo). Common sense would align with the globally accepted risk approach and get the fuck on with it, rather than try and hang onto the lifestyle we have at all costs.

I take it you don't agree with the point about the 1% and getting Australia on the front foot to make as much $ as possible in the new economy? The rest of the word is on the job and we just export our brains and raw materials for them to sell back to us.

BTW, here's little tidbit which made the news yesterday about humanity's success wiping out the ecological capital of the planet and climate's role in that..... https://www.afr.com/news/policy/climate/un-says-1-million-species-at-ris....
But watch out, the study was only conducted by 150 scientists. I'm sure someone can find contradictory evidence on the benefits of climate change for blowflies which should offset any losses. I've tried to go after a non-leftie source hence the AFR link, but it's also in the Scone Advocate so it must be true.

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 12:00pm

Same study as was reported in the Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-...

I really can't see how we can turn this ship around. The problem is the human footprint is now too large for the planet to sustain.
And we are adding 82 million new human beings a year to the planet.

Guardian seems to think we will all be apples if we stop eating meat and turn all that grazing land into soybean farms so we can all become vegan.
Absolute fantasy.

The developing world is becoming developed and desiring and attaining western middle class lifestyles.
The western middle class lifestyle hoovers up vast amounts of resources.

The human society as a whole on Earth needs to move in exactly the opposite direction.

But who is going to do that?

Look around at your own middle class lifestyle. Will you, would you radically simplify it and live with far, far less than you have?
Of course not.
You''re not going to give up your surfboards, OS trips, home renovations, new cars, restuarant meals, trinkets, toys oversize houses: all the goodies of a modern middle class lifestyle.

Then how could you expect a billion Chinese and a billion Indians to go back to subsistence living?

The destructive pressures on the earth's ecosystems are only going to increase exponentially without a radical decrease in either western consumption or human population or both.

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:13pm

Indo climate models are tested against periods of known climate. They enter the data from a starting date, run the model and compare its results to what actually happened. As a generalisation they do pretty well.

In terms of biodiversity we are in the middle of a mass extinction triggered by humans. We have known that for some time. The consequences of this interact with climate change in numerous ways. Personally I think humans will solve these problems. The issue is the amount of damage we sustain until then. Fossil fuels are an out of date technology that has been kept going by the political power of the corporations who profit from them. In 50 years time, or sooner, they will be gone from all except a few niche uses. Petrol driven cars will be as common as horse and buggies are today and coal fired power plants will be long gone. We already have many of the technologies we need to solve many of our environmental problems and will develop others. The missing ingredient is political will ......... and that has already arrived in many parts of the world and is in the agenda in many others. Just remember that you live in a country wealthy enough to insulate you from the consequences of your behaviour by unloading them on to those less fortunate before ranting about immigration or minor local environmental issues.
The suggestion that part of the solution involves returning the populations of India and China to some sort of rural poverty is as offensive as it is impractical. India and China will move rapidly to more sustainable policies when they have stabilised their populations and achieved standards of living comparable to western nations. Until then remember China's pollution comes from manufacturing the goods you purchase

Laurie McGinness

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:33pm

I think you are absolutely dreaming BB if you think we can "technologise" our way out of this.
Even if every middle class home in Australia has an electric car and solar panels we are still going to exert tremendous pressure on the environment.

80000 people a year moving into Sydney, about the same into Melbourne. Massive white flight from the cities to the coastal regions.
Look around and count the bulldozers and new subdivisions.

That was all bushland that supported koalas, insects, birds etc etc.

Australia is at the frontline of extinctions. It will take a massive effort for one of our iconic species, the koala, not to go extinct in the next 50 years.

Will you take a cut - a massive cut- to your extravagant lifestyle to allow space for the massive increase in resource consumption 82million human beings a year will require?

That's the kind of commitment required. Not some wooly headed fantasy that some new technology will save us.

Or the even more bizarre delusion that billions of people moving from subsistence to middle class lifestyles in Asia will somehow live more sustainable lives because of it.

China's economy is becoming increasingly focussed on domestic consumption so to claim their pollution is a problem caused by manufacturing exports is a total non-sequitur.

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shoredump commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:33pm

Nothing is as certain as the inevitable population correction, and it ain’t gunna be pretty

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:51pm

I don't think Australia will go through a traumatic adjustment. Other places already are. As for my faith in technology all I can say is that I have studied biology over a long period and the things that are happening now in genetics have unbelievable potential to increase our food supply and decrease our reliance on chemical fertilisers. The "Green Revolution" prevented the global famines "experts" predicted in the 69s and 70s and we are now entering what I believe will be an even greater revolution in our ability to produce more, and better quality, food. The technologies to solve our energy issues are already well developed. Our environmental problems are over-whelmingly the result of abysmal management ........ I don't think we are stupid enough to persist in that direction. Maybe you do.

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 1:58pm

China has just committed to a conscious exponential increase of its population with the abolition of the One Child policy , the idea that their population will stabilise is fanciful indeed.

As is the idea that humans will be able to solve the problems of the impact of sheer volumes of numbers.

Get rid of every petrol engine and stop burning all coal if you can , but nothing will mitigate the destruction and depletion of every resource and environment the Earth contains in order to house , feed , transport and accommodate billions more people.

The concept of risk management and the precautionary principle gets a great deal of attention when discussing comprehensive alterations to our lives in order to circumvent climate change , yet the same principles don’t seem to apply to the number of humans that Australia could or should support.

Then it’s a case of fingers crossed and let’s hope for the best.

Too much at stake for that line of thinking.

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:20pm

So BB puts his faith in GMO's and "management".
Refuses to commit to any changes in his own extravagant use of finite planetary resources.

'kay.

Meanwhile, China and India, Ranked first and third in global emissions are massively ramping up coal fired power plant production, both locally and globally and have huge burgeoning populations migrating to the middle class which requires a huge uptake in resources.

It's weird how a bloke so seemingly educated is so adept at putting his head in the sand.

The Green revolution , lol, that massive dependency on fossil fuel based fertilisers and pesticides has diminished the productivity and fertility of soil profiles worldwide.

There's no free lunches BB.

You've studied Biology and you don't understand that basic bio-physical fact?

Let me put it another way.

X is the planet.

X divided by 7.7billion is the current division of the earths resources.

X divided by 10 billion is the current division in 30-50 years time.

So I'll put it to you again. Are you and your Grandkids prepared to live a vastly simpler life that consumers vastly fewer resources?

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shoredump commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 2:31pm

The future doesn’t stop in 50 years either. Keep going...

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 3:09pm

UNAMBIGUOUS

Scientists based their findings on the worsening in conservation status of species between 1996 and 2008 on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

The IUCN red list uses a series of categories to rank how close a species is to extinction, from “least concern” through to “extinct in the wild”.

Of the 109 countries studied, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China and the United States (primarily Hawaii) also ranked inside the top seven as the worst offenders on conservation…

“Once you actually work out [which country] might have been responsible for the loss of diversity, Australia is standing there at number two,” Dr Waldron said.

“I knew there were a lot of threatened species in Australia, but I didn’t realise things were getting worse so quickly”…

They identified key pressures on biodiversity loss to be agricultural development and increasing population.

This report supports another released in December 2016, which found that Australia was the worst performing developed nation with regards to habitat loss, driven by land clearing for pasture, agriculture and urbanisation.

It also follows the latest federal government State of the Environment report. which found that Australia’s natural environment is being placed under acute strain from rapid population growth and economic activity:

The federal government’s State of the Environment 2016 report (prepared by a group of independent experts, which I chaired), released today, predicts that population growth and economic development will be the main drivers of environmental problems such as land-use change, habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change…

We continue to lose agricultural lands through urban encroachment. Over the past five years land-clearing rates stabilised in all states and territories except Queensland, where the rate of clearing increased.

Coastal waterways are threatened by pollutants, including microplastics and nanoparticles…

Population growth in our major cities, along with Australia’s reliance on private cars, is leading to greater traffic volumes, which increase traffic congestion and delays as well as pollution…

In 2010, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) called for Australia’s population to be stabilised and nominated human population growth as a “key threatening process” to Australia’s biodiversity.

Well-known environmentalist and former Australian of the Year recipient, Professor Tim Flannery, has estimated that the long-term human carrying capacity of the Australian continent and Tasmania might be as low as 8 million to 12 million people and has many times called for the nation’s population to be stabilised.

In 1994, when Australia’s population was just under 18 million, the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) convened a symposium on the future population of Australia. Its analysis was extended to Australia’s resources of water, minerals and arable land, and the interactions between present lifestyle and present environmental damage, and between future expectations and the costs of increasing population.

The AAS cautioned that “if our population reaches the high end of the feasible range (37 million), the quality of life of all Australians will be lowered by the degradation of water, soil, energy and biological resources” and concluded that “the quality of all aspects of our children’s lives will be maximised if the population of Australia by the mid-21st Century is kept to the low, stable end of the achievable range, i.e. to approximately 23 million”. Just 22 years later, Australia has already breached 24 million, thus exceeding the AAS’ recommended maximum population.
International organisations and commentators, too, have raised alarm at population growth’s impacts on the environment.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has nominated human population growth as the key risk factor for endangered species, noting that “the current rate of extinctions is 100 times what would be considered normal without the impact of human activity… more of us means more of that” (see below graphic).

ScreenHunter_15830 Nov. 01 17.55
And recently, legendary documentary maker, David Attenborough, nominated population growth as the most fundamental issue facing the world.

So why does The Guardian Australia so wholeheartedly endorse this population-driven mass extinction event by refusing point black to ever discuss reducing immigration without labelling everybody who does so a “racist”?

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 3:11pm

“They identified key pressures on biodiversity loss to be agricultural development and increasing population.”

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 3:21pm

Funny BB mentioned the Green Revolution as an example of human ingenuity being able to support the human impact on the planet.

Norman Borlaug, one of the chief architects of the green revolution, who got a Nobel Prize for it said in his acceptance speech: "The green revolution has won a temporary success in man's war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise the success of the green revolution will be ephemeral only. Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the "Population Monster"...Since man is potentially a rational being, however, I am confident that within the next two decades he will recognize the self-destructive course he steers along the road of irresponsible population growth..."

Meanwhile fantasists and denialists place their confidence in GMO's and better management.

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 4:52pm

The only known way to stabilise populations is to increase their standard of living. There have been dire predictions about population growth since the time of Malthus and they have never come true. I don't believe they will this time either. Given the obvious truth that population is going to increase, at least until 2100, and no-one can prevent it, what exactly do you suggest? Stock up on canned goods and keep your shotgun loaded? You can bleat all you like but reality is we need to get serious about environmental management, to limit climate change and maintain biodiversity. If you think that either of those objectives can be achieved without technology then you're fooling yourselves.

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:03pm

You don’t believe the dire predictions about population will come true ?

What do you think is causing the mass extinctions of animals ? What do you think is causing climate change ?

And it’s not rocket science to stabilise Australian population growth, just reduce immigration.

Serious question......are you pretending to be this ignorant for giggles?

Don’t you think it’s strange that on one hand you are advocating criminal charges against those who question or remain ambivalent about climate change , yet you insist on arguing from the opposite side of the fence on the complimentary issue of population without a hint of irony ?

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:09pm

We could stabilise Australian population growth, rewild/revegetate large portions of our country and reverse species extinction/biodiversity loss and get to work on our own emissions.

Then, acknowledging that our 1% of emissions is going to do five-eighths of Fuckall to affect human induced climate change, we can at least act as some kind of beacon to China/India.

Australia needs to get on top of it's own extinction crisis first and while our immigration rate is roughly double the long term average that is simple not going to happen.

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factotum commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:19pm

Sorry to interrupt the erm, discussion, but here I go...

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/07/tony-abbott-bet-me...

And this bloke was our Prime Minister!?

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indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:25pm

Ha ha this is gold, BB is a population growth skeptic.

One thing for certain is population growth.

1960 earths population was at 3 billion people, it is now 7.7 billion people.

It's the main driver of almost every major problem in the world and things are going to get worse with the merging middle class in developing nations.

Personally i have more concern about this issue.

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indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:27pm

BTW. I agree with pretty much everything Freeride has said here..

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:30pm

Oh and BB, I'll ask you directly, for a third time.

Are you prepared to simplify/reduce consumption in your life to consume fewer resources?

Your silence is deafening.

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AndyM commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:39pm

Blindboy has sold his luxury Sydney apartment and is living the good life on the South Coast, thank you very much.

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tango commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 5:52pm

I'm with you 110% on the population growth issue. Not about the issue of racism per se, as I'm not convinced immigration is the main game at least for Australia. Key issue is the increasing aspiration to much higher living standards and particularly material wealth to emulate rich prats like us. And our own desire for better, more, fancier, disposable crap. That's knocking the carrying capacity concept for 6 and out of the ground.

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 6:02pm

freeride, I don't feel any obligation to answer your questions but since you insist.

Ah yes the hippie approach, the guilt driven concept that we must suffer for our environmental sins........ yes we should all move to a small patch of fertile north coast hinterland, grow our own food, ride our horse to the beach, wear hemp clothes, ride bamboo surfboards and generally behave like some sort of 17th century serf ........ total contribution to the environmental problems facing us? Three fifths of fuck all. But go for it if it makes you feel better. Me, I enjoy my lifestyle and see no reason to change it, certainly not for the kind of anachronistic group think that populates these forums.
The real solutions are at the corporate and governmental level and they will come. In the meantime the efforts of individuals to minimise their environmental footprints are largely irrelevant. People install solar panels because it makes economic sense. They will soon drive electric cars for the same reason. Air fares will rise because they will depend on fossil fuels for a bit longer than other technologies .......... and my personal contribution will be to follow the economic incentives, continue my work in environmental education and vote for responsible government.

Laurie McGinness

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tango commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 8:36pm

As a helpful aside at this most desperate time for the country, here's a few nice little articles from Michael West's website about what has actually been happening with the Coalition's wonderful economic management.
https://www.michaelwest.com.au/?s=debt
Worth a quiz if anyone is seriously interested in responsible government....or flagrant hypocrisy, for that matter.

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 6:07pm

No, would have sufficed.

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 6:19pm

Works in environmental education and doesn’t think that stabilising the local population would be the single most effective action possible to arrest the destruction of the domestic environment.

I hope he’s not doing anything more important than cleaning the staff room shithouse.

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 6:50pm

Thinks that instead of cutting consumption we can both raise population levels and raise consumption per person.

And that somehow with 10 billion people all living western lifestyles GMO and management will save the Planet.

It's literal madness.

I swear sometimes I think BB is just trolling.

But yeah, god help us if this is what kids are being taught as environmental education.

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 7:15pm

Yeh another exponent of the strawman!

Laurie McGinness

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 7:20pm

No, not really BB.

I think your argument, at least as you have presented is such BS, I doubt your sincerity.

A strawman is an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent's real argument.

No one is doing that.

But if we are misrepresenting your position feel free to clear it up.

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velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 7:24pm

If this is trolling, it is absolute genius. But I don't think so. But if it was...

"we need to get serious about environmental management, to limit climate change and maintain biodiversity."

I think everyone here would agree with at least 2 of those. It's a surfing forum. You must realise the link between loss of biodiversity and land clearing, and must see the link between population growth and land clearing?

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velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 7:26pm

"Me, I enjoy my lifestyle and see no reason to change it,"

Hey, me too. And Blowin, and Tango. And China, and the US, and India.

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tango commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 8:21pm

Guilty as charged.

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 7:31pm

Yeh well if that was what you took from my post then you need to improve your comprehension. My position was clearly stated above. If you want to reduce it to "GMO and management" yep, that's a strawman. Doubt my sincerity all you like I have spent 40 years teaching about these issues and believe that the work done by myself and my colleagues is having a huge political impact. So you want to call me out and imply that I don't know what I am talking about then what have you done? What's your contribution been?

Laurie McGinness

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 7:43pm

So OK I will make a great contribution to reducing my emissions and turn off the wifi. Enough of Smugville for one day. Feel free to chat amongst yourselves and validate your group think.

Laurie McGinness

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 8:05pm

"Doubt my sincerity all you like I have spent 40 years teaching about these issues and believe that the work done by myself and my colleagues is having a huge political impact."

If true, could you elaborate.
Asking in good faith.

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velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 8:40pm

A good teacher introduces topics, then challenges their students, then sees them examine, master or reach some conclusion on a task. You have done this over the years, so thank you. The old climate change thread that got pulled sent me (suddenly with a lot of free time) off on a mission to try to qualify one of the arguments... I ended up going way beyond a groupthink response, so many different influences and data points, from so many different disciplines. This all goes way beyond a single, closed system. And it will be tumultuous. What a time to be alive.

https://phys.org/news/2008-09-ulysses-spacecraft-solar-shield-lowering.html

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AndyM commented Tuesday, 7 May 2019 at 11:35pm

"We could stabilise Australian population growth, rewild/revegetate large portions of our country and reverse species extinction/biodiversity loss and get to work on our own emissions.

Then, acknowledging that our 1% of emissions is going to do five-eighths of Fuckall to affect human induced climate change, we can at least act as some kind of beacon to China/India.

Australia needs to get on top of it's own extinction crisis first..."

This would be my preferred plan of attack and you can also add greatly increased levels of foreign aid.

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velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 12:41am

Bigger waves, bigger storms. This paper should be a cracker, the science is evolving:

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2018JA026425

From the abstract:

"A comprehensive study of all superstorms (minimum Dst ≤ ‐250 nT) occurring during the space age (after 1957) and their interplanetary and solar causes has been performed. Most superstorms were driven solely by the sheath preceding an interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) or by a combination of the sheath and an ICME magnetic cloud (MC). "

This tends to suggest the sun affects weather throughout the atmospheric profile in a very direct, time sensitive way. Creating extremes. Something that I do not believe any of the models take into account. Could the increasing extremes, both hot and cold, perhaps have extraplanetary inputs as well?

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truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 1:51am

velocityjohnno's heart of the Sun Surf Safari shines a light on the meaning of life.
So! Earth is a supersized solar powered Wave Pool for a megalithic alien race...
Naturally Huey must be a giant alien Wave Pool Boy...(Pure genius velocityjohnno!)

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mick-burnside commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 7:48am

For those who are interested in human impact on our oceans.....get hold of a book called Oceans End by Colin Woodard, originally published in 2000......There has been a lot of discussion about how we impact the planet on this chat line.....it is a very confronting book.

mick b

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 8:38am

There are a few things I could change but since my footprint is already pretty far below the national average and has been for most of the last 40 years, I am not highly motivated. I make no judgement about people with larger footprints. The point I have repeatedly made over several years in these forums is that the actions of governments and corporations are the major determinants of our national footprint.

In this regard there are two actions that ARE important for individuals. The first is to vote with environmental issues in mind and the second is to put your money where your mouth is on these issues. Donate to charities which either lobby governments or act directly to address the issues that concern you. If you are seriously concerned about population growth you should be donating to charities that support women's education and provide contraception to them in high growth areas. There are charities working in most areas of environmental concern.

One of the major reasons my footprint is small is that I have lived a significant part of my adult life in apartments. Apartments, as a generalisation, are highly energy efficient. Select one with a northerly aspect in a coastal area and the need for heating or cooling is near zero. There was an air conditioner in the apartment we sold. We had to turn it on when we put the place on the market to check that it worked. For heating we had a small blow heater that we used a few times a year.

The other huge environmental benefit of apartments is that they reduce the land needed for residential development. Our previous block of 10 was on land that once held a single family home. Our current home is a townhouse in a group of 6 on the equivalent of two suburban blocks. The sprawl of cities and towns into remaining bush reduces biodiversity and has been a significant factor in the decline of numerous species. The environmental impact of a free standing home can vary considerably and some might approach the energy efficiency of apartments but they cannot compete with apartments in the critical matter of land use.

Much worse than the free standing home though is the single dwelling on acreage. This has a huge local impact on biodiversity. The only justification for living on acreage is if it is used for commercial, productive, sustainable agriculture. The hippie ideal of self sufficiency on acreage is a disaster for biodiversity. It results in the clearance of bush with the inevitable loss of habitat. Very often dogs are kept with the specific purpose of driving reptiles away. If other animals are kept their faeces adds nutrients to the soil which advantage weeds over native species and potentially pollute local waterways. Add to these issues the travel caused by their relatively isolated location, as often as not in some diesel burning behemoth, and their footprint is huge.

Another reason my footprint is small is that I don't do much driving. In Sydney the majority of my driving was to work and back, usually in a car pool. I have always done the bulk of my surfing close to home and with rare exceptions, have never been inclined to drive long distances to go to other breaks. That is still my approach.

In recent years I have done quite a bit of air travel but spread that over a longer period and it is much less than most surfers I know. At the moment I have no plan to go anywhere. I have seen the horrendous impact of tourism in a few places and know that it is a widespread problem. I don't feel the need to contribute.

I have also been teaching about biodiversity and climate change for over 40 years and still work as a volunteer in the local high school. The generations I have taught with my colleagues are the voters who will throw out this government, those kids in the street include my ex-students.

As I said before I make no moral judgements about the way other people choose to live. You can have your bush block your diesel Troopy and your regular trips to the tropics ........ but try not to pretend that you are in anyway environmentally responsible. Now save some energy, wifi off.

Laurie McGinness

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indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 9:22am

"The first is to vote with environmental issues in mind"

I think the point of many here is you are not really voting with environmental issues in mind when you don't acknowledge the main factor behind all our problems, population growth and come across as having an open borders mindset.

The best way you can vote to preserve Australia's environment is to vote for a party who's main focus is tackling and bringing to light the issue around unsustainable population growth.

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goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 9:28am

“Our previous block of 10 apartments was on land that once held a single family home. “

Sorry blindboy but how anyone can think this is a good thing has me stumped.

Better than one house on a block with veggies, fruit trees, chooks, lawn for back yard cricket, dogs, basketball ring, indigenous gardens and trees, room for kids to play and run around, have friends over, make cubbies, play music..

Instead get rid of that and build an apartment block so 10 times the amount of people can live in the same sized plot of land? Sorry that just makes me sad to think anyone can think that is a better way to live your life.

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shoredump commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 9:33am

World wide 1 child policy, or 2 would do it thanks to attrition, and world wide clean renewables, or face the repercussions. It has to be now as well. Well done and thank you BB for your years of service. I too believe that effective change can only be achieved from the top. I want my hotel wifi and lights to run on clean renewables. The reality is that none of us here are willing to give up everything. My Green vote has been tossed aside for decades. The trend & the pattern says it clearly. We are fooked, as far as our standard of living is concerned. Any positive outcome remains well and truely a dream. Survival as a species will become our new goal.

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 2:10pm

goofy, Australia's population is increasing. Fact. It will continue to increase for the forseeable future. Fact. You might not like it but a majority of Australians do. There may be a majority for reducing immigration. There has never been a majority for stopping it.

Those who go on and on and on and on and on and on, about immigration being the problem are welcome to try and persuade the electorate that it should be stopped but to date they haven't been very successful and there seems very little hope that they will succeed any time soon. So we can follow your suggestion and increase our emissions and further reduce our already seriously depleted biodiversity. Or we can continue to build apartments. As for the backyard, veggies, cricket and all that. Many medium density areas now have allotments available to those who want them, and cricket with all the locals in the park beats the hell out of smashing your little brother's bowling into the next door neighbour's yard all afternoon.

So you can plan an area with medium density apartments that are energy efficient and create a large enough population to support efficient public transport. Or you can clear more land, with the problems that causes for biodiversity, and house people further away from employment and services in less energy efficient homes so that they do more driving as they will then be spread so thinly effective public transport is impossible.
You can say that you much prefer this arrangement but you cannot claim it is environmentally sound and as large numbers of people prefer medium density, you have no right to tell people how they should live.

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:44pm

You know what’s alarming about Blindboy’s post ?

Not that it’s a litany of bullshit built on a foundation of wishful delusions, that’s par for the course. No, it’s the realisation that it’s clowns like him who are educating the next generations.*

Of course stabilising population growth would be the single most effective way to curb environmental destruction of Australia. Only a fool would consider publicly arguing against such an incontrovertible fact.

As the majority of Australians have shown in polling time and again , they are craving the opportunity to take the issue to an election , but the duopoly major party consortium refuses outright to allow it.

Australian Population Research Institute: 54% want lower immigration;
Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high;
Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year; and
CIS: 65% in the highest decile and 77% in the lowest believe that immigration should be cut or paused until critical infrastructure has caught up.

In the meantime, it behoves everyone to act in the manner they think the environment DESERVES.

Why would a thinking adult need to wait till they’ve been forced by political or economic coercion to act in a responsible manner ?

If you saw see a beach in Indonesia covered in rubbish do you make sure not to throw your rubbish on it as well, or would you do it anyway because the government wasn’t dictating how you should act ?

Blindboy sees no need for personal responsibility. He’d be throwing his garbage everywhere and smiling, saying that he will stop when the government MAKES him stop.

This is some childish shit.

When it’s pointed out that every action , no matter how small , contributes to the greater good AND sets an example for others in order to create a thoughtful culture , Blindboy insists it’s a waste of time as our contribution is so small . But then he makes a big deal out of saying that although Australia’ s contribution to climate change is tiny , we should be doing what we can in order to do our part and to also lead by example .......am I the only person aware of a disconnect here ?

The same person believes that an acreage revegetated with native habitat and fruit trees and a veggie patch using household compost is more detrimental to the environment than a block of flats full of people who’s monoculture raised veggies are delivered in a freezer truck to an energy sucking supermarket which they drive to daily.

This is the “ science “ our future cohort is exposed to. Thank god most children know that school teachers are 90 percent morons. I suppose that’s what you get when teaching hasn’t been respected as a profession for a century and the entry requirements are so low that it’s a magnet for those not mentally qualified for much else.

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goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:21pm

Ahhh go easy on the teachers mate, my mum and my wife are primary school teachers hehehe

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Blowin commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:41pm

Guaranteed they’re in the ten percent who aren’t insufferably patronising fascists.

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goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:19pm

I’m not telling people how they should live, I’ve got no right to do that. I just don’t agree with your idea of apartment block living being a better way of life. You do make some good points, but I’m currently building a house on a quarter acre block with all the things I’ve mentioned to raise a family on it. You couldn’t pay me enough to change that to apartment living.
It’s my dream that One day I’ll be able to afford a couple of acres with an abundant supply of all the things I mentioned and even have a little organic veggie selling business going on the side. Long term goals but hopefully achievable one day.

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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:36pm

BB's thinking and prescriptions fall broadly in line with the school of thought known as eco-modernity.

Which posits that to save the environment we basically need to remove as many human beings from nature as possible, urbanise them in medium/high density housing and feed them with industrial agriculture.
It seeks technological answers to environmental problems - like the Green Revolution.

Problem is, shoving people away in little boxes, as well as being an overwhelmingly grim and bleak prospect for large segments of humanity, might reduce some of the per capita emissions of people but as a nett effect on resource consumption it is own very shaky ground.
Externalities like food and "stuff" need to be shipped in, and urbanites tend to consume a lot of stuff.
Waste and landfill need to shipped out and dealt with outside the area.

Accepting increasing population growth because no political party currently has it as a policy prescription seems incredibly feeble-minded and defeatist.
You could use exactly the same logic, but with more rigour , as a reason not to support the decarbonisation of the economy.

Reducing environmental load by stabilising population would have immediate positive effects on our biodiversity/extinction crisis.

Reducing our emissions will have negligible effect on climate change.

The other problem with cramming people into medium density of course is that it doesn't really solve land clearing problems at all....because as density increases those who seek a better quality of life shift outwards, including into the regions.
All it does is shift the problem.

It's an incredibly bleak and depressing prospect for humanity, and almost inconceivable a surfer would be the one spruiking it.
Basically the neo-liberal wet dream.....boxed up consumers living on top of each other all committed to the economic growth model.

That really the best idea we've got? Shove 'em all in little boxes and hope the governments and corporations will save us?

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 4:58pm

Well freeride, given the absolute certainty of Australia's population increasing for many decades to come, what exactly are you suggesting? At some point you need to explain where all these people are going to live and how their environmental impacts might be managed. You cannot wish population growth away and base your opinions in it not happening .... well not if you want to be taken seriously.
The other thing that comes through really strongly is your complete contempt for people who do not want to live the way you live. Surprise, surprise, many people much prefer apartment living. Single people, couples, young adults sharing. It is not everybody's idea of a perfect Sunday to spend half the day mowing the lawns. There are huge advantages in apartment living for those with broader interests than growing veggies, home maintenance and relative real estate values. Your assertions about apartments not solving the land clearing problem are against all available evidence. Without the huge increase in apartments Sydney would now cover a huge area of the Cumberalnd plain and have caused widespread land clearance on the Central Coast. And you just keep going back to the idea that the population will somehow stabilise. Get used to it. It's not happening. Given that, your approach is environmentally catastrophic. Let's stick to the real world eh? Eco-modernist? Yeh I'm happy with that. Better than reactionary rural fantasist.

Laurie McGinness

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Craig commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:03pm

Hopefully the right place, but this is a must watch. The tentacles of the pro-coal industry infiltrating into Australian politics is much worse than I realised. Go to 3:23-4:04 for immediate impact :( Incredible work by Michael West and Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:07pm

I'm suggesting a population growth stabilisation which is far, far easier than a transition to a decarbonised economy, a kind of green new deal to deal with biodiversity/extinction, a focus on renegerative agriculture as well as getting to work on our own emissions.

No drama if young people prefer apartments in the city.....but it seems a pretty natural human reaction to get the fuck out of there when they realise their kids are growing up surrounded by concrete.

Which is exactly what is happening.

I don't think the population will "somehow" stabilise.

I think there is a popular democratic impulse and desire for that to happen but manor parties are too beholden to the neo-liberal growth project to entertain it.

That doesn't mean it can't or couldn't happen.

You sure are a guy of limited imagination when it comes to politics.

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:24pm

Well anything could happen, but some things, like an increasing population, are overwhelmingly probable and need to be factored into planning. The area I live in has its first multi-storey apartment block under construction. At the same time there is a huge area of tall wet Eucalypt forest being clear felled to house roughly the same number. From my perspective trying to argue that the clear felling is the preferable form of development has no credibility at all. What do you reckon?

Laurie McGinness

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Blowin commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:50pm

China stabilised their population with a birth quota.

It just takes a bit of that government authoritarianism you’re so fond of.

I’m not sure why you are so glibly dismissive of seeing a solution to our problems in this direction.

As for the clear felling .....you realise that detached houses get surrounded by trees once they’re established ?

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tango commented Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 6:09pm

They might be surrounded by trees, but an urban block reveg is never the same as an original or even modified forest environment. There's nowhere near the veg biodiversity, the soil structure has been destroyed and the whole ecology has been completely disrupted and changed. Not to mention the hiatus of construction and establishment. Or the need for most eucalypt forests to grow for many years to develop hollows, promote soil fungi, develop understory, etc which provide the habitat/food/symbiosis for other species.

I live on a quarter acre in the middle of town, but it isn't sustainable. I'm with BB re medium density as the only way forward if population can't be controlled (and I reckon it's easier to move everyone to Atlantis than it would be to get the various religious to agree to curbing their procreation) - but you need proper green spaces and collective responsibility. Buggered if I know how you do that last bit.

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velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 5:32pm

Dad was one of the idealistic young town planners of the early 1960s, and they were all quite the fans of Le Corbusier and the modernist versions of creating an open space and cramming people into the sky, in short a pretty close version of what is being advocated here.

By the early 90's I was living around these things as a young person, and by the early 2000s I was a young building surveyor working on these sites... or what was left of them. The drug use, the vandalism, the grafitti, domestic violence; a strong pervasiveness of anomie; a people removed from their outside environment despite it being laid out all around them to play in theory. I asked Dad "What were you guys thinking?! Have you seen how these places turned out?" He replied that prior to the highrises, the working classes had lived in medium density slums without the same standards of amenity, and that disease had spread, and that these highrises were a big improvement.

This is le Corbusier's brutal idealism being advocated once again.

https://orangeticker.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/le-corbusier-how-a-utopic-...

"Le Corbusier was so sure of architecture’s role in social transformation that he proclaimed “Architecture or Revolution”, by which he meant that revolution is inevitable unless Paris adopted his design plan, The Radiant City."

Sound familiar?

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freeride76 commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 11:18am

The conversation has progressed somewhat on here.

BB at the least now is prepared to entertain a purely environmental objection to record population growth in Australia.
Thing is, record population growth in Australia is almost entirely due to record levels of immigration; so slowing or reducing the rate of growth would be as easy as a political decision.
We don't have any religious or cultural barriers to overcome in that respect.

Looks like BB is right though. There is no appetite for this. There is absolutely zero conversation in this election campaign about the impact of pop. growth on our environment.
Record rates of immigration and hence population growth seemed baked in by both majors and the Greens.

Any person travelling up and down the East coast will see the result of that. Bulldozers everywhere.
Everywhere I see people complaining about over-development and the political answer offered is more development. A perpetual cycle of bulldozers and concrete engaged in some kind of Quixotic quest to get infrastructure to keep up with population growth.
Meanwhile, there's a fair chance Koalas will become extinct or close enough to it in NSW in our lifetimes. Fucking Koalas!

This has been called a Climate Election. A time to take action on Climate Change. Which is great except for the utter futility of the premise. Apart from mitigation and adaptation, even if Australia cuts to zero emissions we will not have an effect on climate change.

We could have an impact on extinction rates and biodiversity loss however. We could easily do something about that.

I have to admit though: if high population is baked in then about the best we can do is pack everyone in boxes, medium density style.

I'd like to see the immigration rate roughly halved for ten years back to the long term average. Then, a Royal Commission into the effects of population growth: environmental and economic.
And if our economic miracle is based on record population growth then Australia has some serious thinking to do about it's future sustainability.

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Blowin commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 11:29am

I don’t give a rat’s arse if the city urbanites live with 50 people sleeping upright in a shipping container.

It’s when the government starts applying economic pressures to force everyone to relinquish their choice to not live like this in order to accommodate more and more people in Australia that shit gets ugly.

Which they will. Guaranteed.

It’ll be congestion tax in the cities , reduced fishing bag limits , reduction in access to wilderness areas and desalinated water for everyone.

And every loss we take in order to shoehorn in another million consumers won’t even make a dent in the ongoing and accelerating decline in the state of our environment.

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freeride76 commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 11:34am

at least we'll all be driving electric cars.

I mean checking carbon neutral phones made from recycled plastic while the cars drive themselves.

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Blowin commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 11:46am

There actually is cultural barriers to reducing immigration now.

Uncapped parental visas as lobbied by ethnic voting blocs attest to that.

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blindboy commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 12:01pm

"We could have an impact on extinction rates and biodiversity loss however. We could easily do something about that.

I have to admit though: if high population is baked in then about the best we can do is pack everyone in boxes, medium density style."

I really don't get this contempt for apartment dwellers. They are not packed in boxes. They choose to live in a way that suits them. For example, going back to the two local developments I mentioned. Those buying in the land cleared area will be 3-4 kilometres from shops and beaches and will be driving almost every time they walk out the door. They will have no view and only a small percentage will have a straight north or north east aspect. Those buying an apartment will walk out of the block and be 100m from the centre of town and within a kilometre of a variety of beaches and reefs. Most of the apartments will have north or north east aspects and many will have spectacular views along the coast. So maybe if you have two or three school aged children the apartments would be too small for you. Even so there are quite a few townhouse developments in similarly convenient locations. As I said I make no moral judgement on those who prefer a free standing house or a bush block, but the put downs of people who choose differently just suggest some kind of deep seated anxiety. I mean, why do you feel that need?

If we factor in the effects of the land clearing, as tango pointed out, it has permanently destroyed an ecosystem. We have no way of knowing exactly what was lost in that process. Just considering animal species, the best estimate is that only around 20% have been classified. The figure is much lower for other groups. If biodiversity is important to you then you should be encouraging medium and high density development, not slagging off those who choose to live in them.

Laurie McGinness

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freeride76 commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 12:10pm

Not slagging off the people who live in them BB.

You seem to be missing my whole point.

You accuse others of employing strawman tactics, that is exactly what you are doing here.

Anyhow, it's there above if you want to re-read. I can't be bothered re-typing it.

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Blowin commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 12:23pm

Tango’s post describing the clearing for houses failed to realise that the environment may never be the same as pre-development but there will still be vegetation and habitat of some form opposed to the complete destruction of the landscape as wrought by higher density living. This is the important part when combating climate change and extinction. Trees and vegetation prevent the heat soak generated by urban environments.

https://www.heritage.org/environment/report/nature-the-suburbs

And to declare that rehabilitation of clear felled environments is impossible is completely wrong. As I’ve said , we revegetated an acreage which was previously monocultural banana plantation. By considered plantings we have managed to turn it into a menagerie. Two koalas (at least ) amongst a host of red necked wallabies ,swamp wallabies , bandicoots,echidnas and multitudes of other mammals , birds , reptiles and insects now call the it home. Trees and plants were consciously selected as animal food and habitat.

It’s more than possible....it’s fricken unreal.

PS Blindboy - did you just assume that your old apartment was representative of every apartment building development in Australia?

Pretty sure that “ most “ apartments aren’t within a hundred metres of the shops and the beach. Or North facing .

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 2:52pm

It's a shame we're arguing over keyboards, would be much easier over a beer.

Well you're correct that there will be some form of habitat if you replant, and it will benefit some species. But to suggest that it won't wreck the intricate ecosystem built up over considerable time, and won't affect the interactions of those systems with adjacent systems....really? It sounds like you see a few easy-to-spot animals and then assume things are intact. That sounds like something Clive or Pauline would say.

Destruction from high density? I can't follow that one if you consider good medium/high density design, which you may not find in many examples in Australia. For example, if you take a few hectares of land and build high density on the lowest ecological value 10% portion of it, take another 10% for infrastructure and the like and leave 80% of it containing the high conservation value intact, surely that's a better outcome than free-standing dwellings on 500m lots?

Trees and veg are definitely important for reducing heating in urban settings. But the modified outcome of a few trees for shade which you describe has little ecological benefit which would go anywhere near addressing extinctions. Sure, you'll see a few magpies and maybe even a tawny, but that'll be about it. You can encourage wildlife back in, you can promote native veg, but at the end of the day it can't hold a candle to an intact natural system.

Your citation of a report by the Heritage Foundation doesn't really sell your argument, either - they're not exactly sustainability-prone and would appear to be a wolf in sheep's clothing:
"The mission of The Heritage Foundation is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."
Doesn't sound like much of a progressive outfit to me. And the report seems to look at icon species and not ecosystems issues, but I must admit I read the first couple of paragraphs and smelt something fishy and I'm too busy working with facts to read shit like that. I'd posit that it says how great development is because it displaces animals and forces them to look for food/shelter in modified environments and now we get to see them, so conditions must be terrific for all the critters. Or maybe it is full of sound evidence-based science. If you post something from a reputable source I'll do my best to read it.

Good on you for the rehab of the banana plantation, too. I'm sure it's made a massive difference to the monoculture that was there before and subject to all sorts of poor practice (though I'm aware banana growers have come a long way in recent years). While you must have made a serious investment in that and great improvements, you cannot seriously suggest that it would be ecologically on par with an undisturbed forest, though. That's where you're missing the point - rehabilitating a piece of land which has been butchered isn't anything like clearing an undisturbed veg community and turning the soil profile over, eroding soil, changing the drainage, altering groundwater, clearing the microfauna out and then planting a few trees amongst the hydrangeas to shade the house in summer. That's trying to compare apples and oranges. The former takes a 1/10 place up to a 5/10, the latter takes a 10/10 to a 3 if you're lucky. I didn't say rehab was impossible, and if I did I've made a mistake - rehab to a certain standard is certainly possible, but getting something back to what it was after disturbance is impossible in our human timeframes. You need a bit more water under the bridge to achieve that.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 2:53pm

It's a shame we're arguing over keyboards, would be much easier over a beer.

Well you're correct that there will be some form of habitat if you develop housing and then replant, and it will benefit some species. But to suggest that it won't wreck the intricate ecosystem built up over considerable time, and won't affect the interactions of those systems with adjacent systems....really? It sounds like you see a few easy-to-spot animals and then assume things are intact. That sounds like something Clive or Pauline would say.

Destruction from high density? I can't follow that one if you consider good medium/high density design, which you may not find in many examples in Australia. For example, if you take a few hectares of land and build high density on the lowest ecological value 10% portion of it, take another 10% for infrastructure and the like and leave 80% of it containing the high conservation value intact, surely that's a better outcome than free-standing dwellings on 500m lots?

Trees and veg are definitely important for reducing heating in urban settings. But the modified outcome of a few trees for shade which you describe has little ecological benefit which would go anywhere near addressing extinctions. Sure, you'll see a few magpies and maybe even a tawny, but that'll be about it. You can encourage wildlife back in, you can promote native veg, but at the end of the day it can't hold a candle to an intact natural system.

Your citation of a report by the Heritage Foundation doesn't really sell your argument, either - they're not exactly sustainability-prone and would appear to be a wolf in sheep's clothing:
"The mission of The Heritage Foundation is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."
Doesn't sound like much of a progressive outfit to me. And the report seems to look at icon species and not ecosystems issues, but I must admit I read the first couple of paragraphs and smelt something fishy and I'm too busy working with facts to read shit like that. I'd posit that it says how great development is because it displaces animals and forces them to look for food/shelter in modified environments and now we get to see them, so conditions must be terrific for all the critters. Or maybe it is full of sound evidence-based science. If you post something from a reputable source I'll do my best to read it.

Good on you for the rehab of the banana plantation, too. I'm sure it's made a massive difference to the monoculture that was there before and subject to all sorts of poor practice (though I'm aware banana growers have come a long way in recent years). While you must have made a serious investment in that and great improvements, you cannot seriously suggest that it would be ecologically on par with an undisturbed forest, though. That's where you're missing the point - rehabilitating a piece of land which has been butchered isn't anything like clearing an undisturbed veg community and turning the soil profile over, eroding soil, changing the drainage, altering groundwater, clearing the microfauna out and then planting a few trees amongst the hydrangeas to shade the house in summer. That's trying to compare apples and oranges. The former takes a 1/10 place up to a 5/10, the latter takes a 10/10 to a 3 if you're lucky. I didn't say rehab was impossible, and if I did I've made a mistake - rehab to a certain standard is certainly possible, but getting something back to what it was after disturbance is impossible in our human timeframes. You need a bit more water under the bridge to achieve that.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 3:20pm

Thing is , higher density places don’t occupy I/10th of the land available for development. They build to the margins each and every time. So there is never 80 percent of the land left for high conservation value.

The claim that suburban land built out will never regain value is erroneous. I don’t have a reputable source beyond this


Standard suburban house block .

This was originally cleared and now- apart from a couple of exotics - is virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding national park. Koalas , sugar gliders , possums , Roos and every other local animal frequents regularly. Local plants self propogate and everything grows superbly so the soil is evidentially healthy.

How can you argue against that ?

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 3:53pm

Yes, the status quo higher density most often doesn't give much consideration to anything beyond the bottom line, but that is changing. There are good designs out there, but they will inevitably change the economics of a development, and are difficult to progress in the Australian context without a premium which addresses our inflated land values and speculation obsession. That is not to say that medium or high density can't work. A bit like telling the Wright brothers early on that planes will never work.

I never said that suburban land rehabilitated will never regain value. I've agreed that it will several times. I am arguing that despite the best attempts at rehab, the land's ecosystem will rarely, if ever, reach the diversity value and complexity it had in its original form prior to development/clearing, unless there is a very long timeframe involved. On the surface you may see what's shown in your images and the return of macro fauna species, and that is definitely a better outcome than a monocultural wasteland or other poor result. BUT! if you had the capacity to sample the original for its biodiversity and ecosystem function and then sample the rehab edition, they just would not measure up. Impossible. They might go a fair way towards it, for sure.

I'm not arguing that rehabilitation doesn't work, just that it isn't a magic bullet despite what you can see on the surface.

BTW nice view.

I'm done. Work to do.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 3:55pm

Nice one.
Don’t work too hard ....it’s Friday arvo.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 4:30pm

Indeed, but I've got to buy some time for Monday/Tuesday when it's ...... shhhhhh.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 4:39pm

Sneaky.

Got to grab life while you can.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 12:55pm

freeride, describing people's homes as "boxes" is an insult and feeds in to opposition to appropriate development. This has two consequences, one more land is used for housing further reducing biodiversity and two higher density developments are crowded together putting unnecessary pressure on infrastructure such as sewers, drains, roads, schools and hospitals.

Laurie McGinness

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 1:01pm

Most apartments won't have a majestic view over the coast. They will be more like something in between Docklands and Pripyat. And in time the anomie will develop, as it has before. And urban heat bloom too, massive concreting.

I quite like apartment living actually, provided it is in a place I like. Highlights have been 2 storey older developments overlooking Gage Roads (geez that was a nice place), overlooking the Swan River, Kirra... really nice places. The south coast development you mention does sound a better deal than clearing land 4km out of town and reducing that area's biology to waste. The anxiety is caused by a group of self-appointed officials telling others how and where they can live. That's totalitarianism.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 1:24pm

"The anxiety is caused by a group of self-appointed officials telling others how and where they can live. That's totalitarianism."

Well no, the officials are appointed by our elected representatives. That's democracy.

Laurie McGinness

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 2:33pm

non-elected officials are not a feature of democratic societies.

They are also found in authoritarian regimes and in fact Hannah Arendt in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism spent some time detailing how the rise of bureaucracy was an effective tool of oppression.
See also Franz Kafka's The Castle which describes in chilling detail the frustration and inhuman effect of dealing with non-responsive bureaucracies and arbitrary control systems.

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mick-burnside commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 4:29pm

its been an interesting read.......its a world problem not an australian one......how many maggots can last in a cow carcass for how long until they start being affected by the problems that come with overcrowding.......2 that come to mind are pollution from their own shit and disease.....it seems to me...... control human breeding and create a sustainable economy and lifestyle or were all cactus.....and as creatures of choice weve got some big decisions to make collectively....polluted and over fished oceans are straining our food supply and likely our planets oxygen supplies......winding the clock forward if a natural epidemic , war or meteorite doesnt cull us .....keeping in mind that when things ultimately breakdown in nature it will likely happen quick....when we can no longer get fish chips and cans of tuna it will be vegan and carnivore humans and as the competition for food in an excessively populated planet may well become vegans and cannibals.......i might go ride a wave and switch off for a bit i rekon......maybe tune into cape fear on mon .....swell sizes getting bigger then for sure!!!!

mick b

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D-Rex commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 4:43pm

According to ALP advertising we've only got 12 years until we're 'cactus'. Makes voting a simple choice : LNP - end of mankind by 2021, ALP - planet saved!

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 10 May 2019 at 5:11pm

True, self-appointed was the wrong phrase.

We elect our local council members and then they implement the Agenda 2030 approach (aspects of which include wildlands and lots of high rise living in places) directed from the UN above. Persuaded, perhaps. I guess although we do not elect the UN and they are unaccountable to the everyday voter, we *kind of* do, as our political parties appoint representatives to them.

https://www.uclg.org/en/media/news/sustainable-development-goals-what-lo...

And maybe it's for the best - the most knowledgeable scientists advise them to put in place wise policy that will implement a wise vision for the future. If the everyday people were left to land use they would develop something else. I put it to you that there is a circuit breaker between the population voting and policy that is written and implemented from the top down; that the population voting would never come up with the policy loosely done in their name.