Monday, November 20

Life’s Mystique

I recall days of sweaty hands
Struggles meeting business plans
Awaken to my daily fears
Ask for help from far off spheres

Journeys now on familiar soil
Needs no longer an ancient foil
Sap of life flows to life’s new leaf
Reverence for life, my own belief

Hills like mountains catch my breath
Winds of change seek nature’s wealth
Random thoughts are life’s myst’ry
Will we learn from earth’s history

Friday, November 17

China’s Sustainable Urban development

China has been an engine room to the world’s economy with annualised growth rates exceeding 10 % over the past decade. Despite this growth nearly 50% of its population remain as peasant farmers on very small incomes. But that aspect is changing rapidly as agriculture becomes more productive and is accompanied by a huge migration of workers to the cities. As china has a population of 1.3 billion we are indeed fortunate she does not consume in the same unsustainable manner as the westernised advanced economies, for if that was the case we would need another 3 universes to meet her requirements. Hopefully China will not follow this disastrous route. Even so the accelerated effect can be gauged by the daily increase in motor vehicles with 55,000 new licences issued every day!!

China currently has engaged a number of world experts on urban planning to assist with a project to construct 300 new sustainable cities. Each to house over 1 million citizens, ensuring all are self sufficient and sustainable, with no need for cars.

Click here to read about China’s sustainable urban development

Wednesday, November 8

Melbourne Cup Party

My winning hat
The winning lady's hat
More hats
My wifes hat

The early morning promised a fine sunny day for staging of the Melbourne Cup before a change from a cool southerly breeze. Bookmakers breathed a collective sign of relief to see Japanese winner Delta Blue @16/1 win by a short nose from its more favoured stable mate Pop Rock, with the Australian horse (aptly named Maybe Better) running a distant 3rd. The $5.3 million Melbourne Cup enters a new era with renewed interest from Japan.

Race day stops a nation. Wherever you are everyone stops to listen to the great race. Maybe next year it will stop 2 nations. Although the spring racing carnival attracts record crowds, 130,000 this year at "Derby Day" and another 107,000 for the Melbourne Cup, most folk like me watch the races from TV. This year we watched the great race from the comfort of a friend’s house where they hosted a Melbourne Cup party.

We enjoyed wonderful hospitality and our hosts added prizes for the best ladies and men’s hats. Yours truly won the best men's hat which was designed by my wife. I have included pictures of the winning lady's hat along with my wife and friends, dressed in sartorial splendour!!

Thursday, November 2

Howard’s wayward way.

Over the past 10 years the Federal Government under Prime Minister John Howard and respective State Labour premiers have largely ignored warnings on global climatic warming. Although numerous comprehensive reports warned of the impending consequences (more particularly to Australia, the driest continent on earth) few initatives have been undertaken as the authors conclusions have been largely dismissed as scaremongering.

It has been disappointing and frustrating for our eminent Scientists working at the Government funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to realise their reports were ignored by the government. In fact it was reported pressure was applied in the form of the possible loss of goverment research funding should they pursue unpopular conclusions on the threat of global warming. click here to visit.

The Government sided with our ally the USA, with both countries refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol, arguing any mandated reductions would harm their respective economies. Howard appears to have recently softened his hard nosed approach, when announcing assistance for several solar and carbon capturing initiatives. The Victorian Premier recently also confirmed financial assistance for a wind farming project.

However these projects will not have any major impact in the near future and we are a long way away from an integrated sustainable clean energy solution. In the bigger picture I dont think much has changed as political scepticism remains.

I think a carbon trading system is vital to ensure we have an immediate large scale industry response to reduce emissions. The imposition of a tax on carbon emissions creates an immeadite cost to industry and trading emissions allows polluters to purchase credits from others who have surplus requirements. Because of the increased cost to industry of emissions you stimulate conservation and investment in technologies to reduce emissions. Alternative cleaner energy sources previously too costly become viable. This will also have a substantial effect on farming, towards sustainability. Emission trading was recommended in the recent Stern Report commissioned by the UK government.

Howard was quick to warn we should not place too much faith in the findings of the Stern Report, rejecting the idea of an emissions trading system on the basis it will harm our industries unless all countries sign up concurrently.

In the Financial Review of the 2nd November 2006 Professor Warwick McKibbin was reported as saying “You need to start at the national level and move out from there”. And he disputed Mr Howard’s central argument that establishing a national emissions trading scheme in the absence of a global agreement including all major emitters would force investment jobs off shore. Professor McKibbin said his own national emissions trading model would make Australia a very attractive investment destination.

Click here for his website.

We are light years away from the UK economy which at least has made a start with large scale targeted emission reductions. Australia remains a laggard and pro rata to population one of the heaviest polluters in the world, apart from the USA. Once again it seems likely we will do nothing, under the leadership of our conservative government.