Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

MSM neglects climate change update

by canberra boy Wed Oct 7th, 2009 at 08:37:42 AM EST

Around 10 days ago, the UN Environment Program put out a media release about the latest climate science, clearly timed to contribute to the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh.

The media release announced findings from the Climate Change Science Compendium 2009, which reviews 400 major scientific works on earth systems and climate released through peer-reviewed literature or from research institutions over the last three years, since the close of research for consideration by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the current global scientific benchmark.

Amazingly, 10 days later, Google shows that there have been only 68 media mentions of the Compendium from the whole world - and some of them are derisory comments from sceptics.

This is amazing because the Compendium shows that the observed reality of climate change is unfolding at or above the most pessimistic projections of the IPCC, and events such as glacier and ice sheet melting are exceeding predictions.

Amongst the significant points:

  • Losses of tropical and temperate mountain glaciers affect perhaps 20 percent to 25 percent of the global human population in terms of drinking water, irrigation and hydro-power.

  • The growth in carbon dioxide emissions from energy and industry has exceeded even the most fossil-fuel intensive scenario developed by the IPCC at the end of the 1990s. Global emissions were growing by 1.1 percent each year from 1990-1999 and this accelerated to 3.5 percent per year from 2000-2007.

  • Growth of the global economy in the early 2000s and an increase in its carbon intensity (emissions per unit of growth), combined with a decrease in the capacity of ecosystems on land and the oceans to act as carbon "sinks", have led to a rapid increase in the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This has contributed to sooner-than-expected impacts including faster sea-level rise, ocean acidification, melting Arctic sea ice, warming of polar land masses, freshening of ocean currents and shifts in the circulation patterns of the oceans and atmosphere.

  • Until the summer of 2007, most models projected an ice-free September for the Arctic Ocean towards the end of the current century. Reconsideration based on current trends has led to speculation that this could occur as soon as 2030.

Why has this major scientific summary gained so little attention?

Comments >> (11 comments)

Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th anniversary (Bridge Blogging!)

by canberra boy Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 07:28:39 AM EST

It's some time since I've seen any bridge blogging here at EuroTrib, so here's something to titillate the engineers.

Today is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the longest steel arch bridge in the world. The Bridge was conceived and built amidst controversial politics, and its closure to vehicles all day yesterday to allow some 250,000 walkers to cross must be closely connected with the New South Wales (NSW) State election next Saturday. Photos taken yesterday below the fold.

From the diaries -- Whataboutbob

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Saying Sorry, Howard Style

by canberra boy Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 10:42:05 AM EST

Two Vietnam War era Iroquois helicopters have been disturbing my peace this weekend, flying low over Australia's national capital multiple times on multiple days as part of the interminable celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Long Tan was so important a battle in Australia's Vietnam engagement that the anniversary has been adopted as Vietnam Veterans' Remembrance Day in Australia.  The question of recognition for Vietnam Veterans is as sensitive in Australia as it is in the US, and there has been lingering resentment about the downgrading of bravery awards to soldiers who fought at Long Tan.

This prompted Prime Minister Howard to offer a national apology on Thursday to the soldiers who were "poorly treated" on their return from Vietnam.

Some Australians are celebrating another anniversary this weekend.  

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The sad state of Timor-Leste

by canberra boy Sat May 27th, 2006 at 12:11:38 PM EST

Violence appeared to be spiralling out of control on Saturday in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste (East Timor), despite the arrival of more than a thousand troops from Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand since Thursday afternoon.

The present problems have grown from a variety of internal tensions in the new country, which have become more and more openly expressed since the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force in the middle of last year.

In the last few days, army loyalists have been fighting rebel soldiers and elements of the police in and around the capital.  At least 20 people, including up to 12 police, were shot dead by loyalist soldiers as unarmed police tried to surrender in a UN-brokered deal on Thursday.  A mother and her four children burned to death when seven homes were torched in a Dili suburb the same day.  It appears that ethnic gangs are fighting each other in the streets.

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Mixed feelings at Christmas time

by canberra boy Sat Dec 24th, 2005 at 04:47:34 PM EST

Merry Christmas, every one!  It's 8.30am on Christmas Day here.

Our two girls have fallen asleep again after waking up at 2.57am and 4.30am respectively to see what Santa had left in their stockings.  Lots of excited unwrapping and exclamations of delight later ("Dad, can you believe that Santa gave me a Barbie `laptop'"), they have snuggled down to sleep on the lounge and in a beanbag.  This is very fortunate, as we have a long day ahead.

I've just made the mixture for the champagne crepes which will later form the basis for a smoked salmon & crepe `cake' (recipe provided on demand).  While it rests, I've checked the news and weather on the net.  It will be fine and 25 degrees Celsius: rather cool for this time of year.

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soj alive and blogging

by canberra boy Mon Oct 24th, 2005 at 03:53:17 AM EST

Just out of curiosity I clicked on the blogroll link to Flogging the Simian.  Following her 'farewell from blogging' posts in late September, soj took her site down and hasn't posted here since.

But guess what?  Three weeks later, FTS reappeared (with the monkey and woman changing positions!) and soj has posted some excellent pieces on the manufacturing of an Iran 'crisis', on blogging, and a variety of other subjects.

It's worth checking out.  Guess the writing urge was just too powerful.

Cross-posted at Booman Tribune.

Comments >> (4 comments)

UN World Summit starts - will it end in chaos?

by canberra boy Wed Sep 14th, 2005 at 03:15:30 AM EST

promoted and updated fromthe diaries ~ whataboutbob

UPDATED Today begins the largest-ever gathering of international leaders at the UN Headquarters in New York, the likely outcomes are still unclear and the world's media has hardly covered the event.

And the looming question is whether the US and Ambassador John Bolton in particular will stymy hopes for reform of the UN.

After months of discussions, a 38-page draft outcomes document was presented to the General Assembly in August.  Three weeks ago, Ambassador Bolton asked for some 750 changes, objecting to references to the International Criminal Court, action on global warming and increases in development aid.   At the same time, he insisted on greater commitment to tackling terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

The changes proposed by the US, and Bolton's personally combative approach to negotiations, have put even major US allies like the UK and Australia offside.  As Fran highlighted at European Tribune on Saturday, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw made calls to foreign ministers around the world over the weekend.  This followed a personal plea to Condoleezza Rice for the US to withdraw opposition to plans for reform of the UN, during which he asked Ms Rice to rein in Bolton.  I understand that Australian diplomatic reporting from New York, normally not critical of the US given the sensibilities of our Government, has been openly disparaging of Bolton's approach.

According to The Guardian, "Ambassadors from more than dozen key countries also met yesterday to try to break the deadlock on plans for UN reform but appeared to make little progress".

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Colin Powell regrets UN WMD speech

by canberra boy Fri Sep 9th, 2005 at 01:44:20 AM EST

I had thought that Colin Powell was one of the more honest and reputable members of the Bush Cabinet until he gave the dreadful WMD presentation to the UN Security Council in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.  You might recall the satellite photos of 'mobile weapons labs' etc etc.  As I recall the presentation followed Tony Blair's release of the notorious 'sexed-up' intelligence dossier.

Now, Colin Powell has gone public with a 'Colin Powell regrets' interview with American ABC TV news to be broadcast on Friday US time.  He says he spent five days at the CIA headquarters ahead of the speech studying intelligence reports, many of which turned out to be false, and admits the speech is "a blot" on his record.

More below fold...

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UN says parts of US as poor as 3rd world

by canberra boy Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 10:38:09 AM EST

The UNDP's 2005 UN Human Development Report shows that overall global living standards are improving, and points to successes such as Vietnam's reduction of child deaths and Bangladesh's gains in education and life expectancy.

But the report shows that 18 of the world's poorest countries - with a population of 460 million - are doing worse in most key indicators than they were in 1990.  Twelve of the 18 are in sub-Saharan Africa where the effects of HIV/Aids and conflict are to blame.  The remaining six are former Soviet states in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, suffering falling life expectancy and economic disruption.

And the most shocking of all, the report details a string of appalling statistics which show that inequality within countries, and particularly the US, is as stark as the gaps between countries.

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