Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Albanese: coal mining needed for wind turbines

In his first vision statement as Labor leader, Anthony Albanese will today argue that coal has a valuable role to play in the transition to a zero-carbon economy. Speaking in Perth, Albanese will distinguish between thermal coal, which is burned for energy, and coking coal, used in manufacturing steel for purposes including wind turbine construction. “Australia could be exporting 15.5 million tonnes of coking coal to build these turbines,” he will say. “This is the equivalent of three years output from the Moranbah North coking coal mine in Queensland.” A 2017 Greenpeace report argued that Australian exports of coking coal, otherwise known as metallurgical coal, are slowing down the transition to lower-carbon steelmaking alternatives. Albanese will also promote the potential of mining lithium for electric vehicle batteries, and push to develop hydrogen exports, in an effort to reframe discussion about climate change around opportunities for jobs growth. The news comes as a new Essential poll found a majority of voters aware of Extinction Rebellion approve of the climate protest movement, including Labor voters.

Working parents struggle: The National Working Families Report has found two-thirds of working parents struggle to care for their physical and mental health. The survey of more than 6000 parents and carers, released today, was commissioned by Parents At Work. Emma Walsh, the chief executive of Parents At Work, said: “One in four parents and carers reported an increased intention to leave their jobs in the next 12 months, because they struggle to combine caring with their job.” The report comes as The Sydney Morning Herald reports that research from the University of Sydney finds a lack of supportive policies mean young women who want children are choosing not to have them because they believe it is too difficult to balance motherhood and a career.

Brexit extended: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has formally accepted the “unwanted prolongation” of a European Union offer to extend the Brexit deadline until January 31, 2020. The extension came less than 90 hours before the UK was due to crash out of the EU without a deal. Johnson said the extension meant the Labour opposition had “run out of excuses” to avoid his call for a general election, but his motion to do so was rejected by parliament. Johnson will try set an early election date for a fourth time tomorrow. In other European news, an 84-year-old with far-right links shot and wounded two men in their 70s who found him attempting to set fire to a mosque in south-west France.

Birthplace of humans identified: New Australian-led research published in Nature today pinpoints a lush wetland largely located in Botswana as the birthplace of modern humans 200,000 years ago. The study cross-referenced DNA sequencing with geological and climate data to identify the location, which the authors say remained the home of modern humans for 70,000 years, although the findings have prompted some scepticism.

Swallowed by the sea (part two)
How the American anti-climate-science lobby hijacked local councils in Australia, changing sea-level benchmarks as it went.


“Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has paid consultants for advice on how to empathise with drought-stricken communities across three states. Officials revealed during senate estimates committee hearings this week that the Department of Infrastructure’s Inland Rail project had contracted consultants to advise how to best show unhappy landowners in northern Victoria, central New South Wales and southern Queensland that the government cares.”


“Can Albanese rebuild his shattered party and lead it to power in three years? If he wins power, what will he and the ALP do with it? Will he rise to what economist John Kenneth Galbraith described as the task of a leader: a ‘willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time’? And can he tackle a different question, the most urgent of our time: How do societies continue with economics and politics as usual, when, as United Nations secretary-general António Guterres puts it, politics as usual is ‘a suicide for the planet’?”


“With Black Books having been so beloved, I start to ask him: ‘Is it sometimes, I can’t think of the word…’ He can see me scrabbling around a dark well of my own making. ‘A millstone?’ he offers. ‘I think there probably was a period a few years ago when I was thinking, “Jesus, I wish people would shut up about this ’cause it’s making me think I’ll never do anything else” – but I don’t feel like that anymore.’”


“Victoria police have claimed the policy will ‘empower officers to take decisive action in the event of a hostile vehicle attack.’ It will allow police to use of a range of tactical options in response to a hostile vehicle attack, including the ability to ram offending vehicles, use roadblocks, box in a vehicle or, as a last resort, shoot the offender.”


“Senior Sergeant Richard Stephen Moore had denied doing anything wrong when the police vehicle he was driving at slow speed hit William Farmer on Wilfred Street in Thornlie during a botched arrest. But Magistrate Tom Hall … said the situation was not urgent and the only person who appeared to panicking was Moore, who had ‘totally messed up’ the arrest and had ‘been shown up’. ‘He was too old, too unfit and too overweight to be doing what he was doing,’ he said.”


“Sculpture was a male-dominated art form, explains Mya B. Dosch, a professor of American art at California State University, Sacramento. ‘Even thinking about the word “erect”, “to erect a statue.” Heroic statues are very phallic; it’s a very masculine way to take up space,’ she says … In the UK, out of 828 recorded statues, 94 are nameless representations of females and 80 are named women, according to the BBC. But approximately 15 of those named women aren’t real women, and a whole 38 of them are royal figures—mainly various versions of Queen Victoria I. In Australia there are more statues of animals than of women; just under 4% of all of the country’s statues represent historical female figures.”

Max Opray
is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.