November 20, 2012
The Australian, continues to obsess about what was going on in the Australian Workers Union (AWU) in the early 1990s. It is so dedicated to the Gillard Government’s demise that it ignores the significance of the World Bank spelling out what the world is likely to experience if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius.
Yet the current heartburn for the ALP in the short term is not the AWU scandal; it is the corruption in NSW Labor being uncovered by the ICAC. This involves the factional warlord Eddie Obeid and former resources minister Ian Macdonald over decision to open a mining area in the Bylong Valley for coal exploration.
It's a problem for the ALP because it highlights yet again the factional system, the internecine warfare it institutionalises, and the corruption that often results. This uncovering can only be bad news for a Labor brand that already looks tacky and tawdry.
The corruption by the Labor Right-faction powerbrokers --using political office to amass personal wealth--kicks the standard defence of the factional system out the window. That defence is that factionalism is a useful means to organize political differences within a political party and to ensure the unity of the political party. The ICAC in NSW is now uncovering the mryiad of linkages between the Labor Right-faction powerbrokers and corruption.
Meanwhile, the World Bank's report is ignored.This spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes:
The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs.
It points out that we already know a great deal about the threat before us. The science is unequivocal that humans are the cause of global warming, and major changes are already being observed: global mean warming is 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels; oceans have warmed by 0.09°C since the 1950s and are acidi- fying; sea levels rose by about 20 cm since pre-industrial times and are now rising at 3.2 cm per decade; an exceptional number of extreme heat waves occurred in the last decade; major food crop growing areas are increasingly affected by drought.
Higher levels of warming above a 2° increase above pre-industrial climate are increasingly likely. The Australian continues to be besotted with Gillard's involvement in the slush fund events of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) in the early 1990s.