Changing the Landscape of Australia

Australia, when Europeans arrived, consisted of a series of biota highly adapted to what we now call hazard reduction burning. The reason is that this is what the aborigines had been practicing for 50,000 years or so.

They were greatly assisted in this by the existence in Australia of the “The Fire Tree”, the eucalypt. The eucalypt promotes fire and is resistant to fire, so that in a regime of constant burning, eucalypts have a higher survival rate and you tend to get the type of monoculture remarked on by many early scientists, including Charles Darwin.

Since the advent of European man in Australia, we have, by preventing the Aboriginal practice of Fire-stick Farming, changed the landscape.

More here by Peter Stitt: [PDF, 109 KB]

Alice in Wonderland Science

Alice in Wonderland Science
Our energy and environment deserve better – in South Africa and Qatar

Kelvin Kemm

A few weeks ago, perhaps as a prologue to the “global warming disaster” convention in Doha, Qatar, South Africa’s Department of Environment Affairs took out a full-page advertisement in our country’s newspapers, promoting National Marine Week.

The ad showed a map of the Antarctic continent, from above the pole, surrounded by the vast blue Southern Ocean. It also promoted South Africa’s new Antarctic research vessel, SA Agulhas II.

The advertisement’s text mentioned the massive Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which is responsible for distributing vital nutrients to the world’s oceans. It noted that the truly massive quantities of phytoplankton found in the ocean are vital marine building blocks in ocean processes. All that is true, and I certainly applaud efforts to protect the environment and promote National Marine Week and our country’s research efforts.

But then, sadly, the ad’s discussion of physics content went off the rails. Referring to phytoplankton, it said “these microscopic creatures also use carbon to create energy.” Wrong!

Save the World with Carbon Sinks

By Allen Horrell

I read in the Sydney Morning Herald that Tony Abbott is running into opposition from the Nationals over plans to reduce CO2 by planting trees. Their objection is that subsidised tree planting will consume arable farms and threaten food security for Australia.

Whilst I don’t actually think the globe has been warming since 1997, or that it would necessarily be a bad thing if it were, my objection to the planting plan is that forests lock up carbon only until the inevitable bush fire releases it again.

If carbon dioxide is deemed bad and we are told to reduce it, we can either reduce our output or lock more carbon away in carbon sinks, where it cannot easily get back into the atmosphere.

If I can describe to you a plan that will lock vast amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere for hundreds of years and will consume no arable land or threaten food production and will create new jobs and exports for Australia, do you think that would be a good idea?

Carbon Sinks

Forests are very efficient at converting CO2 into wood in the first fast growing 20-40 years, after which growth and carbon capture tails off. “Old growth” mature forests are almost useless for this purpose.

The New Dark Green Age in Britain

“Welcome to the neo-medieval world of Britain’s energy policy. It is a world in which Highland glens are buzzing with bulldozers damming streams for miniature hydro plants, in which the Dogger Bank is to be dotted with windmills at Brobdingnagian expense, in which Heathrow is to burn wood trucked in from Surrey, and Yorkshire wheat is being turned into motor fuel. We are going back to using the landscape to generate our energy. Bad news for the landscape.

“The industrial revolution, when Britain turned to coal for its energy, not only catapulted us into prosperity (because coal proved cheaper and more reliable than wood, wind, water and horse as a means of turning machines), but saved our landscape too. Forests grew back and rivers returned to their natural beds when their energy was no longer needed. Land that had once grown hay for millions of horses could grow food for human beings instead — or become parks and gardens.”

By Matt Ridley

See the full article at:

The Ultimate Green Test

When a bulldozer blade they’re restraining,
It’s no time for the Greens to be feigning,
But the ultimate test and the proof of their zest
Is to cycle to work when it’s raining.

Peter Brun, Sydney NSW

Why people vote Green:

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