Australian Academy Of Science – The science of climate change
Climate Change – how do we know? Facts c/o NASA
Real Climate – Climate science from climate scientists
CSIRO – Climate science centre
One week ago today Greta Thunburg spoke to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit. The video and full text are below.
Australian P.M. Scott Morrison, was re-elected as Prime Minister on May 18th this year. At the time he announced, “I have always believed in miracles”. This claim was no throw away semantic. Morrison is a hand waving, loud singing Pentecostal who believes in the saved and the damned. Miracles – a divine power interceding directly in our physical world in a manner consistent with gospel and divine will – are genuine events according to our PM. What I remember with a heavy stomach is his reference to Romans 12:11 (Never let the fire in your heart go out), as he pointed into the crowd proclaiming, “I’ll burn for you and you and you…”.
Aussies have heard Morrison talk about his view of an Australia in which “if you have a go, you get a go”. Very few Aussies realise this is Morrison shoving one of the key beliefs of Pentecostal theology down our throats. That belief is prosperity theology. Quite simply, belief in god leads to material wealth.
Along with other key Pentecostal beliefs, exclusivism and divine providence we can begin to understand why Morrison has physically and verbally distanced himself from manning up to the more than justified scalding Thunberg delivered to world leaders. Instead, during a recent press conference at the UN Morrison insisted Australia’s climate stance was being misrepresented.
In fact reports were “completely false and misleading” he said, and “prejudiced” views were being expressed. He stressed that there would be no increase in Australia’s 2030 target emission reductions as per the Paris agreement. And why?
We are keeping to the commitments we have set and do you know why? That’s what I put to the Australian people.
During a speech to world leaders at the UN he rolled out the creaky cart of how small Australia’s contribution to global emission was;
Australia’s internal and global critics on climate change willingly overlook or ignore our achievements, as the facts simply don’t fit the narrative they wish to project about our contribution. Australia is responsible for just 1.3% of global emissions. Australia is doing our bit on climate change and we reject any suggestion to the contrary.
Morrison also told reporters last week;
I do understand that people feel strongly about this, but I think we also have to take stock, we have to ensure we get a proper context and perspective.
I want children growing up in Australia to feel positive about their future, and I think it is important we give them that confidence that they will not only have a wonderful country and pristine environment to live in, that they will also have an economy to live in as well.
I don’t want our children to have anxieties about these issues.
So, anxiety be gone! And what better way to ensure that for “our children” than to take his own young daughters, 10 and 12 along to weekly hand waving, sing song, worshiping of the almighty who, thanks to divine providence, has the past, present and future unfolding to his specific plan.
But, what of the millions of climate refugees predicted to suffer an intolerable existence in the decades to come? Of economies to struggle and crumble? Climate driven destruction of ecosystems? Why, thanks to Pentecostal exclusivism the haves and have-nots are just where they should be. The saved and the damned, the godly and the evil are simply part of god’s divine providence plan.
Morrison as good as admitted that he encouraged his daughters to form a view void of evidence based climate science. After all, to the practicing Pentecostal the bible – god’s word – is absolute. Science and ethics must conform to this book.
We don’t have deep conversations about emissions reduction targets and what’s happening with the Kyoto protocol and Paris, but we talk about fossil fuels and we talk about what they learn at school, and I encourage them to have a passionate independent view about how they see the world, but I also give them a lot of context.
I don’t allow them to be basically contorted into one particular view. I like them to make up their own mind but I also like to give them reassurance because the worst thing I would impose on any child is needless anxiety. They’ve got enough things to be anxious about.
We’ve got to let kids be kids. We can’t have them growing up as mushrooms, but we’ve got to get a bit of context into this.
Progressive policy based on a greater scientific understanding of our universe and of our species such as gender diversity, abortion, women’s rights, LGBTQI rights and the dire need to care for our environment are just not the Pentecostal way. For Scott Morrison being born again and accepting the damnation of those who are not is absolute.
Salvation is what matters to Scott Morrison the pentecostal. Combined with his belief that his creator has an all-powerful, perfect blueprint for our planet, it is unlikely we will see any promising change in climate policy under his direction.
Yes indeed. Greta has many, many reasons to be furious with certain world leaders.
This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you!
You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.
We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
With today’s emissions levels, our remaining CO2 budget will be gone in less than 8.5 years.
You say you “hear” us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I don’t want to believe that. Because if you fully understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And I refuse to believe that.
The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 per cent chance of staying below 1.5C degrees, and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.
Maybe 50 per cent is acceptable to you. But those numbers don’t include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of justice and equity.
They also rely on my and my children’s generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50 per cent risk is simply not acceptable to us – we who have to live with the consequences.
To have a 67 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5C global temperature rise – the best odds given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world had 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left to emit back on 1 January 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes.
How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years.
There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.
You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you.
We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up.
And change is coming, whether you like it or not.
August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.
Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose. They come from all walks of life.
Do you recognise the signs and symptoms of overdose? What is the impact of drug use and overdose on family, friends and those experiencing it?
These videos include people affected by the impact of drugs use and overdose who share some of their stories.
Australia’s Alcohol and Drug Foundation have a comprehensive site set up for IOAD. There’s helpful information here such as Signs and Symptoms of an Overdose, Harm Minimisation, How to Help in an Emergency, along with references and resources.
This morning on ABC Melbourne Jon Faine ran a great interview. The info’ paragraphs run as follows;
Cherie Short’s son Aaron died of a drug overdose in 2015. She tells Jon Faine we need to change drug policy and “make humane decisions” to stop others from dying.
“This tragedy is preventable, I believe overdose is preventable,” she said.
Ms Short is joined by Kayla Caccaviello, who dated Aaron and has overcome her own addiction to drugs to become a drug and alcohol counsellor.
The interview is titled “Humane drug policy could have saved my son”: Mum
You can download the 8 minute mp3 file here.
Activities for this year globally and across every state in Australia can be accessed on this page. Fortunately Australia is second from the top and easy to access. But of course please use the drop down menu for fast access to the area of your choice. Australia has 79 activities with 48 in Victoria, 11 in NSW, 7 in WA, 4 in QLD and TAS, 3 in NT and 2 in ACT.
Activities are varied ranging from O.D. prevention training, to art display, to group naloxone (opioid antidote) training, to afternoon tea – followed by naloxone training and a free kit, remembrance events to de-stigmatise overdose, etc.
Australia has only two supervised injecting centres. One, the MSIC in Kings Cross Sydney opened in May 2001 and after more than 11 years of successful trial moved to permanent basis. The MSIC in Richmond, Melbourne commenced on a trial basis at the beginning of 2018. Whilst it is running successfully and saving lives daily the entire concept is a punching bag for conservative politicians.
Regrettably whilst it is easy to manufacture the illusion of government funded drug induced harm and negative community appearances the peer reviewed evidence, globally, supports the health benefits of Safe Injecting Facilities. Always be aware of the myth of a Drug Free Australia.
This notion is pushed on the back of pseudoscience, the rejection of peer reviewed evidence and moral panic. You can read up on the antics of Drug Free Australia Ltd via their tag here.
Evidence backed themes that are often presented on IOAD support the fact that prohibition and the “war on drugs” waste money, ruin and cost lives. Harm minimisation practices such as harm reduction approaches like needle exchange and injecting facilities, prevent overdose, the spread of blood borne diseases and community dysfunction.
Evidence supports harm minimisation and particularly harm reduction.
Prescription Drug Overdose
One area to receive increasing attention again this year is that of prescription opioids. According to this ABC article OD fatalities have risen almost 40% in the last decade.
A constant concern for those who need adequate pain management via prescription, is that the “war on drugs” mentality may permeate policy modification under the belief it is a sensible solution. Once again the political conservative gravitates to this mode of moral dictation.
Overseas activity suggests that those who are denied prescription medication for prolonged pain management may find their way to illicit opioid abuse and inherit all the problems of crime, disease, socioeconomic stress and violence that come with such abuse.
We must yet again be careful that in managing this emerging problem we do not allow the denial of rights and an ignorance of incumbent facts such that we see punishment and manipulation of those in need.
Denial of community immunity or herd immunity is a common feature of antivaccinationists.
In fact groups that spread harmful disinformation, such as the Australian based Australian Vaccination-risks Network (AVN), have for years been refining the denial of this evidence based fact. Notably they misrepresent what herd immunity is, primarily by referencing an aspect of herd immunity or an expected result of herd immunity.
The Australian Government Department of Health offer this definition;
If enough people in a community are immunised against an infectious disease, there is less of the disease in the community, which makes it harder for the disease to spread.
Immunisation protects both people who are vaccinated and also helps the entire community. It helps protect those who are too young to be vaccinated and those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. This is known as community (herd) immunity.
Claiming that the “laws” of No Jab No Pay and No Jab No Play “are based on herd immunity”, Meryl Dorey of the AVN contends;
The theory claims that the unvaccinated are more likely to contract and transmit diseases than their vaccinated peers.
Travel to a largely unvaccinated country, get shots and you’re apparently in a protected bubble. Back home and they’d have us believe we need a 95 per cent plus vaccination rate to be protected and that a lone unvaccinated individual can be responsible for an epidemic.
Indeed rather than “claim” that unvaccinated community members will contract and transmit disease, herd immunity provides greater protection for the unvaccinated. Nonetheless herd immunity cannot protect any particular unvaccinated individual and is very important with respect to protection from measles infection.
This is why individuals who cannot be vaccinated for specific reasons or those with weakened immune systems will be better protected in a community that has a vaccination level of 95% or above. In certain communities where vaccination levels are low, herd immunity and the cluster of immune individuals doesn’t exist. In this instance measles can easily spread from an infected individual to unvaccinated individuals.
If not for herd immunity providing protection to those who refuse vaccination and deny their children the protection of vaccine induced immunity, many of the false beliefs held by antivaccinationists could not persist. The success of so-called natural remedies, homeoprophylaxis and so on persist simply due to the protection of herd immunity.
Immunisation: Why we do it and how ‘herd immunity’ works – © BBC News
Discredited anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Judy Wilyman has even used denial of herd immunity in her ongoing attacks on Australia’s successful vaccination policy. Wilyman wrongly contends that only public health reforms such as sanitation led to the control of vaccine preventable diseases.
Vaccines did not create herd immunity to control infectious diseases, is an open letter on her website. The monumental flaw in her fallacious claim begins with her use of only mortality, and no morbidity data.
Also, Wilyman refers to changes in public health occurring before 1950. This ignores more modern vaccines such as that for Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) used in Australia from 1993 and later in Kenya from 1999.
Only vaccination can explain the control of Hib and the emerging success of the HPV vaccine.
Last April Questions for Pseudoscience published an informative video on the very nasty, dangerous, bogus skin cancer “treatment” known generally as Black Salve.
Main points might be summed up as;
In March 2012 we visited the issue of AVN selling the One Answer To Cancer DVD – a blatantly bogus promotion of Black Salve. The post included the banning of this dangerous product by Australia’s TGA, (Therapeutic Goods Administration).
The TGA at that time issued a warning on Black Salve, which was covered by the ABC’s The World Today.