From the Fridge Friday


As you are all probably aware, much of Australia is sizzling at the moment in heatwave conditions. South Australians have been sweltering for several days; Victoria for a couple. Around Melbourne today, it was 41C at Tullamarine, and 40C at Coldstream (inaptly named at this time of year).

Much to my surprise, OH has obeyed my instructions to keep certain doors closed except when necessary to get from one room to another, so the house is for the moment fairly comfortable. What’s more, parts of the metropolitan area are enjoying a mild respite with winds from the south. Tomorrow, however, we are in for a stinker, and I plan to do a runner to my favourite merchant and offer to be a volunteer in the cool room . . .

Meanwhile, I am doing my best to stay cool, calm, and collected while imbibing a local cider. Please feel free to join me. The punkah wallah has been instructed to use his best efforts.

Toy Soldier Forum

Not As Bad As Abbott, But Carbon Blindness Isn’t A Competition

Here is Guest Poster Thom Mitchell’s latest missive from COP21:

The Paris climate talks are staggering to a close, folks. An unwieldy and cumbersome beast by nature, the Ministers who jetted in this week will put her down over the course of the next day or two, or three. It’s not clear.

The French want a weekend – to have the text nailed down on Thursday, ready to be legalled Friday. We’ll see. As I wrote last night, there’s been little movement on the big overarching decisions that need to be taken, and when I went for a kip – on the couches off from the upstairs press pool, at 3.30am Central European Time – there were still closed negotiations dragging through the frosty Paris night.

I hope Julie Bishop was in one of them, eyeballs stinging. The ridiculous nature of Australia’s positions at the talks – called out, as I reported at the time, by a series of coordinated actions that stalled coal exports along the east coast of Australia – was stripped naked by her ridiculous comments a few days ago.

“Barring some technological breakthrough fossil fuels will remain critical to promoting prosperity, growing economies and alleviating hunger for years to come,” she told an event focused on transitioning to a low carbon economy.

The fact words like these are still coming out of senior frontbencher’s mouths is the saddest indictment, perhaps, of Malcolm Turnbull’s prettier-than-Abbott government. I mean, actually, Julie, what’s difficult to see is how, without some marvel of innovation, coal could be made tasty.

Curing hunger? Really? Have some coal, poor people! Delicious!

Feed them your greedy death stare, more like it.

But there’s been surprisingly little of that; everyone is playing nice, congratulating the French on the admittedly admirable job they’re doing of keeping the hissing, booing and jumping up and down private.

If the French are going to hit their deadline, though, countries will need to resolve the ultimate ‘guardrail’ of how much warming the world will allow; the ‘collective long term goal’ on emissions cuts that will allow us to get there; who will pay; and what role developing states will be expected to play on a range of fronts.

Most of the good stuff has survived the latest prune of the Paris agreement, though. It’s come down to a very manageable 29 pages long, but the nearly 200 countries involved must come to consensus, which is always a big ask. And a lot of the bad stuff is still there, too. Either or will have to face the chopping block.

I suspect that a lot of the nuts and bolts will be deferred to the next ‘Conference of the Parties’ in Morocco, next year, where there’ll be a bit more space to operationalise the deal before it comes into affect in 2020.

And as you might expect, as the negotiation draws towards the pointing and possibly stabbing end, the antics at the Le Bourget conference centre where this political showdown is being staged are getting more frayed.

Last night funny man Dan Ilic, an Australian, presented Bishop with the ‘Fossil of the Day Award’ for her attempt to cram coal down the throats of the poor. And on the Saturday after the Paris summit is slated to close a pretty serious line up of mass demonstrations and creative actions are planned.

But there’s been a surprising sense of calm-before-the-storm to the last few days, because the big questions have remained fairly stagnant. The fact it’s come so late, though, could simply invite a more ferocious storm. There might be some fireworks today.

Or one would hope so, particularly if we’re all going to get that weekend the French President of the conference, Laurent Fabius, is trying to bag. I for one bloody hope so. I feel like I’ve been hit by a non-renewables-fuelled truck. After many nights of three, four, or six AM sleeps, I’m hoping for some time alone with a few bottles of middle-of-the-road vin de rouge.

I did have one brief soiree two nights ago, though, on the generous hospitality of Climate Councillors Tim Flannery, Amanda McKenzie, and Prof Lesley Hughes: I heard an interesting story about a certain rat, from a certain mammalogist (not Flannery), in their somewhat salubrious apartment. You might be hearing more about it, at some point. Again, we’ll see.

And I hate to repackage the rat metaphor I used when I last wrote to you good folk, but we’ll see what rats if any crawl up and die in the text of the Paris agreement. It’s increasingly clear it’ll be no panacea, but that’s no surprise. I’m more and more of the view that actions like those of the brave folk who shut down the coal export ports in Newcastle, Brisbane and Port Kembla this week will be the real means of operationalising the fandangled circus here in Paris.

It rolls up every year, replete with the carbon footprint of shipping in thousands or tens of thousands of journalists, observers delegates and politicians, but it’s clearer than ever already that something’s got to make it give. And that that momentum, like the commitments to cut carbon themselves, must come from the national level and domestic level.

As the President of Kiribati told me in an interview a few days ago, overcoming the drug dealer’s defence we in Australia use to persist in profiting from the coal exports that are sinking his nation, “it is a job for you people in Australia”.

“If you don’t believe your government is doing the right thing,” he said, “then change your government”.


Thank you, as ever, for your generous support.

I’ll let you know how things pan out.


Friday, and the First Pubster Wedding (At Least, As Far As We Know . . .)

Hat tip to This Little Black Duck for the starter to this thread – what could be more appropriate than a love song?

which, to my delight, shows a section of Melbourne’s Outer Circle Railway Line (the late 19th century equivalent of Napthine’s East-West Link) most of which, including this section, is long since dismantled.

Gorgeous Dunny has sent me photos of Sim’s and his wedding last Saturday (see here for Gorgeous Dunny’s own lyrical description). In between having something to eat, plus a soothing glass or two of wine, I will publish some of them as the explanation of this thread’s title.

Gorgeous Dunny being led to the altar by his daughters:

Sim being led to the altar by her son:

At the altar:

Exchanging vows:

The watchers on the balcony:

The tea ceremony (the third photo shows star of the show, Ellie, serving tea to Sim):

The wedding cake, complete with Chinese language messages, was made for Sim by an enduring friend from her nursing days, who also made another English language cake!

A small selection of the wedding feast, plus all the women in conga line . . .

And, finally, sealed with a kiss:

Now, for a classic recessional:

All happiness to you and Sim, Gorgeous Dunny, and to your extended families and friends.

Thank you for sharing your special day with The Pub!