A Pyrrhic victory? As Labor continues to celebrate its achievement in getting emissions trading legislation through the House of Representatives comes this assessment of international movement towards an emissions reduction agreement:

Climate Change Negotiations — The Death of the Kyoto Process headlines Der Spiegel.

There seems little possibility that next month’s climate summit in Durban will produce an emissions reduction agreement — meaning the world will soon lack any binding CO2 targets. Europe may soon find itself alone in the fight against global warming …

But the belief that global warming can be halted through international co-operation is elusive. The Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only binding climate agreement, will soon expire. The most important means to date of compelling industrialised nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions seems likely to become a mere footnote in history.

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The current CO2-reduction agreements expire at the end of 2012, and there is enormous resistance to new targets. The environment ministers and negotiators from roughly 200 countries, who will travel to Durban, South Africa at the end of November for the latest global climate conference, are a long way from breathing new life into the Kyoto process.

If this prediction of a virtually complete failure in Durban comes to pass, then the opposition to an Australian tax on CO2 emissions will grow even stronger with this Labor government becoming even more on the nose.

Here comes the rain. Just in case you thought that climate change was not real: Cairns yesterday had its wettest October day on record and with nearly half the month to go it is already the wettest October for 47 years

And chances are that there will be a lot more rain to come this summer, with the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual tropical cyclone season outlook predicting an above-average number of tropical cyclones for all four regions across northern Australia. Bureau of Meteorology climate prediction manager Dr Andrew Watkins said climate models were trending towards another La Niña, which would lead us to expect a slightly higher-than-average number of tropical cyclones, however, no two La Niña events are the same.

The outlook favours the following scenarios for the coming season:

  • The whole Australian region has an 80% chance of having more than the long-term average number of cyclones. The long-term average is 12.
  • The western region has a 65% chance of observing above average number of tropical cyclones, where the long-term average is seven.
  • The north-western sub-region has a 60% chance of above average number of tropical cyclones. The long-term average is five.
  • The northern region has a 60% chance of above average number of tropical cyclones, where the long-term average is two or three cyclones.
  • The eastern region has a 65% chance of observing above average number of tropical cyclones, where the long-term average is three or four.

Not very skillful. I am staggered that the Commonwealth Ombudsman Alan Asher thought it necessary to have a Green Senator ask him the right question so he could make his views known to a parliamentary committee about a shortage of staff. Surely a person in his position should be able to find a way 0f having his say irrespective of what the questions are. I mean, after all, politicians do it every day of their lives.

Political correctness, Belgian-style. Stephen Spielberg will soon be bringing a 3D version of The Adventures of Tin Tin to a screen near you just as a four-year trial in Belgium seeking to have  Tin Tin in the Congo declared as racist reaches its conclusion. London’s Daily Telegraph reports that Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, 41, a Congolese citizen who brought the charges, claims the book is propaganda for colonialism and amounts to “racism and xenophobia”.

In a Brussels court, his lawyers contended that the book was “a justification of colonisation and of white supremacy” and should be condemned as racist under Belgian law and banned. But the lawyer for the publisher and the copyright group, Alain Berenboom, said Belgian-born Hergé’s (real name Georges Remi) book merely reflected a bygone era. “Hergé was part of his times, it wasn’t racism but kind paternalism,”  Berenboom said.

Here’s a little extract from the English translation of the original version to help you judge for yourself.